ALTHOUGH HER SHOP bears the definitively clever moniker Noun: A Person’s Place for Things, even owner Stephanie Sheldon admits she can’t quite put a finger on the nature of the merchandise in her year-old business. "I just describe it as part home, part curiosity and part unpretentious things that I love."
Located on a bustling corner of SE Belmont Street, Noun offers a charming mix of vintage and contemporary goods that reflects Sheldon’s lifelong affection for nostalgia-tinged objects. Estate furniture, concrete birdbaths and wrought-iron candelabras mingle with cards by local stationer Egg Press, finger-pinched bowls by ceramicist Gretchen Vaudt and handcrafted jewelry by Seattle’s Emily Baker. Functional antiques such as typewriters and binoculars are popular with customers who share Sheldon’s appreciation for the traditional aesthetic these items bring to a room. That sentiment is embodied by a pink, 1950s-inspired refrigerator that chills drinks for visitors to the Saint Cupcake outpost that’s located within Noun. A sweet aside: The spin-off bakery (and the original Northwest Portland location) are owned by Sheldon’s childhood friend, Jamie Curl, who accompanied Sheldon from Ohio to Oregon a decade ago.
But while Curl’s empire is expanding, Sheldon finds brevity to be the soul of her business wits. "Everyone suggests I open a store called Verb," she says. "But I think I’ll pass."