In my coffee + cre8tive post this morning, I mentioned a nearby farm that I frequent for fresh produce and flowers called Brookdale Farms. Visiting the farm is a simple pleasure that I enjoy, especially since I’m a city girl and until now, never had the opportunity to live near a working farm before.
We often enjoy walks through the orchards at night to discuss our day while enjoying the sunset over golden fields. We also pick strawberries and apples on the farm when they are in season, and feed the one and only resident sheep fresh grass. A cute story from last night – I walked over to the farms with my husband to feed the lone sheep. I think that I fed him a little too much grass though, because when we started to leave, he made all these strange sheep sounds and started bucking around in his pen like a little bronco – I guess all the fresh greens perked him up quite a bit. He acted a little nutty. I began to wonder what was in the grass, you know? But it was cute because he was happy and making that connection to an animal is something that I personally find great joy in. It’s beautiful. Even if it’s just a nutty sheep that I’ve nicknamed Charlie.
If you’re in the New England area and fancy a country drive, why not visit Brookdale in New Hampshire? It’s packed on the weekends with Bostonians looking for fresh air and colorful blooms. Learn more about Brookdale…
I’ve taken a few photos of Brookdale from inside the shop, they’ve just renovated the entire store to include more gift items, so I now have the pleasure of residing near a fabulous gift shop as well as a farm, all within 100 steps from my front door. I snapped a photo of their greenhouse space, which is bare at the moment but in another month, it will transform into a lush humid paradise with wall-to-wall flowers and plants.
I hope all those of you that read decor8 from other parts of the world will enjoy peeking in on a special country store that I regularly shop at, here in my part of the world.
(Photos: Holly Becker for decor8)
Christine Liu, decor8 contributor, is back with a review of Magpie. This post contains so many great links, you won’t want to miss it. Drum roll please…here’s Christine!
As Holly has already confessed her love for their paper goods, I went on task to do a thorough look-see of Davis Square gem Magpie, shiny things for your nest. I’ve visited this haven of hip crafts, local art, and vintage collectibles’ only once before, but one visit is clearly not enough. Not only would it be impossible to absorb all the featured items at once, but also the in-stock items constantly change as the roster of artists evolve and as one-of-a-kind originals are sold and replenished. Part quirky boutique and part curated gallery, Magpie is a charming art spot that exudes with creative style and handcrafted energy.
The store, located at 378A Highland Ave in Somerville (just over the Charles from Boston), is a quick walk from the T subway station, and welcomes you from the sidewalk with a flock of friendly (what else?) handdrawn magpies. They encouragingly beckon.
Look for it carefully, as the space is carefully tucked away in a nondescript stretch of neighborhood. However, the moment you enter you find yourself enveloped in a warmly inviting room with all things cute, cozy, and colorful. Everything from retrofitted wall-hangings to painted bread plates happily coexist in this handmade heaven.
One of the five owners of Magpie, Dave McMahon, was running the place on Sunday afternoon and couldn’t have been more passionate about featuring the works of independent artists and fostering a strong local community. He and his wife Leah Kramer (the founder of Craftster) and fellow Magpies Simone Alpen, Emily Arkin and Dave Sakowski are also the core that run the Bazaar Bizarre, a modern craft fair that began in 2001 in the Boston-area but has since spread out to include LA, Cleveland, and San Francisco (next event April 22 + 23′ 06). Dave eagerly showed me around (the room is small but holds a lot!) and pointed me towards some interesting works.
First stop: paper goods! Handmade cards are conveniently located right in the front of the store and are coo-worthy spectacular. Dave mentions that the store gets new paper goods almost on a continuous basis, and I find the designs as perfect and delectable as cupcakes. Just a handful of the featured stationery include designs by 1201AM, sugarlily, poppycock, sewing stars, boygirlparty, scraps of paper, and the paper princess. There’s everything from colorful illustration to quirky gocco prints to cards packaged with pages from real vintage recipe books. (My personal favorites are from Susie Ghahremani at boygirlparty, and the pudgy bunnies of sewing stars.) If you’re looking for unique, well-made, and head-turning stationery, Magpie is the place to be.
I’m completely smitten with these dining accessories by neutrino designs. (If you’re not proximate to Magpie, you can also purchase them online at Art Star.) The clean white lines and simple silhouettes of the pieces are adorned with sporadic geometric details, bold and delicate in fine-tipped orange. At once mod, scientific, and abstract, the design of the series wins on so many levels. I love how the butter dish is constructed so that at first it appears to be a normal white holder. Only until you consume enough butter do you uncover the bright orange designs. A gradual and satisfying reward that makes eating that much more fun.
I still remember these hand-etched glasses from my first visit. Each set hosts an amusingly complementary pair of messages, such as Beauty/Brains, Wild Turkey/Cold Duck, and RBG/CMYK (my pick). They’re beautifully minimalist, with the clear frosted glass and bold, sans serif lettering. Designed by Cambridge-based artist Sandra Salamone, I could definitely see them as a fancy vintage cocktail vessel, or for housing a colorful votive candle. I wouldn’t be surprised if the artist took requests for custom messages… now who’s the creative one? :)
Here’s Dave, looking super happy and modeling one of the hand-painted sushi-themed ceramics by Suzaluna. (How delish to eat sushi atop of sushi!) By the way, he was a great sport and let me take all these pictures for decor8!
When encouraged to pick a personal favorite, Dave was excited to feature the hand painted birdhouses by Ryan O’Rourke. The birdhouses are constructed by Ryan’s grandfather, and then painstakingly designed and decorated by Ryan. Dave adds, “I’m a painter, so I really admire his work. The details…the colors…” The designs are intricate and layered, filled with small illustrative narratives all over the tiny wooden structure. “I love these for so many reasons, but there’s something about the fact that he paints these things that are made by his grandfather. The familial connection, and the handmade process. They’re great!” The birdhouses are fantastically designed, and other than sprucing up your pad in style, they may also become a super-luxe bird loft for your favorite feathered friend if you choose for it to be. Here’s one, smiling back at you.
Perhaps coincidentally, though cheerfully appropriate, there are plenty of bird-themed goods within Magpie. I found the metal rooster sculpture striking in its modern interpretation and recycled materiality. It comes from the hands of Anna Johansson of Anna Built, also active with an indie rock band, the Pee Wee Fist. Anna also creates beautiful jewelry recycled from bits of beer can metals and stunning stained glass. It’s impressive to witness her strength of inspiration from everyday objects.
If you’re in Boston, be sure to drop into Magpie! As I told Dave, one of the best reasons of mine to support local and independent artists is that I feel it’s better to acquire a small number of objects that are meaningfully precious than a large number of generics that are facelessly mass-manufactured. You can definitely sense that philosophy in Magpie, where every object can be traced back to a creative human being. And in a modern world, that’s a beautiful thing.
:::note from holly:::
If you see anything in the photos that you’d like to inquire about, please contact Magpie directly. They are happy to accept orders over the phone with a major credit card.
A special thanks to Dave at Magpie!
(photos + text from Christine Liu. Great job, Miss Liu!)
To follow up on an earlier feature about P.O.S.H., Carrie was nice enough to send photos of their space so decor8 readers could take a peek inside of their Chicago store. They’ added some fun new wares to their site this afternoon too, so clicky clicky to get your shop on!
My goal is to continue featuring a few fun store tours each week for those obsessed with shopping in beautiful places, or at least, cruising them and shopping online later (what I do a lot of lately). I’ll work really hard to dig up stores that also have online shopping enabled, too. If you want to help me unearth beautiful stores, please send your suggestions to me. Many of you have been sending great suggestions, and you know who you are, so thank you!
By Christine M. Liu, Contributor, decor8
My parents live in Maryland, and during a chilly February last year my boyfriend and I went down for a visit and spent one afternoon shopping in Washington, DC. There are plenty of lovely stores (and sushi restaurants, not to mention embassies) around dupont circle, one of which is Tabletop.
We stumbled in by accident, this utter gem of a boutique stocking everything from Angela Adams leather handbags to Lotta Jansdotter ceramics to Alan Stuart pu-felt pouches (which I happily bought three). The store is just luminous, a split-level space with a resident fluffy dog and a cozy atmosphere. Tabletop features a healthy mix of American, European, and Asian styles, as well as projects by collaborative design teams. The pieces are clean, colorful, and distinctive. Shopping is pure pleasure. If you’re in DC, it’s a must-go!
However, lucky for the rest of the population, they have an online store, where you can find strikingly unique pieces such as Salvor animal pillows (a menagerie!), Klein Reid vases, jewelry from designer Daphne Olive, Ply Design bags, coffee sets by Panek Tobin, Mibo lighting, ASA Selection ceramics, and books on modern design.
When I was there, I got the afore-mentioned Alan Stuart bags as well as a wallet by J.Fold (which still turns heads when I take it out), and my boyfriend secretly got a silver lasercut Tord Boontje card which ended up becoming my valentine!
(all photos from the tabletop website)