If you prefer a wonderland of unexpected treasures to the mall, head for Architectural Antiques of Indianapolis. Dig through bins of salvaged doorknobs in the sprawling shop, or hunt through the outdoor barns and semi trailers, piled high with doors and windows, ironwork, old bathtubs, and much more. The perfect conversation piece for your home might be there right now, rusting in a tangle of weeds. Half the fun is finding it. >> 5000 W. 96th St., 873-2727, antiquearchitectural.com.
Herbal Art owner Brian Paffen is an expert mixologist—he just blends scents instead of 7&7s. His handmade soy votives, which burn for up to 22 hours, come in quirky fragrances like Fig and Olive Oil, Spicy Vanilla Stalk, Natural Bay Leaf, and—giggle alert—Reindeer Poop (actually, it’s pine, evergreen, and balsam). >> 11650 N. Lantern Rd., Ste. 205, Fishers, 418-8227, herbalartonline.com.
It’s easy to walk around REI and feel overwhelmed (and invigorated). Snowshoes greet you at the door, followed by the likes of skis, kayaks, and racks of super-cute workout togs. But where to start? Luckily, the Castleton newcomer for outdoorsy types offers a handy (and cost-effective) rental program, lending two- and four-person tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, and trekking poles to novices. >> 8490 Castleton Corner Dr., 585-1938, rei.com.
While escorting humanitarian trips to developing nations, sisters Kelly and Anne Campbell look for artisan programs to support and grow. Take their work with the Baan Than Namchai Foundation in Thailand. The Campbells provided sewing machines for eight craftspeople and helped set up a workshop, find materials, and create patterns for tote bags, leather passport holders, and other goods—all of which are now sold in their Broad Ripple store, The Village Experience (pictured at left). >> 6055 N. College Ave., 602-3696, experiencethevillage.com.
Plumb-perfect Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery overflows with fine choices for homeowners shopping for waterworks. The tightly packed showroom in the Indiana Design Center displays the latest trends in freestanding tubs by edgy designer Victoria and Albert, contemporary and classic faucets from Axor and Hansgrohe, sleek sinks from Wisconsin-based stalwart Kohler, and more. An extra plus: Lots of natural lighting makes it easier to imagine products in your own home. >> 200 S. Range Line Rd., Carmel, 705-0794.
Rising from the ashes of abandoned Martha Stewart projects and expired Etsy ambitions, Indy Upcycle sells castoff arts-and-crafts materials and—here’s the cool part—lets customers name their own price. (Half off retail is a good place to start, and subtract more for used items, like partial tubes of paint.) Clear bins full of secondhand materials line the walls, organized by pastime—scrapbooking, quilting, drawing, jewelry-making, etc. Load up on yarn, stock a kids’ craft room, and ponder the use of oddities like player-piano parchment scrolls. If your next project doesn’t work out, you know where to donate the supplies. >> 628 S. Range Line Rd., Carmel, 643-2278, indyupcycle.com.
You’ll be shaken and stirred by the chic and nicely priced barware at Surroundings. Smoothly swirled orange and white glass form the generous bowl on a stylish martini vessel, just $16.90, which has a matching shaker. A chiseled aqua glass base supports a clear martini bowl—perfectly suited to either vodka or sorbet. Highballs, lowballs, flutes, wine glasses, goblets, pitchers: An array of eye-pleasing pieces—mostly new but some antique—are sprinkled throughout this rambling midtown emporium. >> 1101 E. 54th St., 254-8883.
BEST GIFT SHOPS
: A spot for everyone, from that choosy mom-in-law to your domestic-goddess pal.
Plush pigs with crinkly ears and rattle feet. Clocks in the shape of pirates and rockets. Poofy tutus. Steve Schwartz makes the most of his narrow Ballerinas and Bruisers, packing adorable outfits and baskets full of quality toys, books, and stuffed animals in every spare space. >> 180 S. Main St., Zionsville, 733-3400, ballerinasandbruisers.com.
Maybe it seems like a given at this point, but Saks Fifth Avenue continues to offer a head-turning selection of soiree-worthy looks, including dozens of flirty (and affordable) cocktail dresses, a whole display devoted to sparkly New Year’s numbers, and elegant, paycheck-sinking gowns from the likes of Dolce & Gabbana and Versace. >> Fashion Mall, 816-0171, saksfifthavenue.com.
You can’t face Indiana’s winters with bare legs. Fortunately, the tights selection at Urban Outfitters ventures far beyond neutral territory with lace, color-blocking, space-dye, pointelle, faux thigh-highs, and pairs with small studs. >> Fashion Mall, 569-0780, urbanoutfitters.com.
Tucked in a new, central Fashion Mall location, Raleigh Limited continues its 40-year tradition of marrying men’s looks both classic and chic—and its shoe section shines with the likes of Salvatore Ferragamo, Mezlan, Donald J. Pliner, Bacco Bucci, and Lloyd. The store’s direct line to designers sweetens the deal: A special order may take only three to four days, sans charge. >> Fashion Mall, 844-1148, raleighlimited.com.
Scarlett O’Hara could easily whip up a ballgown at Drapery Street, and that goes for the standard-size panels as much as the custom beauties with fashiony flourishes like an empire “waist” and pleats. The chic specialty store offers more than a dozen stylish options in its ready-to-hang section—among them, window treatments made from poppy chevron prints, a grid of black crocheted circles, and delicate, raw-edged strips of sheer ivory silk. All are lined and available in lengths of 92, 104, or 112 inches, from $199 to $329 per panel. >> Indiana Design Center, 200 S. Range Line Rd., Carmel, 816-9774, draperystreet.com.
Photos by Tony Valainis
This article appeared in the December 2012 issue.