Madison Valley and its easterly neighbor Madison Park aren't like Ballard, Pioneer Square and other local shopping meccas.
“You have to come here on purpose,” Leah Steen, interior designer and owner of Revival Home and Garden, says of her central Seattle neighborhood. And if you don’t frequent the area already, you shall be sweetly surprised.
Steen enjoys the 'hood for its diversity of residents, its variety of housing styles, its charming downtown and yes, its bounty of quality retail lining East Madison between the Central District and Lake Washington. “I’m a huge vintage shopper and in this tiny area, there’s a really interesting mix of stuff in some fairly chic shops,” Steen says. Below find eight of her picks for home decor, children's clothes, floral arrangements and more, as well as three sandwich stops, all along one power street.
Red Ticking (2802 E. Madison)
Red Ticking; photo credit: John Grannen
Think vintage fabrics and heirloom home furnishings. “They have antique textiles you can turn into pillows,” Steen says, “and great antique art and lighting: marble lamps and old chandeliers that have been rewired. The place has a really beachy and shabby-chic feeling.” Founder Pamela Robinson has been running the place since 2002, and is frequently on site to amp up the shopping experience even more.
Maison Luxe (2806 E. Madison)
Go for the wall décor and a pro mix of vintage accessories and furniture for the living room and bedroom. Steen enjoys the whole display, although “the art selection is my main reason for going." You'll find luxe stocks prints, paintings and other wall artwork by a few artists regularly, including one of her local favorites, Jennifer Ament.
Apogee (2811 E. Madison)
A “true antique store,” Apogee makes Steen’s list for its wide range of home décor relics from antique sconces to “funky side chairs” to old books. “It’s really random. You never know what you’ll find in there, and it will have 40 percent off sales for no reason.”
Jarbo (2809 E. Madison)
Jarbo's spring collection; photo credit: courtesy of Jarbo Collection
When scoping out clothes, the European-inspired Jarbo is a Madison Valley must. “The styles are simple but chic—monochromatic with interesting textures,” Steen says. Sole designer Sharon Roth formerly sold at Madison Valley’s Veritables (now closed) before Jarbo opened in 2011 (its other locations include Bellevue, California and Michigan).
Guesthouse (4110 E. Madison)
Venture east to Madison Park, and find another standby for home furnishings similar to Maison Luxe, but “more funky and eclectic,” Steen says. “[Owner Kate Link's] style tends to be more Bohemian and that’s her slant, which I find interesting. It’s a nice complement to the other [home décor] stores because it’s not duplicating the effort. She carries art and vintage pillows but in a different style than Red Ticking.”
The Original Children’s Shop (4216 E. Madison)
The Original Children's Shop; photo credit: courtesy of the Original Children's Shop
Anyone shopping for the younger set shouldn’t miss this unique, swank stop at the bottom of the hill. “They have great stuff for kids and great baby gifts,” Steen, a mother of two, says. “It’s a hybrid—about half old-school preppy with christening gowns and grosgrain bows, and the second half more chic stuff for older kids. French clothes like Petit Bateau.” Other common brands include Kissy Kissy, Catamini, Mayoral, Tea Collection and more, and bonus: there’s even a children’s salon on site.
Martha E. Harris (4218 E. Madison)
Go for expert floral designs and classic gifts. “I grew up in the South,” Steen says, “and [Martha E. Harris] reminds me of places I grew up with where you would go to buy someone a graduation gift. It’s a place where you could buy your mom a gift and know she would like it. It feels like a throwback to another time to me.” The staff also knows its flowers. “They’re great at interpreting the effect you want to achieve,” she adds. “Very peaceful arrangements.”
Cookin (4224 E. Madison)
Cookin'; photo credit: courtesy of Cookin'
Tucked into the Madison Park strip, this cooking treasury has an extensive selection of kitchen gear in its wee storefront. “I can walk in and there's everything you could imagine for the kitchen in this small pocket of stores,” Steen says.
Sandwiches, anyone? They’re Steen’s favorite snack after shopping up an appetite.
Essential Baking Company (2719 E. Madison)
“They have this reuben with mushrooms instead of meat. I’m not a vegetarian but I get it all the time. It’s so, so good,” Steen says. “Everyone needs to try it.” Essential Baking has a choice of three reuben fillings: pastrami, turkey or grilled shiitakes (Steen’s choice), as well as nine other artisan sandwiches.
Luc (2800 E. Madison)
Hit this French-American café for its burger with aioli, tomato jam, caramelized onion and fries. “Amazing fries,” Steen says. “I like going for dinner—it’s dimly lit and has a great bar. Feels like a neighborhood bistro, and it's also great for a date.”
Madison Kitchen (4122 E. Madison)
Madison Kitchen; photo credit: Andrea Coan
At this deli by the lake, Steen is all about the eggplant. Try the Kitchen’s grilled sourdough sammie with herb-roasted eggplant and red pepper, chevre, spinach, green olive tapenade and basil aioli in either a whole or half. (One whole, please.)