(Back in the sunny Bay Area, Leslie takes us into uncharted waters in her final post. Comment away.)
It's the huge pink brain hanging in the window that first catches your eye.
The owner of Ivan Home, Amornrit Pukdeedamrongrit, says that his store is like his hobby. Although he always wanted to open a shop, he had a comfortable 9-5 job until the dot-com bubble burst. When he lost his job, it seemed like the perfect time to make a store a reality.
There is fun and inspiration everywhere you look in the small space. Numbers and letters, flash cards, classroom charts, anatomical models, glove molds, posters, bus destination blinds, laboratory beakers. Danish modern/50s/60s lamps, tables, chairs, vases, dishes. Amornrit sells what he loves.
He first bought gas price numbers, and when people told him how cool they were, he sold them at flea markets and to shops, and then he kept buying what he liked. Although he says he buys where everyone else does -- Craigslist, eBay, flea markets, garage sales -- he has an eye for the quirky and cool, and a talent for display.
Strung on a wire on one wall are letters forming a line from an Auden poem. Eye charts hang from binder clips.
Amornrit remembers us from a long-ago visit, and an even earlier flea market. It's instantly clear that the reason he has regular customers from shops in Los Angeles, and even Japan, is not only because of the vast variety of items in his store, but his personality.
Ivan Home (named after Amornrit's cat) is open 12-6 Wednesday through Saturday, 12-5 Sunday, but it's wise to call first. Amornrit, who recently completed his architectural studies, is thinking of moving to San Francisco, and combining an architectural firm and a store in one space.
(Ivan Home has since closed.)