Seattle remodel is Hammer & Hand’s latest collaboration with "junk picker" extraordinaire Sarah Littlefield

Sarah’s Seattle Junk Love brings a hip “down homespun” vibe to interiors and remodels.

Interior designer.  Junk picker.  Hip chick.

Frequent Hammer & Hand collaborator Sarah Littlefield fuses all three personas into her work.  And she’s carved out a great niche for herself and her company Seattle Junk Love – creating interior environments that evoke and pay homage to bygone days, but in a way that feels real and alive.  Simple, no artifice.

We’ve felt an affinity for Sarah and her work since our collaborative project with her building out Kim Malek’s first Salt & Straw location on Portland’s Alberta Street.  Our ethos of upcycling wood and other materials jibes nicely with Sarah’s vibe.  Plus she designs really cool interiors.

We alluded to Sarah’s work here two weeks ago in a Field Notes post about the new Salt & Straw location in Northwest Portland that Hammer & Hand and Seattle Junk Love recently completed.  To achieve Salt & Straw’s trademark “old mercantile” aesthetic there Sarah drew from eclectic sources…

Oblong globe lights from a mid-century-modern Unitarian Universalist Church,
Seattle remodel designed by Junk Love, designer of this commercial remodel in Portland.
photography by bright designlab.

Street vendor chairs from Indonesia,

Seattle Junk Love's commercial remodel work.

A teal table purchased from a guy in a parking lot at a swamp meet,

Seattle Junk Love's commercial remodel work.

And old dairy paraphernalia sourced from throughout the Northwest,

Seattle Junk Love's commercial remodel work.

Church pews from a Lutheran Church in Ballard and a clock from an old railway station outside Dallas. (not pictured)

All of this begs the question, “how do you find all this stuff?”  It’s a question that quickly gets at the nature of Sarah’s work and how she got into it in the first place.  Because you can’t just say, “hey, I need some old Indonesian street vendor chairs for this project, where can I find some?”  It doesn’t work that way.  It takes time and is more process-oriented.  Junk picking is the antithesis of the instant gratification, Amazon-fueled shopping that so many of us have become accustomed to.

“It began as a hobby for me, scouring salvage companies and flea markets,” she told me.  “Then I found myself helping friends find cool pieces for their homes or their new businesses.  Things just sort of took off from there.  Now when I find something interesting I’ll buy it and store it in my garage or basement for a future project or to sell on the blog.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt that my partner loves it too!”

To feed this habit/passion/profession, Sarah travels throughout the Northwest a lot, checking out an auction here, an estate sale there, a favorite antique store in that far-flung little town, junk shops in another.  Place and history infuse everything.

For our commercial remodel project on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, Sarah will draw from her store of “picked junk” a bit, but also from a number of directed picking trips that she took specifically for this project to find the perfect pieces for the client and her unique new business.  Mum’s the word right now on the details of this Seattle remodel…  It’s a groovy project for a groovy new business, and we’re eager to share more when the time is right!

Next on tap for Sarah is an urban mercantile grocery, also on Capitol Hill, that will feature highly curated local foods and fancy wares, a la San Francisco’s Bi-Rite Market.  But lest you think Sarah only does commercial work, she also does lots of residential interior design and directed picks.  (P.S.  Also check out her Seattle Junk Love blog where you can peruse and purchase cool found objects.)

Please stay tuned for more about our Seattle commercial remodel collaboration…

– Zack (Connect with me at +ZacharySemke)

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