10 over 10: July Design Inspiration

10 on 10 is a monthly column featuring 10 pieces of visual inspiration. Each month has a theme, and this month’s is: shop  local.

Working at home can feel isolating some of the time. I thrive on communication and conversations with other people,  but since I opened up shop at home, that happens far and few between. To soothe my need for dialogue, I’ve been walking the main street in my neighborhood chatting it up with local shop owners.

When I need a break, I walk down the street and talk to Theresa, the shop owner at ReFashion’D (7831 SE Stark Street, Portland), a small shop that sells amazing recycled furniture. Theresa really is a curator of great objects for the home. She’s lived in the neighborhood her whole life and I ask what’s changed, what’s stayed the same. Farther down is Branch and Birdie, a fantastic boutique shop for women that sells clothes, jewelry, and amazing stuff for kids. The shop owner and I often have heart-to-hearts about owning our own businesses, the freedom and struggles associated with it.

As I’ve grown to know these small shop owners, I’ve done my best to support them. I try to have client meetings at BiPartisan Cafe. If I need a bottle of wine for dinner, I’ll shop at the small International Food Supply at 8005 SE Stark, which has a great selection of gourmet international food. It’s also next to YaHala Restaurant which is a must if you’re looking for Lebanese Food. For beer I hit up the Beer Bunker, a a bottle shop and tap room specializing in local and unique microbrews. They have an amazing selection. When it’s pizza and video game time, then Flying Pie Pizza is the spot to be.

Shopping local is about keeping money in your local economy, and keeping shop owners in business. If you’re buying your food locally, you’ll protect the environment by lessening the amount of pollution released from transporting goods. But shopping local is also about creating a sense of community. Saying hi to neighbors. Being invested in their well being. Making potential business associations. Maybe even making friends.

I know it’s easy to use online shopping to buy clothes and housewares. As a busy solopreneur I feel like that’s the only way I can make time to shop. But I know that getting out of my house, going for a stroll, and picking up a few things I need will not only support local business owners, but also support me in creating community.

If you live in an urban area, stop by a few shops in your neighborhood. If you feel comfortable, have a conversation with the shop workers. Maybe there is a farmer’s market near your work or home. Buy your fruit for the week there. Ask the farmer what’s in season and what food to expect for the upcoming weeks. Keep going back. Keep it local. Keep it in your neighborhood family.

This month’s design inspiration is a little less design and a little more of a showcase of the businesses in my neighborhood, and how their community, texture, vibrancy, and life truly inspire me. If you’re ever in my ‘hood, give a shout out. Let’s get together for pie and coffee, then do some shopping!



Textures and a handmade sign from Mr. Plywood



More handmade street signs at Flying Pie



Photo collage of lighting at The Academy Theatre



You should shop here. The clothes and jewelry are great and the shop staff is even better!


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More sign painting from the main strip on Stark Street in Montavilla



Coffee, pie, and wifi. While you’re consuming all three, Ron and George (left) say hello as you walk to the john at BiPartisan. On the right, BiPartisan’s storefront.


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Clearly the best farmer’s market in town! The Montavilla Farmer’s Market not only has local food vendors, but beautiful flower booths, a coffee cart, and delicious pastry treats.

And even though this would make 11 pieces of inspiration, I had to include this photo from Monticello’s Antique Market.