You may have passed one of these storefronts dozens of times without even realizing it was a shop. Or maybe the sign—if there is a sign—caught your eye, and you wondered what you’d find inside. Ponder no more. Despite their somewhat hidden locations, these boutiques are among the city’s best-kept home-decor secrets. The question becomes: Do you share these discoveries with friends or keep them all to yourself?
This sleek Irvington home store is a tad off the beaten path (Siri swore it was on the left heading north on Ritter Avenue; it’s actually on the right), but we forgave the U-turn upon seeing Inhabit’s gorgeous showroom. The longtime supplier of pretty-to-quirky throw pillows has worked out of the same building for eight years, but the bright and airy retail space filled with modern home furnishings, 3-D wall panels, accessories, and bedding is only eight months old. It’s a smart addition, as it aids in imagining how that shell rocking chair ($176) will look in your office. Be prepared to make some tough decisions, though: The polished piece is available in 13 colors, which is on the low end of the size/color/fabric options for pretty much everything else you’re eyeing. 211 S. Ritter Ave., 317-636-1699, inhabitliving.com
You might not realize there’s anything behind the Nora Corners Chipotle, other than a parking lot. But for a couple of years now, this clandestine spot at 86th Street and Westfield Boulevard has housed KBD Home, an offshoot of the full-service, 5,000-square-foot Kitchens by Design studio two doors down. While KBD Home highlights accent pieces (think bold silk-floral arrangements, sassy tabletop accessories, wall art, and dishware like trays and wine-glass sets), the two showrooms work collaboratively, inspiring customers to put a new face on their spaces with professional consultations and a dizzying list of product lines from craftsmen from Indiana, throughout the U.S., and abroad. Custom Drapery Service joined forces with KBD in 2012; through this partnership, KBD Home fabricates all of its own pillows, bedding, and window treatments. 1540 E. 86th St., 317-815-8880, mykbdhome.com
Ruff Life: Kitchens by Design recently introduced a collection of 13 plush dog beds in three sizes, or you can order a customized perch for your pampered canine.
Shoppers may often pass by Chatham Home without even knowing it. This behemoth of a shop is only one street north of Mass Ave—you can even spot the back of the sage-green building just east of Pizzology. Once you’re in, the only problem is deciding where to look first in the store run by mother-and-daughter award-winning interior designers Faith Felder and Hope Harsin. Throughout the two floors, classic furniture, accessories, and gifts are blended with the unique, like slumped-glass bowls atop teak wood (one serves as a fish tank for the shop betta, Lucky); vintage instruments repurposed as cellphone speakers, created by a local retiree; Indiana maple tables; and personalized lazy susans ($125). Fell in love with a sofa but not the pattern? Harsin can customize it with one of some 800 fabrics. 517 E. Walnut St., 317-917-8550, chathamhomeindy.com
It’s only about a half-mile east of Mass Ave, but the Cottage Home neighborhood where you’ll find The Inventorialist feels worlds away from downtown. Look for a hand-painted sign and wooden steps with the industrial pipe railing and flower-filled window boxes on the 139-year-old Ruskaup building, a red-brick stunner that used to be a grocery store. Just coming off a winter hiatus, owner Kris Bowman keeps the cozy shop filled with an ever-changing mix of unique vintage finds (art-history slides, carnival signage) and a few local items, like wooden “Wow-ler” growler carriers ($30) crafted by two guys from the neighborhood. (Before you head out, hop on Facebook to see Bowman’s latest picks in a collection of beautiful photos.) A Minnesota native, Bowman also stocks screen prints made in Minneapolis; a gold-and-navy map ($25) plotting Indiana’s leading crops and products was created just for the shop. 715 Dorman St., 317-513-7802, facebook.com/theinventorialist
If it’s time to trade up your tatty old placemats and threadbare sheets, seek out Parkside Linen, a cozy, upscale shop tucked into the east side of the boxy Northview Mall shopping center across from North Central High School. Boasting a selection of exquisite textiles and textures that you just have to feel for yourself, Parkside Linen stocks American-made and European-style luxury bedding (lines include Matouk, Ann Gish, Libeco, and Sferra) and cuddle-worthy blankets and towels. Tableware includes colorful cloth napkins and lovely napkin rings, along with a few pewter pieces from Arte Italica and Match. There’s also a smattering of whimsical wedding gifts, like decorative heart-shaped “Mr. and Mrs.” plates ($12.50). The store carries a full selection of fabric-care products from The Laundress to help customers keep their purchases crisp and clean. 1762 E. 86th St., 317-844-6320
We’re No. 1: Parkside Linen was first in Indy to carry Claridge + King, a line of ultra-comfy menswear-inspired tunics, tees, and button-downs for ladies.
Rusted Window Decor & Difts
A new northside addition as of last October, Rusted Window Decor & Gifts nestles into a snug corner location on Carmel Drive just east of Range Line Road. The home-decor inventory, a mix of old and new, gives off a rustic-chic vibe with chandeliers, metal buckets, and chests of drawers, all with an appealing worn-in look. Treats from Just Pop In!, Newfangled Confections, and Best Chocolate in Town lend a local slant. The bestsellers, though, are the Ella B. neighborhood soy candles ($26.95), intoxicatingly scented tributes to Zionsville, Broad Ripple, Meridian-Kessler, and other Central Indiana localities—ideal for housewarming or hostess gifts. Seats for in-store workshops that coach attendees on wedding trends, DIY decor, and how to create and care for floral centerpieces frequently sell out. 99 E. Carmel Dr., Carmel, 317-205-1716, rustedwindow.com
Good to Know: Each Friday, single-stem fresh flowers at Rusted Window are half off, making them about $1.50 to $5 each.
This article appeared in IM Home, a 2015 special publication.