It was over cheeseburgers and cheap drinks at notorious Memphis dive bar Earnestine & Hazel’s that Melissa Macfarlane and Trent DeBord decided to open Kabinett PDX. The pair had met in Portland through a mutual friend a few years prior, and despite the fact that Macfarlane lives outside Melbourne, Australia (where she launched the first Kabinett store and also runs a hotel and pub), and DeBord works full-time as a senior graphic designer for Powell’s, opening a furniture and home accessories shop with a focus on “democratic design” felt like the right thing to do.
Inside the Central Eastside shop, you’ll find large-scale antiques to anchor a room, elegant vintage barware, houseplants, globally sourced oddities, and a beautiful line of pillows and outdoor furniture Macfarlane and DeBord design for the shop. The modern planters and stands, handmade exclusively for Kabinett, are must-haves. Additional bespoke designs (including a leather recliner) are in the works.
“There will always be vintage because we love that, but we also love a mix,” says DeBord. “We needed to design new [things] that go with the old.”
In 2011, MC Lemay and Allie Rivenbark squeezed two of their custom benches into the back of a convertible and drove from Atlanta to New York City to deliver to a customer. As it happened, the state of New York had just legalized same-sex marriage. “We’re here, let’s get married!” they said.
That spontaneity and love are at the heart of the couple’s furniture shop, LR Design. Though Lemay and Rivenbark met in Atlanta’s vibrant gay community in the early ’90s, they didn’t become a couple (or business partners) until much later. During the years in between, the North Carolina–born Rivenbark took on a variety of creative roles, designing film sets in LA and working in interior design. Quebec native Lemay (MC is short for Marie-Claude) taught herself how to restore furniture as a way to pay the bills after leaving sports physiology. The pair landed in Portland in 2013.
Rivenbark describes LR Design’s aesthetic as “a new, modern feel with rustic appeal.” LR Design built the tables and shelving for Made Here PDX, as well as custom pieces for both Society Hotel locations, Italian restaurant Renata, Nike, the Grafletics stores, Pendleton’s downtown retail space, fried chicken spot Yonder, and new speakeasy Dirty Pretty.
Growing up in Lake Oswego, brothers Dylan and Wesley Harkavy spent their mornings working on homeschool assignments and their afternoons riding skateboards. “Any time there was downtime, we would be like, let’s build something!” says Dylan.
The Harkavys’ first furniture project was a rustic table made as a Mother’s Day gift. Later, when their mom asked for an updated piece, the brothers listed the first table on Craigslist and got an overwhelming response. “We posted that we needed to get rid of it, and people started asking if we could make custom stuff for them,” says Dylan.
On a creative trajectory from an early age, Dylan went to school for photography and was already finding success as a professional photographer. Wesley was enrolled in interior design courses. That unlikely attention for the first table spurred the brothers to launch Harkavy Furniture. Angular wood and metal designs eventually evolved to include leather and canvas slings. (They now collaborate with Portland leather goods company Last.)
“We’ve wrestled with what style our furniture is since we’ve started,” says Dylan. “But we have this weird connection where we don’t need to say words—it’s just grunts and gestures.”