You know when you find a new gem of a store in the neighborhood and shame yourself for weeks and months for overlooking it for so long? That happened.
Last month, Katrina from Salt & Ginger graciously had me added me to an invite list for an exclusive Designers Only Evening at The Shops On West Ridge. I’m no interior designer like the rest of the invitees that attended the event, but I do like myself a good shopping experience and the chance to scope out new things for my home. The Shops on West Ridge is a gigantic co-op-like complex that’s subdivided to showcase over 200 vendors who have allocated shop space featuring artisan crafts, home accents, antiques, furniture, and just about as much else that you could imagine.
I didn’t even think to grab my camera for the event (I only had my iPhone), and for all intents and purposes I’m not sure I was allowed to be photographing stuff inside the building (I got permission when I could), but I wanted to give you a peek of what I liked.
Important side note: Tonight is The Shops’ Night of Lights event. From 10am-10pm today everything in the building is 20% off, and from 6-9pm there will be food, live music, and the chance to win one of three 40″ TVs. I’m not being paid to promote the event, in fact, me telling you probably lessens the odds of me winning one of those TVs, but I’ll be there nonetheless so maybe we’ll bump into each other. ;) Yes, that’s a wink face.
I’ve toured co-ops like this before. Most often, they’ve been filled with giant glass showcases so you can look, but not touch, the vendor’s merchandise. Rarely have I come across a shop that’s this large (think: over 100,000 items in what is mostly designed to be open shops). I could have spent hours there.
The building itself is two levels; start out upstairs and you’ll be amazed, but then go downstairs and you’ll wonder if you can bail on your afternoon meetings to spend more time browsing.
One of my favorite shops of the night, The Back Lot, is located along the downstairs back wall of the store. Vendor Mary Ellen has an array of items for sale ranging from home supplies and kitchenware to vintage items like the amazing weathered tool box shown in the below picture, to mid-century furniture and loads of vintage wool blankets.
One might say that Mary Ellen really knows how to stage a space. In addition to it being easy to envision every last piece in your own home, she’s sourced some incredible, desirable pieces. I’d buy any one of the four chairs shown in this photo–each one is charming–and the wooden desk is so reminiscent of one that my elementary school teachers might have sat at, it’s uncanny.
This rice paper bowl in The Back Lot was beautiful too. It was priced at just $9, which leads me into my next point, buying vintage or in the co-op setting doesn’t mean dropping a lot of money – most of the items I swooned after were shockingly affordable and in great condition, unlike what you might find in a vintage or traditional second-hand store.
This next photo was also taken in The Back Lot’s floorspace, but just goes to show how completely unique some of the products for sale at The Shops are. These two pallets had been overtaken by wasp nests in a barn, but the original owner was able to salvage them and retain their amazing composition. Anywhere else, I might have overlooked these but the way that Mary Ellen presented them as wall art, I’m totally enamored with them, their fragility, and their organic nature. They’d be so perfect in the right house (a house without curious 6-year old fingers). I think they were $15/each. I’m doing a lot of guessing on prices as I try and recall the details for this post.
I eventually made my way through The Shops and was fortunate enough to run into Katrina’s boothmate Sadie of Sadie’s Stuff. (Katrina wasn’t there during Designers’ Night but Pete and I met up with her the very next day! There’s no photographic evidence of my first blogger-friend meet up, but she’s delightful in person!)
I’ve followed her store Salt & Ginger for nearly two years now and can attest to the fact that her booth is exactly like her etsy store, super fabulous, only in 3D. I go back through these photos and see things like that starburst mirror on the floor, and the paintings (?) above the round mirror and wonder how I overlooked them while I was in her shop. Probably because my head was spinning with excitement.
Over on Sadie’s side of the booth hung this, a remote control airplane (without remote) that had a wing span of at least 8 feet. If I’m recalling correctly, it was priced at $100, and how awesome would that be as an ceiling accent in a little boy’s bedroom? Or in my bedroom, if the ceiling were vaulted… yes, my bedroom, it was that damn cool. Also displayed was a high wheel bicycle that was so impressive that it would make you spit your chai latte right right out of your mouth. Oh, and one of the vendors was serving chai at her booth, did I mention that this Designers Event was incredible? I have high hopes for tonight’s Night of Lights event.
Had I not gone to the event that night, I might never have known that Katrina’s brother also has his own shop with an array of amazing treasures, many 19th century antiques. He sells through eBay (and has a LOT of stuff listed so you should check it out) but I really fell for this pretty coffee table/ottoman. I can’t confirm what it’s made of, but it felt and looked a bit corky and was so visually interesting that I had to take a photo of it.
I liked The Shops so much that I brought Pete back the next day (a planned trip to meet Katrina). We spent an additional two hours exploring, uncovering treasures that relate back to both of our childhoods like this Winnie The Pooh book on record. We bought soy candles and strawberry rhubarb jam and life has been good.
I wish I could showcase more, the vendors styles ran the gamut and there’s something for everyone there. I had a chance to meet some of the vendors in person. I have a hunch you’d like their shops too:
If you’re going to stop by the event tonight, let me know and maybe our paths can intentionally cross!