In their downtown store Woonwinkel—“home shop” in Dutch—Erica Essink and Kristin Van Buskirk channel the innovation of independent designers in Amsterdam, where Van Buskirk lived for several years.
“We love the modern look,” Essink says, “but we sort of tweaked it for our particular aesthetic. Modern with some warmth and some humor.” Though the store features products from designers around the world, Portland has a big presence. Caravan-Pacific’s Alberta Table Lamp, handmade in Portland, features FSC-certified wood and a linen shade on a stoneware base. Nell and Mary’s textile goods, Essink says, are “organic, sustainable, totally ethically sourced. That seems to go hand in hand for most of the people we work with.”
The store carries plainMADE’s line of custom-made Marino, as well as a line of custom-made Merino wool knit blankets in colors selected by Woonwinkel’s proprietors. Pigeon Toe Ceramic’s porcelain Tripot, a bowl glazed only on the inside and standing on three little legs, Essink says, “is a really good example of what we love. It’s functional, it’s gorgeous, but it’s got this pop of color that’s just a little more fun.”
Portland design shop Von Tundra collaborated with Essink and Van Buskirk on the design of the storefront at SW 10th and Washington, custom making all the fixtures. The pieces were so popular with customers, Von Tundra created a table in response, now available at Woonwinkel. Von Tundra’s cowhide Cowsies double as bracelets and beer cozies. “They’re very serious designers,” Essink says, “but they have a cheeky side.”
Essink and Van Buskirk chose their West End location carefully, having seen that the neighborhood was becoming a design hub, with PICA across the street and the several architecture and interior design firms in the area. Nearby hotels and the draw of Powell’s and a food cart pod means there are plenty of tourists walking by Woonwinkel’s corner windows, where they can see plenty of Portland design.
- Photography: Rachel Hadiashar