Raleigh, N.C. — Last Friday night, I checked out Port of Raleigh, a "newish" downtown shop. They opened about eight months ago at 416 S. McDowell Street in downtown Raleigh - just a hop, skip and a jump away from Poole’s Diner.
The people of Port of Raleigh describe the store as a place for design and wanderlust enthusiasts, and I found that to be accurate.
My first impression of the shop was that it looked very light, modern and inviting. As I made my way around the shop and checked out the merchandise more closely, I found that most items were very sleek and simple in design and monotone in color.
At the same time, a lot of the products looked like pieces of art. If you appreciate designs that are functional and high quality but that also look great, then you will like Port of Raleigh. It's a great stop for unique gifts as well as for home goods like pottery and bedding.
Take for example the Lucano step stools, made by Hasegawa. From afar, they look like pieces of furniture you would want to leave out rather than hide in a closet.
Shop owner Ana Maria Muñoz explained that she chose to stock these for the shop for their functionality as well as for their simple beauty. The finished product? A functional piece that also looks great standing on full display.
One of my favorite things were the mechanical pencils. I’m a longtime mechanical pencil fan and use them daily, so this caught my eye. These look much like standard wooden lead pencils, but they’re mechanical and just as light as standard pencils.
Another item I fell in love with were the towel hooks. They are made of an Icelandic stone which has the texture of a pumice stone. The gritty texture ensures that no towel will ever slip off. Isn’t it the worst after you get ready in the morning, hang your towels and return home that evening to find your damp towels on the floor? Not anymore.
Something else that I liked a lot was the incense paper. It’s a French product made by Papier d'Arménie. These scented sheets of paper, stored together in one small booklet, are intended to be burned in order to scent and disinfect the home. They can also be used without burning to add some fragrance to clothing drawers and storage boxes or other small spaces.
Ana Maria assured me that a single sheet goes a long way. I believe that, because as soon as I picked up a booklet without having yet opened it, I could smell the sweet fragrance.
Last but not least was the furniture. Flitch Furniture is a Raleigh-based company whose products are available exclusively at Port of Raleigh. They make beds, benches and modular furniture. You really have to see it and feel in person. It's serious craftsmanship in all of its simplicity, and they had me at the soft-close drawers. Just like everything else in the store, these were functional pieces - both simple in design and beautiful to look at.
Some other items in the shop include beautiful wooden trays, journals, notepads, magnets, coasters, kitchen towels, print art and more. There’s also a small clearance section that is worthy of checking out for some nice savings.
Meg Smigielska is a blogger at Meg Here & There.