|Portland Modern shop exterior|
This blog averages the most hits on the field-trip posts, so I suppose that means this homebody should get out of her cave more often. Early last October, I pulled my friend Jeff into a vintage shop I'd been meaning to revisit ever since first moving to Portland, took a few quick phone pics, and then grew busy with unexpected things. This weekend, while in the neighborhood and happening to be carrying my camera, I snapped a few additional exterior shots, so here we are. Ready?
|Portland Modern: George Nelson bubble lamp|
If, like me, you're a fan of mid-century design, but high-end stores like Good Mod and Look Modern are out of budget, a less expensive local source for vintage mid-century pieces is Portland Modern, a basement-level shop space in the Alphabet District. (Apologies for the phone-camera shots and artificial light, but basements aren't exactly known for their natural light and the store sells a lot of lamps, so what can you do?) Their merchandise has surely turned over in the last four months, so consider this a sampling of possibilities.
When you first enter the shop, you land in a hallway facing an alcove of vintage bicycles, a collection of vinyl records, and, opposite, a display of old Playboy magazines (with family-friendly covers).
|Portland Modern: vintage bikes, vinyl records|
|Portland Modern: vintage Playboy magazines|
The shop's layout is something like a dumbbell, heavy on both ends. If you choose to turn right, you'll find yourself in the men's and women's clothing sections, chatting with the friendly salesperson. I don't buy much vintage clothing myself, other than the occasional thrift-store find, but the selections seemed interesting and varied at a glance and the presentations organized, colorful, and cheery. If you enjoy wearing quirky old clothes nobody else has, do poke around in here.
|Portland Modern: women's section|
|Portland Modern: men's section|
The left side of the dumbbell contains the furnishings: designer furniture, fun lamps, old advertising signs, and a range of art and decorative objects from the 1950's through the 1970's. There's much to visually wade through, meaning the shop is more crowded and hodgepodge compared to the better-edited and -spaced collections at higher-end stores. Here, for example, chairs may be stacked atop tables (something Good Mod would never do). Plus, the store tips too far into vintage tiki-tacky and also leans heavily into the tired taxidermy trend.
|Portland Modern interior with hanging pufferfish lamp|
|Portland Modern: horned skull|
|Portland Modern furniture selection with swordfish taxidermy|
|Portland Modern: African sculpture|
|Portland Modern: paired vintage Danish teak armchairs|
|Portland Modern: round vintage table with inset chairs|
|Portland Modern: Hans Wegner Wishbone chair|
|Portland Modern furniture sampling, with PGE signage|
|Portland Modern: Russel Wright table-and-chair set|
|Portland Modern: Brutalist wall sculpture|
|Portland Modern exterior: A-frame sign, vintage dresses|
|Portland Modern exterior: set of four white sidewalk chairs|
(And yes, there were other customers in the shop, but I tend to crop them out when shooting.)
So until I get around to writing up field trips for more of the mid-century stores in town, check out this Portland-top-five list compiled by a shop owner in Olympia, Washington. (Psst, Jeff, Hawthorne Vintage is their #1.)