When I was a kid, I always jumped at the chance to go shopping in Sugarhouse. I fantasized that somewhere in this bustling Salt Lake City neighborhood, I'd discover an entire house made of candy. I only recently discovered that the district grew on the site of a sugar beet processing factory that was built by pioneers in the 1890s and demolished after six years. So much for the romance of a name.
Today, despite the new Sugarhouse Commons shopping area full of national chains, old Sugarhouse still feeds my fantasies with its eclectic array of locally owned shops, many complete with their original, kitschy signage. I love to wander through the jam-packed galleries, antiques shops, and consignment stores, discovering places where you can find the perfect sunglasses or get a psychic reading.
It's a fine area to browse for home furnishings, and a good place to begin is Bountiful Home. The former auto body repair shop is stacked to the steel rafters with 19th-century French furnishings, all with that distressed look that says faded chic, but not cheap. The mirrors, iron-frame daybeds, crystal chandeliers, etched goblets, and vintage wicker are all wonderfully frilly and full of possibility.
It's a quick stroll over to Hip & Humble. The renovated 1920s mechanics' garage is full of both faux and real vintage items: framed windows painted with the names of Parisian cafes and hotels, custom-framed beds, comfy chairs, bejeweled lamps, tea towels, and accessories for kids' rooms, from retro to fancy.
Down the street at Edish.com, I always find something I don't need ― but must have ― among the racks of pre-owned china and crystal. Head dish-hunter Miriam Eatchel excels in scouting out discontinued, antique, or hard-to-find china and flatware. Don't miss the store's vintage mannequin dressed in a frock decorated with broken china.
Heading east, into the thick of the business district, I always duck into the time warp of the Green Ant. The small, narrow shop is filled with a constantly changing array of Eames bucket chairs, swag lamps, Austin Powers-worthy sunglasses from the 1960s, and finer items, such as Don Chadwick sectional seating from Herman Miller and Kevi chairs from Denmark.
There is more, but of course a shopper has to eat. I fuel up at the Millcreek Coffee and Bagel Company with a cappuccino and a superbly chewy, kettle-boiled asiago bagel. It may not be that elusive house made of candy, but it's just right in Sugarhouse.
The main Sugarhouse shopping district runs from 800 to 1300 East and 1900 to 2300 South. The area is flat and easily walkable.
Bountiful Home. Closed Sun. 2021 S. Windsor St.; (801) 484-1098.
Edish.com. Closed Sun. 815 East 2100 South; (888) 768-8282 or www.edish.com.
Green Ant. Closed Sun. 2011 South 1100 East; (801) 595-1818.
Hip & Humble. 2030 South 900 East; (801) 467-3130.
Millcreek Coffee and Bagel Company. 1045 East 2100 South; (801) 485-3333.