Much like the antique wares found in Porch Light, the store itself has its own interesting past. Owner Keiran Best first started Porch Light in Oakland, California, then moved it up to Portland when she wanted a change of pace (smart woman!). The shop recently again moved from its Mississippi Street location and currently flourishes in its new Pearl district home.
Porch Light specializes in items that are “transported from another time and place.” Quite literally, most of the furniture, glasswares, textiles, and ceramics are delivered from the Midwest, a nod to Keiran’s Iowa upbringing. From the tiny succulents in vintage tins, to the heavenly-scented candles in mason jars, Porch Light oozes with charm. Keiran finely curates everything with a careful eye, creating a totally swoon-worthy collection.
E+E: What inspired the concept for the store?
Keiran Best: To be honest, I’ve always grown up around this stuff. My sister has an antique shop in Iowa, and we’d always fantasized about bringing antiques out from the Midwest.
E+E: Yeah, there’s a lot of hidden treasure out there.
KB: Exactly. When I was living in Oakland—I also make jewelry—I was looking for a studio space to make jewelry out of that had a bit of gallery space, and I couldn’t find anything that was the right size. Then, this giant 2,000 square foot old general store opened up and it was perfect, so I was like, why not do it? When I first started, I’d go back to the Midwest 3 or 4 times a year, load up the truck and drive back.
E+E: How did you come up with Porch Light as a name?
KB: It was kind of a long process. I wanted something that didn’t necessarily speak to what I sell but more of a concept—sitting out on the porch in summer time, telling stories.
E+E: How did you find this new space in the Pearl?
KB: I was up on Mississippi for six years before this, and Cindy, who owns Eden next door, owns Flutter up on Mississippi. She was thinking about opening a second store, and I was thinking about maybe either opening a second store or relocating, so we took this space together and built the wall in between. We’d always fantasized about having our shops next to each other, with a little secret passageway.
E+E: That’s so cute! In a few words, what is the overall theme of the store?
KB: It’s half and half, half antique and half new. I really don’t buy things just because they’re popular or because I think they’re going to sell; I buy stuff that speaks to me. I really like things that have a history and some kind of story behind them.
E+E: Do you feature local designers and artists in the store?
KB: I would definitely like to feature more, but right now we have Jess McCloskey from Paper Treasures, Lyndsay Levy from Luscious Jewelry, Scott Ballard from Two Guitar Cards, and some items from Oblation Papers & Press.
E+E: What is your favorite part about Portland?
KB: I really like that there’s so many local things. There are very few chains; you don’t have to go to a chain for anything. I really like the feeling of community here. It’s a lot stronger than it is in the Bay Area. I have a lot of creative friends here; they all work together and share ideas.
225 NW 11th Ave
Portland, OR 97209
Written by: Lauren Kodiak