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  • Writer's pictureJCB

The Hunt: My Local Housewares Heroes

Updated: Jun 20

To anyone who knows me, it's no secret I have always loved to shop. After years of therapy and damn near bankruptcy, I've come to realize, for me, it's more about the hunt, so I have decided to channel my obsession into a styling career and funnel all my knowledge into this new blog category called (of course) The Hunt and share my finds from where I live and everywhere I go. Because that's what I do.

I live in Baltimore City and while it's a city not really known for its shopping (hard fact), there are some sweet spots that are run by passionate locals who obviously love to hunt as much as I do. Retail is hard. I know because when I started my journey as an independent creative back in 2007 I joined my bf Melissa Kirby as a partner at the legendary Baltimore boutique Shine Collective in Hampden. It was my dream to own a shop and shop for the shop (and others!). Sadly, we didn't quite make it through the financial collapse of 2008—we held on by the skin of our teeth and in 2010 we shut our doors. The experience was tough, but it made me appreciate those who do local retail really well—and to you brave souls, I dedicate this post.

This is my go-to list of eight great faves in Baltimore City and County for home-goods shopping. I go as far north as Hunt Valley and as far south as Pigtown. I list both vintage and new because that's how I like to shop and style. I know I've missed a few, so if you'd like to add to this list, please do in the comments below!

1. THE OG: In Watermelon Sugar, 3555 Chestnut Ave., Baltimore, 21211

Baltimore native Leslie Waskins created this delightful little shop in 1998 and I've been going ever since. She has a tight, well edited selection of small things like candles, lotions, soaps, vases, kitchen things, tea towels, jewelry, books but also some larger items like lamps and the occasional piece of furniture. She's been stocking Votivo candles since always and can be counted on for my favorite rustic Vance Kitera pillars in mass quantities. I love being surprised by the new finds she brings in each season, her beautifully styled windows and her amazing taste which is seemingly informed by her connection to Northern California, the beach and her obvious love of home. Don't miss her collection of bags and accessories. Sometimes she brings in a small collection of Chiapas woven market bags. I get one every summer and carry it every. damn. day, til it's threadbare. Thanks for setting the bar so high, so long ago, Leslie and for keeping your foot on the gas in good times and bad.

Photos courtesy of @In_Watermelon_Sugar IG

2. THE NEW KIDS: Good Neighbor + The Greenhouse (now Tilled Studio) 3827 Falls Rd., Baltimore 21211

I have to admit. I rarely go to this Hampden coffee shop for coffee. In fact, it's not the coffee I go for at all. When Good Neighbor first opened I could hardly believe my eyes at the retail offerings from Ferm Living glassware to Hasami porcelain to Hawkins New York napkins. The modern open shelving and the incredibly dialed in furniture (which is all for sale) is a Silver Lake retail dream right here on Falls Road. In warmer months the side area is open air dining and hanging with multi levels of seating among a hillside of hip vegetation and planters. If you go you must also hike to the top of the hill which sits the cutest little shop ever, known as the Greenhouse (they have recently changed their name to Tilled Studio). This inviting little space is everything dried flowers, modern vases + vessels and greenery. Perfect gifts. Greenhouse owner Alyssa Zygmunt has great taste and does an incredible job with weddings as well. Despite opening smack on the front end of Covid, Good Neighbor is wildly popular and even recently put us on the retail map with this stunning mention in Dwell Magazine. Congrats neighbor!

Photos Courtesy of @GoodNeighborShop IG

Photos courtesy of @TilledStudio IG

3. THE HEIRESSES : Wishbone Reserve, 3811 Falls Rd., Baltimore, 21211

If you're out and about in Hampden on a weekend, you cannot go to Good Neighbor without stopping at Wishbone Reserve to take a peek at this week's treasures. Proprietors Athena Hoffberger and Julie Lilienfeld are highly skilled at plucking and scouring estate sales and really know their stuff about all things vintage. I jokingly/lovingly call them 'heiresses' because they both have grown up around fine art, antiques, rugs and collections their whole lives and their unique experience has made them experts—not to mention they have great taste. It's fun to go in there on a random day and see what's new, you never know what you're going to find.

Julie + Athena, Courtesy of @Wishbone_Reserve IG

Photos courtesy of @Wishbone_Reserve IG

4. THE COUNTY BABE: Becket Hitch, Greenspring Station, 2360 W Joppa Rd, Lutherville, 21093

Kohli Flick earned her retail stripes from years of visual merchandising for big retailers like Anthropologie and J. Crew. We met when she went local and created the most memorable and pinterest-worthy window installations at the now defunct Trohv (RIP! We miss you Carmen). She took her game to Greenspring Station and thankfully we get the spoils of Kohli's hard work and keen eye for the good stuff in the form of Becket Hitch. She's sources Clare V. bags, Linnea candles, irreverent greeting cards and a lot of preppy with a wink and a twisted twist that only Kohli can do. I love that she infiltrated the well-heeled Greenspring Station with her naughty pillows and mugs and lots of very cool stuff under the guise that everything is well curated, well chosen and of course, well merchandised...You go Kohli.

Photos courtesy of @BecketHitch IG

5. THE DARK HORSE: Ruxton Mercantile, 7625 Bellona Ave, Ruxton 21204

On a recent visit to a friend in Ruxton, yes Ruxton, the window at Ruxton Merc caught my eye. I wasn't expecting it. It really was out of nowhere because Ruxton has always just been known (to me) for old school rich people things, like Graul's Market (it's actually great btw), Cranes Stationery and Talbots (I guess?). I saw something that looked a little more dialed in and cool and less uptight than I would have expected. I popped in, not expecting to be wow'd but yes, I was wow'd. Where have you been my whole life? The woman behind the counter said 'we've been here for about three years now...' WHAT?!? I pride myself on knowing, and this, I did not know. Ruxton Merc became a little bit of an obsession for me—mostly in the form of gifts for others, but their inventory is impressive and not crazy expensive as you would expect from the location. They have things displayed in categories, home goods with well priced, beautiful vases, ceramics, cutting boards etc. moving into bath, baking, body (I love the Bath Culture oil!), jewelry and a small selection of clothing. The owner clearly knows what's up. I haven't met her yet, but I would love to. In my snooping I found out she is Caitlin Gibson —a mother to FIVE kids and a corporate attorney—oh and she also has this incredibly beautiful shop, that's all... Well done, Caitlin. 👏🏽👏🏽

Photos courtesy of @Ruxton_Mercantile IG

6. THE HEAVY LIFTER: Housewerks Salvage, 1415 Bayard St., Baltimore, 21230

If you've put together your living room and thought, this is good, but how can I make it great? I'd call on Housewerks. Let one piece of interesting, textural, one of a kind salvage do the heavy lifting for you. I can always count on my visits to give me that one ancient, big gigantic, demi-john vase, that one industrial mold that looks like an expensive sculpture and you're not really sure what it is, that one rusty old stool that holds plants so well and way better than IKEA ever could. I've been hitting Housewerks forever and hope it never goes away. Housewerks is a stylist's dream and an IG playground. Go this weekend and if you do go, you may as well also hit Second Chance for a vast dive into architectural salvage and old stuff—it's less form more function, but always worth a look.

Photos by me from my last visit in 2021. I'm sure it looks totally different now!

7. THE PARIS IN THE VALLEY: Hedgerow (+ John Brown), 13501 Falls Rd, Cockeysville, 21030

On my weekly journey to Hunt Valley for a grueling hour of Orangetheory (I say that with love!), I sometimes will make the 20 minute trip pay off by multi-tasking stops to HV staples like Wegmans, Home Goods etc. But if I'm feeling fancy I will drive down Shawan and stop in John Brown General + Butchery for expensive sausage (it's worth it) and other irresistible sundry (chips! bread! pickles!) that I somehow can't resist in this bucolic horse country setting. On one visit I noticed this lovely cottage-like building behind the butchery called Hedgerow. How have I not seen you before? Why, you are the most quaint storefront I've seen for miles! (I suddenly have the voice of Austen's Gwyneth's Emma in my head) The word that comes to mind (which I use rarely to never) to describe Hedgerow is exquisite. Charming is also another but somehow charming doesn't do it justice. It's more than Francophile, it feels like France—from top to bottom and there's not a crack in the armor. From the stone walls to the concrete flooring to the paned windows and beautiful basin area where the proprietress will create bespoke bouquets from rare flowers never to be seen in or near Wegmans... It's a pleasure just to be in this space and sniff the cloches of French candles like Cire Truden, Astier de Villatte, Bastide and other hard to find (in Baltimore) candles, feel the weight of the beautiful garden tools, textiles and small treasures all beautifully and lovingly merchandised—and I must note—it's not precious but sometimes a little weird and eccentric in the very best way. This place is an unexpected breath of fresh (French) air and I love it.

Photos courtesy of IG

8. THE STYLIST IN THE CITY: ADORN Vintage Furniture + Designs, 1004 Morton Street, Baltimore, 21201

From just one pass through her instagram, it's clear that owner Raina Smallwood knows the score. Her background in 'interior design, furniture restoration and a passion for architecture and good design' is apparent with every piece in her shop. Finding cool vintage and affordable mid century in Maryland is no easy task, but ADORN seems to have an ever rotating inventory of finds—weekly, if not daily. I have only been through a handful of times, but I'm reminded that in love and vintage, diligence pays off, so I need to go more often. Her shop is open on weekends and she also offers design services. Raina's passion for her space and for vintage furniture is contagious. Her stuff goes fast, so get in there.

Photos courtesy of @ADORNVintageFurniture IG

Raina in her element.

I'm Jamie. My style story has been a work in progress for over 25 years through travel, design, filmmaking, art and a fulfilling, professional, creative life. What I want most for my clients is to create spaces that feel cultivated by life, history, and story. For every project I bring to the table my time, resources, organization, editing, and eye for detail. Contact me for styling services:


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