Pacific Northwest Design Shops

Seattle space Needle with Sci Fi Museum
The Space Needle framed by the Frank Geary Sci-Fi Museum, sets the scene for a design-filled trip.

Sorry for long pause between blogs; Mike and I were away at a two-day wedding in Orcas Island that turned into ten amazing days in Washington state and British Columbia. We spent the majority of our trip hiking through old-growth forests and tide pooling along the rugged Vancouver Island coast but when it was time to hit the cities, we B-lined for the design shops.

My favorite home decor stores in the neighboring North American cities: Seattle and Vancouver

There is no other neighborhood in this British Columbian city as design-driven and charming as Gastown (despite the name) so if you don’t have much time in Vancouver, this is the hood to hit.


Gastown design shopsKoolhaus sold fabulous furniture and accessories but better yet . . . they had brilliant display ideas, like this craft paper wall covering. With the right lighting and deep wrinkles, this crumbled paper becomes the most dramatic accent wall.

repuposing garage doorsPerfect for a studio apartment looking for some shabby-chic charm, this old garage door doubles as a room divider, showcasing a credenza on one side and acting as a headboard on the other.


book towerThe clothing at LYNNsteven was far too chichi for me but the dressing room was right up my alley. Made of over 5,600 books, this award-winning tower wraps in a circle around a cement base and reveals its many colorful titles when you go in to try on clothes.

dressing room book tower

inform design shop Said to be the ultimate modern design store in Vancouver, Inform feels like a cross between an art gallery and an architecture firm. The space is massive and airy, with fashion-forward window displays and an impressive rare chair collection (the kind that say, “Don’t touch!” and Mike proceeds to touch).

I won’t get into Seattle’s touristy design destinations (the Space Needle, Sci Fi Museum, Olympic Sculpture Park, Pikes Place Market) because any tour book will to tell you to go there–and you should. They are all worth the trip but here are some must-see shops that Foder’s might not mention.

Velocity Art and Design
design-shops-velocity art and designVelocity Art and Design may be one of my favorite online stores of all time so to go into their physical store was like a pilgrimage of sorts. Seeing amazing boutique companies like Ferm Living, Yellow Owl Workshop, Publique Living, Ibride, Teroforma, all perfectly mixed and styled together in real life made me love the website that much more.

Design-ideas-velocity-art and design

SAM Shop
SAM shop
You can always count on city art museums to have a pretty solid design shop—and the Seattle Art Museum Shop was no exception. They carried some of the typical trendy décor but the mix of local art kept it interesting.

Kurt Cobain memorabiliaPreparing for the Kurt Cobain exhibit, they had grunge rock memorabilia and unexpected tributes like the Converse hightop wallet.

Pacific  Northwest Native American ArtNative American art, like carved wood totem poles and painted masks, was a reoccurring theme across the whole northwest.

Antiques at Pikes PlaceSeattle antiques You’d expect an antiques store next to one of Seattle’s most touristy destinations to be full of junk—but this shop around the corner from the legendary public market definitely bucked the trend. With over 65,000 square feet of stalls, Pikes Place Market was something for everyone—even those with good taste.

vintage can labelsI loved these vintage can labels. These designs in the round never made it onto a tin so to see the wrapping patterns on one plane made them a whole lot more interesting. In the event I get a bigger kitchen, I may just frame a series of these.