Today while on my lunch break at work, I wanted to use a small gift card I had, so I walked up to Powell's to look for a good magazine to read in the sun. Yes, sun! There was sun in Portland today! Surprisingly, Powell's has a pretty poor selection of magazines and quarterlies, so I walked through my favorite room: the one with the cookbooks, gardening books, and books on houses. Without any real direction or focus, I was meandering down the aisles just looking for something to jump out. On the end of one the aisles, there was a cart of books to return back to the shelf. On it I found this little gem of a book: Lofts by Jeffrey Weiss. Upon first glance, I knew this was the book I'd be taking home. It was published in the 70s, but the aesthetic is very current.  I flipped through it with an architect friend while sitting in the park, and he said that this is the kind of thing he refers to at work. He said that at his firm, they don't look t0 anything newer than 30 years for design inspiration, as more contemporary buildings haven't withstood the test of time.

Remove the clunky tvs and maybe some of the appliances, and you'd think these photos were from some new design blog. Instead, they're straight out of 1979.

____________________ All photos scanned from Lofts by Jeffrey Weiss.


One of my favorite things to do is to go thrifting. Either alone or with a friend, or even my mom. At the Goodwill down the street, or in small towns around the state -- it's sort of an addiction. Not an unhealthy one though, I don't think.

Over the past few months, I've acquired some little treasures. A wool blanket for $6 in rural Oregon, a wooden cutting board for a couple dollars in the Berkshires, mismatched silver utensils in the Hudson Valley, a copper saucepan in some small town outside of Portland, and a bunch of other things in thrift stores around town. My sister found these ceramic plates at a local shop, and luckily knew I'd love them.

I'm usually too impatient to look for clothing, and always go straight to the housewares. At every store, my favorite aisle is the one with the baskets and wooden things. Glass jars, wicker baskets, ceramic mugs (or plates, or bowls...), wooden spoons and cutting boards, natural textiles -- these are all things I collect. I admit that I do enjoy a trip to Ikea from time to time, but it's important to me to have good quality, well-built things in my house. And because of that I prefer worn, imperfect to new and sleek pieces.

In her last years, my grandma would always send all her house guests home with something from her closet or kitchen cupboards. And they were definitely not always things we wanted. Sometimes I think that one day I'll be one of those old women who spends her time in thrift stores, buying strange and unique gifts for friends just because she thinks they'd like them. Then I remember that I already do that.


On Saturday I finally made it down to the lovely new little shop and cafe in Portland called LOWELL. Christie and I were excited to check it out, but as we approached the front door and glimpsed in, we were both taken aback. It was even more amazing than we expected...and we knew it would be good.

The couple who opened the place, Maya and Dino, are pretty incredible, too. We got some coffee, sat at the bar of the café, and talked to them like we were old friends. (Maybe one day we will be.) Maya told us that her parents used to have a shop where they sold Native American crafts, and that's where some of the wire baskets and other goods they're selling came from. The beautiful wooden spoons were sourced from an indigenous community that they have a connection to in Mexico. I bought a teeny little vintage leather coin purse that I couldn't bear to leave behind. Christie left with her arms full of a beautifully worn rug and metal toolbox. The entire shop is expertly curated, and the jewelry, pottery, furniture, and other little trinkets each had their own stories and allure.

Dino is in charge of food in the basic kitchen, and based on the smell of the soup stock he was brewing, he knows what he's doing. I already have plans to go back for a Japanese-style soup they'll begin serving this week. In fact, from the moment I walked into the place, I couldn't help but think it belonged in my favorite outer neighborhoods of Tokyo: Shimokitazawa or Nakameguro, just like the café that is the inspiration for this blog.

If you live in Portland, do yourself a favor and go to LOWELL as soon as you can.

819 N Russell St | Portland OR 97227 503 753 3608 Open Wednesday through Sunday, 12-8pm-ish


____________________ All photos were taken with my iPhone.