Best of the Twin Cities
Shops, products, designs, and bargains we love
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35. BEST SHOPPING INVITE
Consider yourself invited to First Mondays at the Commodore, the Twin Cities’ most eclectic shopping salon at the grand dame of historic hotels. Your hostess is DeeDee Phillips, who once owned Minneapolis retailer March 4th, which costumed Prince and other local bands. For each event, Phillips selects 30 to 35 artisans and sundry collectors (there’s a waiting list) who sell artisan-made jewelry, imported textiles, vintage clothing, French linens, and much more. Minnesota music legend Willie Murphy serenades on the grand piano. The mirrored Art Deco bar once frequented by F. Scott Fitzgerald serves cocktails. What more could you ask for? Oh, yes. Free parking and light appetizers, courtesy of the hotel. First Mondays are held six times per year, the first Monday of October, November, December, April, May, and June. Save the date: October 5, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., The Commodore, 79 Western Ave., St. Paul, 651-222-1751.
36. BEST NEW CAUSE
Many deplore Minneapolis’s well-earned reputation as a wrecking-ball-happy city (RIP, original Guthrie Theater), but an art historian, an architect, two preservationists, and an artist decided to do something about it. They founded the Minnesota chapter of DOCOMOMO, an organization dedicated to documenting and (hopefully) saving buildings, homes, and neighborhoods that represent the Modern Movement from the early and mid-twentieth century. We’ve already marked our calendars for the first annual MN Modern Tour, to be held this October. Find out more at docomomo-mn.blogspot.com.
Photo by Aaron Holmberg 37. BEST CUSTOM PRINTING
Photo by Aaron Holmberg
What if you could put the Minneapolis skyline on your shower curtain? Or design your own wallpaper, or mimic the flourish in your grandmother’s rug on your sofa fabric? Pictura Graphics, a Golden Valley print shop, will print anything—anything at all—on wallpaper, or fabric, or vinyl. The shop has done considerable work for interior designer Ty Pennington, including throw pillows, photographic prints, wall murals, upholstery fabric, vinyl stickers, and a Minnesota Wild logo on a floor graphic. They’ll do it for you, too. Pictura Graphics, 763-525-5900, picturagraphics.com.
38. BEST BROWSING
Just down the block from Turtle Bread in Linden Hills is an intriguing storefront with an equally intriguing name: Victory. This enchanting assemblage of vintage and new is worth several hours browsing all on its own. You’ll find furniture, pillows, linens, art, jewelry, and more. 3505 W. 44th St., Minneapolis, 612-926-8200, shopvictory.com.
Offbeat & Out of the Way
If nosing around shops that are small and unique is one of your guilty pleasures, head to our metro favorites
* Nola Home
The best reason to visit Bryn Mawr: rugs, pillows, and collectibles with vintage attitude. Just be sure to call first. 404 Penn Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-374-4066.
Lofts, bars, and assorted eateries line Washington Avenue, but—oops—what’s this? Handcrafted furniture and accessories of wood, leather, and glass with global-modern fusion to spare. 903 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis,
Photo provided by * Three Pagodas
Torre & Yagus
Photo provided by
Torre & Yagus
You’d never expect an exquisite gallery selling Asian antiques and custom Asian-inspired furniture in this industrial neighborhood, but here it is. And just minutes from downtown Minneapolis. 1401 W. River Rd. N., Minneapolis, 612-529-5300, threepagodas.net.
* Romens at the Find
Fire up your GPS and check this shop out for glam furniture and accessories in gilt, animal prints, and more. 820 Eden Prairie Rd., Eden Prairie, 952-975-3900, romensatthefind.com.
* The Sitting Room
Well-disguised in a strip mall at the busy intersection of 101 and Minnetonka Boulevard, you’ll find The Sitting Room, an interior design office-plus-showroom that smartly mixes vintage finds with designer stalwart lines such as Vanguard. 17516 Minnetonka Blvd., Minnetonka, 952-473-4440.
* Interior Motive
Not every shop in Stillwater is about antiques and country. This one stands out with its fresh color, contemporary style, and organic accessories. 116 Main St. S., Stillwater, 651-430-1357.
* Artist Mercantile
Tucked between Park Square Theatre and Great Waters Brewing on the Seventh Place pedestrian mall is this unexpected gallery/shop. More than 70 Midwest artists and artisans show their paintings, pottery, ceramics, glasswork, and more. Don’t miss the hats. 24 West Seventh Pl., St. Paul, 651 222-0053, artistmerc.com.
* I Like You
You may have to circle the block a few times to spot this woman-owned shop in Northeast, but it’s worth it. Make it a point to browse the botanically inspired screenprinted table linens by local designer and artist Michelle Brusegaard. 501 First Ave. NE, Suite 1, Minneapolis, 612-827-9065, ilikeyouonline.com.
* Left of Center Style
Here you’ll find locally made home accessories and elegant furniture, custom-made in the back workshop. You’re next door to Key North, so stop in to shop for kicked-back fashions and divine coconut-scented lotions. 509 1/2 First Ave. NE, Minneapolis, 612-788-1333, leftofcenterstyle.com.
48. BEST STORYTELLER
Every object has a story, and when the object is a 150-year-old tent-hanging from Afghanistan, a Tuareg camel saddle from Morocco, or a table of salvaged, 800-year-old petrified wood from Java, the story is fascinating. Especially as told by Donna Waldhauser, owner of Alsadu, a Minneapolis retailer of textiles, rugs, and artifacts from around the world. Waldhauser not only knows the provenance of every item she stocks, odds are she also knows the owner of the sheep whose wool was loomed into the rug, the type of dyes that color it, and the extended family of the Moroccan artisan who wove it. Alsadu, a Kuwaiti term meaning “moving forward,” is Fair Trade and Green America certified. 1400 Van Buren St. NE, Suite 160, 612-789-1362, alsadu.com.
49. BEST REPURPOSED INDUSTRIAL SPACE
From the California Building, where it all began in the early 1980s, to Northrup King, epicenter of Art-a-Whirl, Northeast is the ultimate caterpillar-into-butterfly neighborhood. Hundreds of artists rent studio space in formerly desolate factories and warehouse spaces in what’s now known as the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District. The newest studio building is Casket Arts, which housed a factory that made exactly what the name suggests until 2005. Converted into studios in 2007, the circa-1887 building and attached Carriage House Building—where horse-drawn hearses were made—now rents space to painters, photographers, jewelers, and furniture makers. Check out the building’s next open house, “Cache at the Casket” on November 13 and 14. Find it at 17th & Jefferson St. NE, Minneapolis, casketarts.com.
50. BEST ARCHITECTURAL TIME CAPSULE
Nestled between St. Anthony Park and Falcon Heights off Como Avenue in St. Paul is a neighborhood the New York Times called “a living time capsule of vernacular modern architecture in America.” Just 8 blocks long and 1.5 blocks wide, University Grove is a tour-de-force of twentieth-century residential architecture with examples by Edwin Lundie, Winston and Elizabeth Close, Ralph Rapson, and many other influential architects. It all started in the late 1920s when the university founded this housing development for faculty and administrators, and decreed that all homes should be architect-designed and meet strict ownership and cost criteria. The result: a pleasing blend of compatible, high-quality, not-so-big houses. See a map at umn.edu/ugrove.
Photo by Todd Buchanan 51. BEST RETRO HUNTING
Photo by Todd Buchanan
Whether mid-century furnishings fill you with nostalgia or simply appreciation for the elegant designs of Milo Baughman, Vladimir Kagan, and Samuel Marx, put Spinario Design on your must-stop-in list. Proprietor Peter Dyste started buying and selling antiques in high school, and he knows his stuff. He and partner Caitlin Karolczak (a painter in her own right) spend much of their time in pursuit of quality vintage pieces at auctions and estate sales in New York, LA, Chicago, and elsewhere, buying treasures such as this curvilinear “Oasis” sofa, by Edward Wormley for Dunbar, circa the late 1940s. In addition to mid-century furniture, accessories, and artwork, you’ll also find Art Deco, Hollywood Regency, and Italian Renaissance items. 1300 Second St. NE, Minneapolis, 612-396-1860 or 612-414-7652, spinariodesign.com.
52. BEST FAIR-TRADE SPOT
You can buy La Chamba cookware from a big box retailer, but why would you want to? Farrington’s in Long Lake stocks only La Chamba certified by the Fair Trade Federation. Owner Cynthia Borgert is committed to supporting the mostly female artisans who make the earth-friendly pottery, lamps, pillows, and other home accessories she sells. Find items from Costa Rica, Colombia, Mozambique, Indonesia, and many points in between at this small suburban shop. Farrington’s, 1882 Wayzata Blvd., 952-473-3106.
53. BEST THING TO COME OUT OF THE RECESSION
Some design professionals are making lemonade out of the lemons they’ve been handed lately. Mary Jane Pappas would be one of them. She introduced two design packages she calls “180 Degrees” and “360 Degrees”: For a one-hour design consultation, you pay $180; for two hours, $360. You get a Pappas design consultant’s expert eye and advice on space planning, furniture arrangement, product and color selections, and more. Whether the gigs are one-time consults or the beginning of a relationship with a client, “It’s a win-win-win situation,” says Pappas. Pappas Design, 20 Ardmore Dr., Minneapolis, 763-377-9870, pappasdesign.com.