Best Home and Garden Shop 2010 | Figs Home & Garden | Shopping & Services | Phoenix
The urban home and garden fashion boutique Figs (Fine Interior Garden Space) has been around for five years, but it took owners Jon Douglas and David Coark four years of traveling beforehand to establish the shop's eclectic mix of European, Asian, French, Indian, Haitian, and Moroccan furnishings, antiques, and accessories. With home and garden goods covering nearly every square inch of wall and floor space, treasure-hunters can wander worldly amidst finds of carnival boats, architectural salvage, vintage padlocks, and Asian statuary, or stay in the neighborhood with one-of-a-kind works from Figs' stable of local artists.
Courtesy of La Grande Orange
Not long ago, we were listening to a fascinating show on the Martha Stewart station on Sirius. The topic: what to bring your host or hostess. One caller told the tale of bringing a gift to a hostess, only to have the hostess ask the guest to take the gift home with her. "We don't like to bring anything more into the house," she explained rudely. We can assure you that that hostess would have been singing a different tune had the gift come from La Grande Orange Grocery. Whether it's LGO's homemade English muffins, a sprinkle-covered cake from Tammie Coe, or a bottle of wine, you can find the perfect edible gift, as well as a wide selection of inedibles your hostess never knew she needed — like bright-colored oilcloth bags, champagne-scented candles, or T-shirts and bags emblazoned with the LGO logo. Just thinking about all the goodies at LGO makes us want to throw a party — if only for the hostess gifts.
We didn't even know we needed a private-label soy candle until we were given one by a dinner guest recently. The sticker on the bottom read "Stupid Cupid," so we headed there and, well, sort of had our life changed. We bought a bunch of stuff for our own home — hand-pounded metal picture frames, a soap dish with an old metal water spout attached to it, a ceramic planter shaped like a cow — and then, taking a cue from our friend with the candle, grabbed a couple of items to tuck away as hostess gifts. The best part is that the prices are practically thrift-shop low, but the stuff is all new, and some of it is one-of-a-kind artisan work (like the hand-carved wooden horsie we couldn't bear to pass up).Invite us over for dinner, and you'll likely wind up as hooked on this groovy gift shop as we are!
We hear it every time we visit Cheap Thrills at its new Indian School location: Some shopper spots something on a shelf or a rack in this boffo boutique and cries out, "My grandma used to have that!" But it's not just granny stuff that's stocked at this shop, where we recently bought a mint-in-box Big Jim Sports Camper (like the one we got from Santa in 1971!) and a bathrobe made entirely out of fake fur. The French deco dresser in our bedroom came from here, and we're still kicking ourselves for not buying that honest-to-gosh lava lamp (not a repro!) that we saw there on the same day. Everything's priced to move here, and all of it is pretty dang cool.
We have a terrible confession to make. Phoenix, we've been keeping something from you. We discovered Ozzie's Furnishings years ago, but we haven't shared it with you because — well, because we're selfish. There's no other way to put it. We're sorry. To make up for it, we promise to stay out of Ozzie's for a while, to let you catch up. Anyhow, our house is bursting at the seams with the amazing finds from this small but beautifully curated St. Vincent de Paul thrift store. The folks who run Ozzie's are damn good shoppers who peruse SVDP's giant warehouse often, hand-picking the goodies that constantly come in (and out) the door. We can't believe the turnover at this place — and it's as much about low prices as high-quality home furnishings. Seriously, turn your back and that dark stained Mexican wood desk with the bird carving might be gone. That vintage trunk — the one that's in perfect condition — might disappear from under your reach. The powder blue tufted velvet bench? Poof. Ozzie's is not for the laid-back shopper. But if you're up for a fight, we'll see you over there. As soon as we buy a larger house — and give you a head start. Remember, it's all for a good cause.
We've been to pretty much every Goodwill store in the Valley, from Surprise to Queen Creek. On the right day, and with a little luck, there's always a treasure to be had at the remarkably professional nonprofit chain. Still, on the whole, we have to say we've had the very best luck at the Central Phoenix location on the southeast corner of 16th Street and Indian School. We're not sure why, exactly, but something about that spot seems to facilitate great finds — maybe it's the location that the established upper-middle class people in nearby north central Phoenix favor for donations or maybe it's not as picked-over as the suburban stores. Whatever the reason, it's the best, and you should appreciate us telling you so. After all, we're reluctantly reporting this to you because it's our job, fully realizing that you'll now snatch up the great Ikea furniture, vintage Western shirts, and classic T-shirts we've been snagging there over the past year. C'est la vie.
Friends are sick of hearing us boast about how we bought a like-new Braun espresso maker for 10 bucks, but we can't stop talking about it. We found it at Flo's, where we're also proud to proclaim we've in the past found a fabulous still-working vintage 30-cup percolator, a portable CD player (for $7!), and a hot plate shaped like a giant daisy. We were eyeing one of those mini-TVs, but we made the mistake of going home to "think about it," and when we returned the next day, the little television was gone. That's because Flo's prices its junk to move. So get going — there's a toaster at Flo's with your name on it!
In February, we bought 32 sheets of leftover Valentine-pink felt for a quarter. The month before, we stocked up on all our holiday décor for next year — and got every last reindeer ornament and dreidel-shaped earring set for 75 percent off. We're fans of Hobby Lobby year-round, to be sure — we get all our art supplies, sewing notions, and crafting junk there. But our favorite time to shop at this monster-size shrine to DIY is just after any holiday, because that's when Hobby Lobby crams an extravagant clearance aisle full of stuff so special we can't say no to most of it. Better yet, all this great holiday-themed stuff is augmented with markdowns from all over the store — the framing department, the art department, the fabric department — which makes us a hobbyist who just can't say no to any of this cool, nearly free stuff.

Best Thrift Store for Amateur Paintings


It might be a fish. Or a horse. Someone who saw it thought it was a hat. But whatever it is that's depicted in this fabulous thrift-store painting from Savers, we got it at a steal. Aficionados of so-bad-it's-good art must be on to this place, because each time we drop by in search of a '50s prom portrait or a half-finished, vintage paint-by-number, we notice that the wall of art has grown. Still, we rarely leave without something splattered onto a canvas by a weekend painter — and you can, too.

Best Thrift Store for Square Dancing Costumes

Travel Thru Time

If you're getting your Annie Oakley costume ready for Halloween or just have a hankerin' to go do-si-do with your partner, mosey on down to Travel Thru Time, a cluttered little gem of a vintage shop in Phoenix's Encanto district. From tame to downright tacky, an assortment of square dance regalia that would outfit a high school cast of the musical Oklahoma! 10 times over can be found at this fun store. We're talking a huge rack stuffed full of ruffled gingham beauties and polka-dotted cuties that never dwindles, thanks to the shop owner's buying addiction. How much will one of these babies set you back? Prices vary according to style and craftsmanship. A well-used set printed with chili peppers costs about $40, while a checkered lime two-piece made for a championship dance goes for over a Benjamin. On our last visit, we even spotted a vintage skirt painted with little cowboys and frilly skirted square dancers in action — perhaps as a reminder that other people really do wear this shit.

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