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Shopping Pittsburgh’s home decor meccas, even on a budget


Whether you prefer retro or rustic, it’s easy to give your home a little panache and support small businesses at the same time. Fortunately for Pittsburghers, there are plenty of locally owned home décor shops right in our backyard that cater to budgets of all sizes.

For the retro connoisseur

Entering Who New Retro Mod Décor in Lawrenceville, you feel as if you’ve stumbled on a treasure chest. Every direction you look, something catches your eye. Yo’re going to be here for a while, and that’s a good thing.

Focusing on vintage modern décor, Who New sells a variety of furniture, lighting, art and housewares.

“I fell in love with mod design years ago,” says Jeff Gordon, the store’s proprietor. “I started collecting more and more, and eventually we opened our own shop.”

While Who New sells a variety of high-end vintage pieces from well-known designers such as Eames and Miller, they also carry plenty of affordable pieces: teak bowls, kitschy salt and peppery shakers and one-of-a-kind vases.

“Our customers are young people who want grown-up furniture,” says Gordon. “They’ve grown out of IKEA.”

Gordon and co-proprietor Roger Levine stock the shop with goods at estate sales and flea markets. The inventory is always changing.

“I always tell customers that if they really like something, they should buy it,” says Gordon. “The next time they come by it might not be here anymore. Everything here is one of a kind.”

For the modern admirers

A modern look is popular, especially with young professionals. At The Shop in East Liberty, that feel is not only achievable, but also affordable — great news for those with limited budgets.

“The shop was founded on the idea that everyone should be surrounded by good design and therefore it should be attainable,” says owner Julia Reynolds. “We strive to find everyday art and home goods, as well as jewelry, that are affordable.”

The shop features creative, handcrafted home goods, art and jewelry created by local makers from the Pittsburgh region and beyond. These kinds of goods would work in any household, from one featuring Neon Lights to more classically designed rooms. Reynolds is always searching for fresh modern items to add to the store.

“Our customer is someone that’s looking for something unique, something that you won’t see everyplace else,” says Reynolds. “We offer easy design accents that I think give a bit of that ‘where’d you find that?’-aspect to any home, from a first apartment to an existing design that just needs a little update.”

Standouts include geometric vases and planters, as well as napkins and pillows with geometric prints. The shop also sells Pittsburgh skyline art prints and handcrafted wooden kitchen utensils such as knives, spoons, platters and bowls.

For the rustic enthusiast

Nestled in the village of Sewickley is a home décor shop called House 15413. Opened in 2011, it features unique home accents, luxury candles, custom art prints and vintage treasures.

“Everything in our store is a reflection of things we’d want in our own homes,” says owner Danielle Franks. “It’s an eclectic mix of old and new. It’s a combination of rustic and clean lines. We also have a lot of soft goods like pillows and throws.”

Franks and co-owner Kristin Bordeau hand select every item for the store from an array of vendors and vintage sources.

“One of our favorite things to do when the weather breaks is to go to markets and find old or vintage items for the store,” says Franks. “We also go to trade markets in cities like New York and Atlanta to find new items.”

When purchasing for the store, Franks and Bordeau try to keep price in mind.

“We have a wide range of price points,” says Franks. “We like to have something for mostly any budget and get a lot of foot traffic for people looking for something little.”

Custom art is one of House 15143’s best sellers. The shop features extensive options such as personalized family trees, custom drawings of your home, and pieces that incorporate anniversary dates or birth dates.

For the green or maybe not-so-green thumb

Houseplants are an integral part of decorating your home, but for some people, keeping plants alive is easier said than done. Luckily, Roxanne’s Dried Flowers in the Strip District has you covered regardless of your skills.

“Our customers are people looking to bring natural elements into their home décor,” says Tommy Conroy, visual manager at Roxanne’s.

The shop specializes in dried flowers, specifically wreaths and arrangements made by owner Roxanna Hahn, but it also sells plenty of loose dried flowers in bunches for those who want to give creating their own arrangement a try. The shop also sells candles, furnishings and antiques.

“We have items that fit many budgets,” says Conroy. “We sell boxes of potpourri for $4 and then have chandeliers selling for up to $3,000.”

If you think you’re ready to take on a little more responsibility, Roxanne’s also sells live plants, with an outdoor garden center out back as well as terrarium supplies, including plants, unique containers and books to give you some guidance.

“We had terrariums long before it was a trend,” says Conroy. “It’s wonderful that they are getting popular. It’s a fun way to work with gardening when you don’t have a plot of land or much space.”

And if you aren’t great at keeping houseplants alive, don’t let it discourage you.

“I really recommend that if you don’t have great luck with a house plant and it dies, keep trying,” says Conroy. “Learn from it.”

For the DIY lovers

The do-it-yourself route is a great way to achieve high-end style on a shoestring budget. With a few yards of fabric from Loom Exquisite Textiles, you’ll be well on your way to whipping up your own pillows, drapes or table linens.

Right across from Roxanne’s Dried Flowers in the Strip District, Loom sells a variety of new and vintage fabrics, trimmings and sewing patterns, in addition to vintage décor, accessories, kitchenware, lighting, rugs and even furniture.

Their fabric selection is extensive, with colorful bolts on all the walls and sprawling toward the ceiling. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll likely find it here. No doubt that some people are accustomed to looking for discount coupons on Raise or its likes to shop at their nearest Home Depot, but it’s always a good idea to try something new and support small businesses for a change.

Although some of the styles can be pricey, there’s a healthy selection of affordable fabrics, and the shop frequently has sales where you can expect to pay pennies on the dollar for certain pieces.

Photographs by Ray Miles, except for the photo of The Shop in East Liberty, which was provided.

Region: Southwest

Entrepreneurship, Features, Pittsburgh