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Shopping Seattle: Space Oddity

I was tickled when decor8 reader, Maria Palatini, asked if she could write about one of her favorite Seattle stores. I figured that it may be helpful to those of you who plan to visit Seattle (or who live in the Pacific NW already). I also figure that even if you never plan to visit Seattle, it’s still fun to see what’s going on in different parts of the world. Take it away, Maria!


Space Oddity, in Seattle’s uber-pretty Ballard neighborhood
By: Maria Palatini for decor8

Todd Werny’s funky little shop Space Oddity is located on a small side-street connected to the main artery of the style-savvy and sophisticated Ballard Avenue in Seattle?s sparkly, creative and hip Ballard neighborhood.

We’re talking destination-shopping here, rivaling LA’s Beverly Hills adjacent and surrounds. Except instead of Doughboys Bakery on W. 3rd Street in LA, you get Verite Coffee and Cupcake Royale on bordering Market Street.

I visited Space Oddity on a recent afternoon which was so typically Seattle, it was nearly cinema-worthy. Grey drizzly rain came down from the sky in a soft and dreary haze, and my companion and I (who was nice enough to lend me a very cute and bright printed umbrella for the afternoon to match her own) felt like we’d just stepped off of the Singles movie set, (or perhaps our shopping excursion could have been part of the movie!) as we traipsed around Ballard into this cool, cave-like spot.

Nestled in a relatively small space and warm and cozy with good music playing, there were vintage treasures galore to be found inside.

A ten year veteran of dealing in both vintage clothes and furniture in Seattle and its surrounds, Werny prides himself on the non-textbook approach of focusing on the soul and feel of each piece, rather than on its brand-name pedigree (although some pieces are pure certifiable brand-name vintage.) The main focus of the shop is mid-century, but other eras are represented as well. Affordability and accessibility, as well as an unpretentious hipness, make Space Oddity unique.


The vibe, comfort, and old-time quality of the materials of an item are the most important things to Werny when choosing pieces for his customers to discover and likewise treasure. This is no museum, these pieces are meant to be used and loved in his client’s homes. The atmosphere of the shop is likewise mellow, allowing for the joy of exploration and creative brainstorming about design choices.

Standouts on my recent visit were some truly fab oversized Pucci-flavored 60′s stereo speakers and an as-fab painting, which was part graphic design, part painting, and all style. It featured a 70′s-esque snowy landscape, complete with a sun and moon and some groovy trees, a sleepy, cozy scene in white, tan and browns.

Other pieces of note were some sweetly stackable woven Aalto dining chairs and some great, solid and hip urban metal tables which were on rollers for easy mobility and flexibility in a given space.

Werny has new pieces come in all the time, so each visit is apt to bring about a new discovery, and since the shop is about to double in size due to a sizeable expansion currently in the process of being made, expect even more eye-popping vintage treasures on your next visit!

TIP: Blink and you’ll miss it, so be sure to look for the large rectangular sign outside, which is lit all-around and all-year-round in large, xmas-sy like bright white lights.

Space Oddity Hours: Tues-Fri 2-6 pm, Sat 12-6 pm, and Sun 12-4 pm. They are closed on Mondays. Location: 5318 22nd Ave NW, Seattle. spaceodditymodern AT hotmail DOT com

Map and directions here

This is my first post for the decor8 blog, and I look forward to helping you up to heaping servings of Seattle’s amazing, multifaceted and let’s face it, just beautiful design scene in the future. Over and out until next time! – Maria Palatini.

Thanks, Maria! Great finds.

(images from todd w. at space oddity)

Posted in Shop Tours, travel on January 10, 2007

Heath Ceramics – Factory Tour (Sausalito, California)

By: Anh-Minh Le, decor8 west coast contributor


I have long been a fan of Heath Ceramics and was joyful beyond words when I realized that they have a factory store in the Bay Area. And, even better, they offer free factory tours.

For those not familiar with the company, here?s a little background info: In 1948, Edith Heath ? an industrial designer and potter ? founded her own ceramics studio. She specialized in tableware and tiles, eventually making her way into museums and stores across the country.

Even after half a century in business, all of the pottery is still made by skilled artisans in Sausalito, Calif., using the methods that Edith herself developed (she passed away in December). About three years ago, Robin Petravic and Catherine Bailey purchased the company. The husband-and-wife team brought some of Edith?s old designs out of retirement and have managed to maintain her high level of quality as well as her wonderfully simple aesthetic. (We?re talking about pieces that you can pass down from generation to generation.)

The factory tour takes about 30-45 minutes ? depending on how many questions you ask ? and covers the entire building. Since tours are only given on the weekends, you don?t actually get to see any of the work being done, but you get detailed descriptions of how everything works. And you can get up close and personal here; there are no red lines that you aren?t allowed to cross.

It is amazing to me, in this day and age of outsourcing and mass production, that there is still this successful ceramics studio churning out beautiful products that require very skilled hands. Heath actually makes its own clay! And their own glazes! And all of the glazes are sprayed on by hand! That takes a pretty steady hand.

Any pieces that aren?t quite up to snuff are considered ?seconds,? and you can purchase them at the factory. The tour ends in the overstock tile room ? which is filled with firsts and seconds. Heath tiles are only available for purchase at the factory and in Ann Sacks showrooms.

The factory store also offers plenty of tableware, as well as books and textiles (like Lotta Jansdotter aprons). The table pieces can be deeply discounted, and there?s even a clearance section where saucers were marked 10 for $1. Yes, you read right ? 10 for $1!

Since the tours take place at 11am, you may arrive in Sausalito a little hungry. No problem. The staff puts out some tea and light snacks (I think it was a coffeecake when I went). Go ahead and test out that tea cup before you decide to purchase it!

Throughout the entire factory, Heath tiles are all over the place ? as a backsplash, as a decorative work of art ? providing plenty of inspiration for visitors. If you happen to be in the area, I highly recommend stopping in and seeing it all for yourself. (In case you can?t, I took plenty of pictures!)


Heath Factory
400 Gate Five Road
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 332-3732
For store and general inquiries, please call x13
Open daily, 10am-5pm
Tours, Sat-Sun, 11am
(Call ahead for tour reservations)


(images from anh-minh le)

Posted in ceramics, guest bloggers, Shop Tours, shopping, travel on October 03, 2006

Store Preview: Esplanade (Hannover, Germany)

I spent a little time out and about yesterday, exploring the district I’m staying in, seeing if anything new came to town since I visited last year. I found a gorgeous store located in a cobblestone square, such a quaint setting, with wares spilling out from its doors onto the sidewalk… Behold, a summer clearance sale!
Esplanade Raum + Zeit, owned by business partners Bernadette Brinckmann and Uta Runde (I met Frau Runde, who is very friendly and speaks English very well), is a large space with three large rooms housing everything from Garden supplies to decorative accessories and furniture. The theme seems to be Danish and English country, one of the major lines carried is Rice from Denmark. I also spotted German products and glassware from Greece, too. And, of course, a little Asian decor mixed in. I didn’t see anything from America – no Adler or Adams anywhere. Not the case in America, where nearly every store stocks at least one Adler ceramic or pillow. :)
Plates, candle holders, bread boards, plants, pillows, totes, cupboards stocked with blue glass, everything in this store is exquisite, reasonably priced (lovely glass candle holders in two sizes and over a dozen colors, just 2.99 and 3.99 Euros.)

Love this light fixture!
This is one store that I highly suggest visiting if you find yourself journeying through Hannover. It’s two stops from the main station, hop off the u-bahn at Lister Meile and it’s about a block from there at Wedekindplatz 3. I wasn’t able to locate a website address for Esplanade, however you can contact them directly for store hours. Tel. (05 11) 62 79 95

Even the views from the store window are beautiful – I love the architecture in this district.
German bread boards – typical in households here. (you can create a sandwich on these and then use it as your plate).

(images from decor8, click on them for larger view)

Posted in Shop Tours, shopping, travel on September 26, 2006

Unexpected Surprises in Los Angeles


By: Anh-Minh Le, decor8 west coast contributor

In the weeks leading up to my recent trip to Los Angeles, I spotted neighborhood shopping guides in several magazines (e.g., Blueprint, Lucky). There is also the helpful LA shopping guide here on decor8 (right column). But when I actually got down there ? in addition to the usual design store suspects (yes, Weego Home is definitely worth a visit!) ? I was delighted to discover great home products in a few unexpected places.

Floralart

This floral design studio has been around since the early ?90s, but recently moved to Venice?s Abbot Kinney. The expanded space includes a storefront that, as summed up on the Floralart web site, offers ?accessories that related to home, entertaining and the art of giving.?

I was so taken by the etched orchid stemware ? available in several variations (including red wine, white wine, cocktail). The glasses are beautifully etched with a floral motif, and range in price from $72-78 for a set of six.

If new place settings are on your shopping list, the Jonathan Adler selection here may be just the thing for you. Floralart carries his Greek Key, Mod Dots and Hexagon dinnerware ($128.50 for a 16-piece set).

Also catching my eye was the Aphrodite collection. Thick, hand-cut sheets of glass encase your favorite bloom or candle.


Jin Patisserie

Also while on Abbot Kinney, I popped into one of my favorite tea spots. Jin Patisserie serves (and sells) Le Palais des Th?s, which are imported from France and hard to get your hands on in the U.S. They also offer delicious sweets (chocolates, cookies, candies) and savories (sandwiches, salads).

Although seating is all outdoors (there are a couple of covered tables on the porch), don?t forget to go inside the house where all of the work is done. That?s where you?ll find Jin?s boutique ? where you can buy some sweets to take home for later, and pick up lovely little tea sets. The espresso cups ($15 each) ? with patterns on the cup and saucer, as well as a leaf for a handle ? are perfect those mornings when you?ve got the time to sit and enjoy a caffeinated beverage at home.

I am really a tea person, however, so I couldn?t pass up a cute porcelain sugar and creamer set from Japan. A variety of teapots, of course, are also available for purchase.

Even if you?re not much of a tea of coffee drinker yourself, you can shop Jin for a great housewarming gift, and you can shop them online, too!


Zero Minus Plus at Fred Segal (Santa Monica – Sorry, no website.)

Okay, so you think $100 is outrageous for a t-shirt. And you don?t care which celebrities shop here. But, trust me, Zero Minus Plus is not to be missed.

It?s one of many independently-owned and ?operated boutiques within the large Fred Segal shopping emporium. In addition to home accessories, the store sells jewelry, handbags and pet items.

I love that they stock designs from Savannah?s Working Class Studio (only a handful of West Coast stores do). There?s also a good selection of Chilewich rugs and Acme laptop bags (I carry one myself and adore it).

If you?re like me and are constantly jotting down notes, be sure to check out Zero Minus Plus? great paper products. For example, anything in the No. 2 collection (notepads, disposable clipboards).

So even if the clothing and beauty products here aren?t your thing, you can still walk away from Fred Segal as a satisfied customer. And, with a large parking lot adjacent to the store, you won?t even have to carry your new purchases very far.


Psst: Working Class Studio just launched their new line of square melamine plates, shown above.

Do you have any LA favorites to boast about? Let us know!

Thanks a-m for the great write-up covering a few of your unexpected finds!

(images from floralart, jin patisserie, and working class studio)

Posted in guest bloggers, Shop Tours, shopping, travel on September 08, 2006

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