One of my primary new year’s goals is to travel more. You too? Having my jet-setting ways severely curtailed since my dive into mom-land has bummed me out a bit, but now that I have an almost-three year old, I’m determined to hit the road (sans baby!) in 2018.
That’s why I was thrilled when Travel Portland invited me to spend a little time in the fair Rose City. While my husband is originally from Portland and we are actually there quite often, it’s a rare occasion I get to explore Portland on my own. For my recent visit, I had just 36 hours, but I was determined to make the most of each and every beautifully solitary minute.
And I was on a very specific mission.
Portland is typically heralded for its outdoor activities, its craft beers, and its Portlandia-ness. But I headed to Portland to unearth design gems – places and spaces that make my little aesthete heart go pitter patter. And I am here to attest that there is plenty for modern design aficionados to appreciate in Portland. And I came home with proof! I crisscrossed the city, from its northeast to the south-west corners, cramming in as many beautiful finds as I could so you’re going to want to get ready to scroll. There’s a lot coming ‘atcha. You’re welcome!
SHOP: SPARTAN SHOP
1210 SE Grand Ave
An overview of Portland design finds must start with Spartan Shop. It could actually end there too. This space is my mecca. I actually profiled Spartan in its first iteration a few years back; a cute space in Austin, TX. But since opening a reimagined version of itself in Portland in October 2017, Spartan has shed its lone-star state influence creating a bright white, light-filled corner store beautifully appointed with curated, refined yet really tactile and personal pieces.
Spartan carries designers I’ve long loved and coveted included Lambert & Fils, Mquan and Tina Frey among a litany of others. Ceramics are one of Spartan’s specialties, but from their tabletop accessories to art and jewelry, I wanted every single thing in the space. The dominant color palette is obviously in the Apartment 34 wheelhouse; black, white and all things neutral are laid out beautifully in the open, airy shop.
As owner Currie Person explained, the new iteration of Spartan is really “a vehicle for connectivity – connecting our clients to artists and designers that we are passionate about and building a relationship with our community through fundraisers, art shows, discussions and workshops.”
“Although Spartan Shop has been around for almost 10 years it has been a very gratifying experience to open this new space in Portland with ample room to represent furniture and lighting designers and to host larger scale art shows.”
If you love amazing taste and beautiful design get thyself to Spartan. Bring the card with the highest limit you have. It’s impossible to leave without an armful of goodies.
SHOP: PARACHUTE HOME
820 NW 23rd Ave
If you’ve read Apartment 34 for a while, then you’ve probably caught wind of my love affair with Parachute. Their bedding is heavenly and I’ve been obsessed with their new bath collection. So I won’t lie, I was a little peeved that Portland got one of only two Parachute stores in existence (the other one is in Venice Beach). But Parachute fits right into the picture-perfect Portland neighborhood known as Northwest. Think tree-lined streets, adorable craftsmen-style buildings turned into shops and darling cafes on every corner.
The Parachute space is beautifully appointed. Am I the only one who geeks on out on retail space design? So be it. But I was swooning over the custom oak and brass shelving, the stunning floors, the awesome lighting, oh and all the scrumptious Parachute pieces of course. It was so fun to actually be able to touch and feel their cozy quilts, their beautiful Italian-made table linens and their new line of super cute shower curtains. It only made me want more Parachute in my life.
SHOP: NORTH OF WEST
203 SW 9th Ave
Located in downtown Portland just off Burnside (a major marker for all Portlanders) is the cute corner shop, North of West. They bill themselves as a “design-driven mercantile.” I was immediately drawn in by the bright white walls, soaring windows filled with home goods and eye-catching textiles scaling the back wall. Upon entering, I was pleased to discover many favorites from Hawkins New York, Areaware and Herbivore skincare inside.
But the pleasant surprise was the collection of in-house designed kids clothes. Think super cute prints and totally current colors. I loved the geometric prints and this really fun pineapple and lemon printed sweatshirt. They just didn’t have that in Carter’s size, but they do offer sizes that go from infant up to pieces for 4-5-year-olds. I had to restrain myself from leaving with an entirely new wardrobe for my kiddo.
STAY: HI-LO HOTEL
320 SW Stark St
When looking for the perfect place to stay in Portland I had three criteria, good central location, totally gorgeous and totally gorgeous. Enter the Hi-Lo Hotel. A boutique hotel, but part of the Marriott family, this spot was a perfect landing place for my day of adventures. Located in the heart of downtown, I could walk just about anywhere (downtown Portland is highly walkable because everything is only a few blocks away).
The lobby features soaring ceilings, concrete walls, exposed beams, and coffers, which offer a nod to Portland’s industrial roots. But when they’re paired with brass lighting, curved sofas and hits of millennial pink, the space takes on a much more elevated refined vibe. I loved it.
While one side of the lobby features a seating area (and piano open for any takers), the other side offers a great bar area, more seating and most importantly yummy cocktails.
Rooms at the Hi-Lo continued that modern feel but keep things from being too stark by using lots of texture and pops of color. I loved the continuation of the exposed concrete walls in the rooms, the Pendleton blanket-clad pillows, and nubby rugs. Oversized windows let in tons of natural light – always a preference when I travel. Bench seating offered a little spot to relax (for five minutes!) because I was back out and about time and again. But I loved the Hi-Lo because I could drop in, charge my phone, do a quick outfit change and then head back out to discover my next find.
RELAX: GOLDEN HOUR
410 SE Ash St
While I could easily spend hours shopping in Portland (I didn’t make it to Alder & Co, School House Electric, Beam & Anchor and so many others) I stumbled upon what I initially thought was a little spa tucked into the city’s Central Eastside neighborhood (not far from Spartan in fact).
But upon entry, I learned that Golden Hour is in fact, a nurturing space and shop to practice regular self-care utilizing acupuncture and other Asian modalities of wellness. And bonus: it’s simply stunning. Owner Janet Jay has created a calm respite from your everyday stress in a beautiful, inviting environment.
Janet learned about Chinese herbs and traditional wellness practices when she was a little girl by accompanying her great uncle to an herbal shop in New York’s Chinatown. Janet procures her herbs from that same shop today. Western medicine as really emphasized solving problems after something goes wrong, but Janet’s hope is that ideas of health in modern society will be altered. No longer will wellness be a reaction, but a daily act of self-love. Acupuncture benefits are cumulative, the more often you go, the better you will feel!
I would certainly feel better just by being in this space frequently. It’s decorated with objects and vintage items Janet has collected over years of living in New York, Japan and now Portland. The entry features a cabinet filled with the antique tins and boxes in which Janet’s great uncle and grandmother held their traditional remedies. Every detail in this space is spot on. You feel your blood pressure lowering just by being there. An acupuncture treatment on your lunch break is merely an added bonus.
Janet’s motto is Self Love is Radical. I couldn’t agree more.
2505 SE 11th Ave Suite 255
Being a stylist and…do I still call myself a blogger…content creator…editor…I digress. Regardless of title, my job requires that I don’t just know where to shop, eat or stay in a city. I also like to know what the creative community is up to and where you can possibly pull off beautiful events or photo shoots. Enter Tendue.
Tendue is a visually inspiring setting, uniquely designed to optimize the event experience for mid-sized groups and photographers. The blend of Parisian-inspired textures and tones eloquently pairs with this historic warehouse to create a space that’s both inviting and interesting. It’s the perfect setting for hosting small and workshops, team meetings, photo shoots or most anything else. You can see their entire list of upcoming public events right here.
But what I really love about Tendue is how refreshing it feels. There is no industrial chic. Nothing is reclaimed or repurposed. It totally bucks the stereotypes of Portland design. More impressively, the team behind Tendue hand painted the patterned floors, added all the detailing to the walls and sourced all the beautiful pieces at your disposal should you decide to have an event there. I’m already plotting an excuse to come back and throw a party.
I was able to see so many stunning spots in Portland that I had to break this recap into two parts. While I covered things to see, places to shop and where to stay today, you’ll need to come back tomorrow to see all the design savvy places to eat in Portland! For now you can check out Travel Portland’s entire list of chic places to shop right here.
For our entire travel archive, CLICK HERE.
original photography for apartment 34 by Carly Diaz
This post is in partnership with Travel Portland. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting collaborations I’m super excited about and that have kept apartment 34’s doors open.