Abode Brightens Up Any Abode

It’s not every consignment shop that combines vintage clothing, crystal chandeliers, flea markets and mannequin parts, but few consignment shops are like Abode, where “shabby chic” meets “subtle elegance.”

That’s how owner Miriam Sabirvenkataramanan describes her store, which she opened in 2005, after a few years managing Simply Home, another consignment shop on 1300 S. 900 East. And a peek inside Abode’s brightly painted building shows just how apt the description. There, decorators and collectors can find any number of unusual and striking items to brighten up their abode, from vintage theater marquee letters and unusual step stools to bigger pieces like armoires and even sofas, on occasion.

“If it’s funky and interesting and vintage, we’ll take it,” said Sabirvenkataramanan. “Our bottom line is fun, funky and functional. I think we like to focus on the unusual while still remaining utilitarian. [For example], right now we have a shocking turquoise massage chair.”

For even more unusual fare, visitors are invited to check out the store’s vintage children and baby section and its salvage room where unusual doorknobs, drawer knobs, mirrors, and even doors and windows are waiting. There’s even a back section which Sabirvenkataramanan lovingly calls “the Paris Flea Market,” which she describes as consignment with “a little Victorian and Edwardian thrown in.” There, crystal chandeliers can be found alongside Audrey Hepburn-style little black dresses.

“We call it our well-behaved side. So you know what the rest of the shop is like,” Sabirvenkataramanan joked.

Unlike many consignment shops which specialize solely in furniture and home accessories, Abode also accepts vintage clothing, which Sabirvenkataramanan describes as anything “pre-1960.” Though, she says that she’s particular about what she accepts because “there are so many things that can be wrong with clothes, like tears or damage.” Even so, the store’s mannequins are well-clothed and ready to be sold or rented for any number of events.

Sabirvenkataramanan admits that she’s partial to mannequins, which are ubiquitous throughout Abode, from displays using their hands to an unusual  sculpture in the bathroom.

“In our restroom we have the bottom half of a female mannequin. Essentially she’s naked, and that holds our toilet paper,” she said.

For those who can’t get enough of Abode’s classy flea market ambiance, the store holds an outdoor flea market in its parking lot each year from April through September. In fair weather and foul, up to 30 vendors meet once a month to hawk their wares, which have included clothing, homemade lemonade, “truly vintage, antique religious relics” and dolls bearing the likeness of Mexican artist and feminist icon Frida Kahlo.

Sabirvenkataramanan, who provides breakfast to the vendors, said that she hosts the monthly market to draw attention not only to Abode but to the creative artisans who populate the surrounding neighborhoods.

“We love Sugar House and the Avenues neighborhoods,” she said. “We love the people. It’s really our niche.”

The final Abode flea market for the season will be held Sept. 18 from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. in the store’s parking lot at 1720 S. 900 East. For more information about the store visit abodepfm.com or abode-abode.blogspot.com.

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