Best Home Decor - 2013
Forage Modern Workshop
As East Lake Street reawakens to new life, Forage Modern Workshop, which opened late last year, has been a fine addition to restaurants and shops that have begun to dot the stretch between Hiawatha and the river. With scores of young families now populating the neighborhood's adorable bungalows, it's no coincidence that the shop, focusing on Midwestern decor with a modern, design-savvy eye, features designs ready for the cute, clean, well-crafted homes of the area. Located in a circa-1951 building that appropriately served previously as the local Carpenter's Union hall, the space is sparse and industrial. Its goods and overall aesthetic reflect the sensibilities of co-owners Michael Smith and James Brown, who also founded the renowned period-proficient contracting firm Brownsmith Restoration, as well as those of buyer Heidi Smith and other business associates, artisans, and local estate sale diggers. The shop accepts high-quality consignments, rents furniture for photo shoots, and offers design services. The strong sense of community and Midwestern attitude continue in the menu and warm furnishings at adjoining restaurant Parka, a collaboration between Victory 44, Rustica Bakery, and Dogwood Coffee. Operating in a shared space just to the west of the retail floor, the cafe offers beer, wine, coffee, bakery items, and sandwiches, in addition to full comfort-food meals and desserts. With a mix of new and used local pieces, all impeccably curated and tagged with a lovingly handwritten note, plus a stop to grab coffee and a pastry, Forage oozes personality and warmth.