Yes, it’s in a barren, out-of-the-way area in what feels like the middle of nowhere, but Schoolhouse Electric and Supply Co. is most certainly worth the trek out to Portland’s NW Industrial District. Housed in a beautiful century-old warehouse building on Nikolai Street, the home furnishings store and showroom is also home to one of Ristretto Roasters‘ three locations-and by far its best-looking.
The sleek cafe sits just through the building’s front entrances and was designed by Accelerated Development, the same firm that designed Coava Coffee’s original location. The design reflects the early-20th-century industrial American aesthetic of Schoolhouse: the seating is built on top of sturdy old yellow and blue file cabinets, and repurposed metal and wood decorate the coffee counter. The hanging lamps, naturally, are by Schoolhouse Electric, and old-growth wood beams, exposed brick, and a large black-and-white photo of the St. John’s bridge tie everything together.
Once you get your coffee, you’re welcome to wander through the showroom and take a seat at the Design Library, an area fitted with a lounge, a roomy communal table, and a vault full of design books and periodicals for guests to use.
Sitting down to a book in the lounge over a cappuccino and croissant is one of my favorite perfect ways to spend an hour or two in Portland.