If you hadn't noticed yet, South Lake Union is a whole lot more interesting than it used to be.
The neighborhood boasts a Whole Foods Market, a wave of new condo buildings and will soon have a streetcar, and new stores are pouring in as part of the energetic mix.
Home furnishings are a big part of the new retail scene, with local businesses like Velocity Art and Design and Seva Home leaving old locations behind for shiny new showrooms. Other newcomers are adding urban flair to the neighborhood's import staples.
digs took a tour of the area. Here's a list of our favorites, old and new:
901 Harrison St., Seattle
Hours: 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday-Friday; 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
At last! A convenient place to buy a hammer in this neighborhood. This new Ace Hardware store offers tools, faucet fixtures, paint and other basic necessities. It also sells decorative basics, such as angel-food cake pans ($13.79) and even gooseneck table lamps ($26.99).
Though the mustard-yellow exterior is chic, the inside is a classic, functional hardware store.
900 Lenora St., No. 140 (above Whole Foods Market), Seattle
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday
This airy, feminine store carries an assortment of home accessories in delicate colors with modern, graphic designs. It also includes a brightly lit corner filled with indoor plant greenery for condo dwellers, a repotting service ($5-$20) and standards like candles, lotions and jewelry.
There are lovely décor options like a glass terrarium lamp ($360) that can be filled with plants or dried flowers, or quirky hourglasses filled with white or black sand ($22-$26).
The store also carries high-quality cards, frames and a pretty, dotted mother-of-pearl box ($32-$53) perfect for placing on a desk or mantle.
Far Fetched Import Furniture
527 Fairview Ave. N., Seattle
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday;10 a.m.-7 p.m., Thursday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday
Far Fetched specializes in imports, with choices veering between carved Asian sideboards and modern upholstered headboards. Shoppers will find plenty of furnishing options and accessories in the massive showroom, though it helps to know what you're looking for.
The store's main draw is its eclectic imported wood furniture. Consider a dark, carved Chinese screen ($699) or a sideboard from Shandong, China ($720). Pick from popular modern lines like Edo (lounge chair, $579) or a low Chinese cabinet with side carvings for $599.
964 Denny Way, Seattle Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday206-287-1877, www.glennrichards.com
Glenn Richards specializes in Asian antiques such as screens, ceramics and cabinets, with options ranging from high-end elegant to rustic.
The store carries several versions of art deco chairs with simple, curved arms (pair, $3,800-$5,400). There's also a unique, low, red lacquer table with mother-of-pearl accents ($1,200). Wood kamagong stools ($350 each) with dark streaks in the grain are a whimsical seating option or pick a bronze drum with patina ($1,400) as a side table.
900 Lenora St., Suite 116 (above Whole Foods Market), Seattle
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday-Saturday; noon-7 p.m. Sunday
Seva envelops shoppers in luxe fabrics and textures at its new showroom in the 2200 Westlake retail and condo complex. With high-end choices such as a stingray side table or a boucle sofa among its contemporary offerings, Seva is a place to go for inspiration and an occasional splurge.
More affordable offerings are tucked in among the $1,205 lamp and a $5,200 armchair, including a small zebra wood pawn-shaped stool ($375) that works as a side or coffee table, a curvy mustard-hued ceramic table lamp with a fiberglass shade ($190), and the tufted Tommy condo sofa, which starts at $1,580.
217 Yale Ave. N., Seattle
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday
The high design at Urban Beast is ostensibly for pets, but really, it's all about the owners. And pet owners with small spaces and little patience for ugly scratching posts and ho-hum pet beds will be drawn to this boutique's colorful bounty.
Here, you can pick out a square Jax & Bones bed in red with pink polka dots or in brown with pink edging ($82-$168), or recycled fleece-filled Big Shrimpy beds ($40-$160). There are carpet cat scratchers ($59-$109) that can be mounted on the wall like an objet d'art and rubber mats to complement elegant ceramic dishes from Karim Rashid ($34-$44).
Good design also means sensible choices, such as a hooded litter box with a slot for the scoop ($44).
Velocity Art and Design
251 Yale Ave. N., Seattle
Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily
Velocity's new showroom, which opened Friday, increases square footage from the old Belltown space by just 1,000 square feet, but the difference feels immense. Huge windows and an open floor plan allow for new furniture lines and a massive wall display by designer Tord Boontje.
If you have the cash, go for modern yet classic with Moroso's oval black dining table with a floral design ($5,557), whimsical mushroom coffee and side tables ($485-$985), or go eco-friendly with Iannone's recycled wood console with an elegant flower print ($1,900).
The rest of us can still pick up beautiful accessories like Ibride trays with printed faces ($84) or colorful, modern pillows for $60-$100 each.
Nicole Tsong: 206-464-2150 or firstname.lastname@example.org
David Smith & Co.
1107 Harrison St., Seattle
An import store with elegant, solid wood furniture it makes in Indonesia.
Goods for the Planet
525 Dexter Ave. N., Seattle
A mercantile store with an eco-friendly slant that carries kitchen items, stationery, towels and other assorted items. (Read a story about "green" shops that included this store at seattletimes.com/living)
Scraps Dog Bakery
900 Lenora St., No. 120, Seattle
Pamper your pooch with treats or clothes from this dog bakery, or pick from a small selection of beds and bowls.
259 Yale Ave. N., Seattle
A modern, upscale store with baby and toddler furnishings, toys and clothes. (Read about Tottini at seattletimes.com/living)