Nestled in the industrial district in Portland, OR is the trendy lighting and home décor store, Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. Started in 2003 by Brian Faherty, this small business has grown in the past 10 years into a unique retailer.
Schoolhouse Electric was founded on the idea of bringing back authentic American hand-crafted light fixtures that aren't available in the mass market. Faherty had been selling and remodeling historic properties and was intrigued by how light fixtures were being put into these homes. “I saw that the projects were falling short when it came to lighting. They were turning to mass manufactured lighting from big box stores. To me, that was an area people needed to pay attention to,” said Faherty. With this idea in mind, Faherty did some research and found a company in up-state New York that had kept their collections of cast iron light molds from the early 20th century. He bought the collection, returned them to working order and started a small shop reproducing period light fixtures. In 2008, Schoolhouse Electric began to gain notoriety with home design bloggers and the business started to take off. Faherty established the Portland warehouse in 2011 and followed with a store in Tribeca, NY.
The fixtures that Schoolhouse Electric makes are simple, but present a sophisticated style. Faherty and the other designers at Schoolhouse find inspiration from the decades of yore and make the fixtures and home accessories modern and sleek, which is their appeal to customers.
Along with making one-of-a-kind retro home fixtures, Schoolhouse uses materials that are only made in the United States and by local vendors. Faherty uses this concept in marketing his company: making accessories for the home that are not only unique aesthetically, but are functional as well. Branching out from lighting was an easy step to home furnishings. Industrial meets mid-century modern, each furniture piece has the same hand-crafted authentic, American-made prose and brings forth wistfulness that Schoolhouse has adopted as their brand.
As the business continues to grow exponentially they are experimenting with new avenues; such as a line of bags, office supplies, and hardware. Coming from a collaborative mindset, Faherty has opened the Portland showroom to house Ristretto Roasters and Anna Mara Floral Design. The expansions have effectively made Schoolhouse Electric a one-stop shop, or a place to knock three birds with one stone.
BY Bridget Shelton & Brooklyn Di Raffaele
Photography by Brandon Williams
After the snow and rain begin to dispel and the sun begins to shine, there is no better feeling than being outside breathing the cool spring air. This is the perfect time to gather your friends together for some yummy food while catching up. Decide on a theme and scour your local stores and online for the best deals for decorating. The theme I decided to go with was a quirky mismatch fit for the Queen of Quirk herself, Zooey Deschanel. Often when shopping I would ask myself, what would Zooey do, WWZD? Well, Zooey would definitely take animal figurines, paint them gold, and scatter them about for funny conversation starters. She would also want to make her guests feel extremely comfortable and create little seating areas for them to relax. But most importantly, she would have a variety of cute little snack foods to appease all her friends and guests.
Mixing and matching prints and colors is a fine art. The best way to make it cohesive while avoiding “matchy matchy” is to find a common color within your patterns. I chose yellow as my common thread between many of the pieces, mainly the tablecloths on all the tables. Easy ways to mix patterns and colors together are in your place settings. Rummage through your cupboards to see what you already have that could get a fresh take with new textiles such as; tablecloths, placemats, napkins, and napkin rings. See below how I made different place settings using an array of layered pieces.
If your home or yard isn’t quite ready for guests, search for local spots like city parks or community areas. I found this adorable gazebo at Philomath City Park that was perfect for my soiree. Most likely the amenities will be free to use and sometimes you are able to reserve the spots to ensure that your party won’t be crashed by someone else.
BY Bridget Shelton
Photography by Dana Briggs