W1U 2SF London, UK
Ask design-conscious friends in London where they go to find one-of-a-kind gifts, and the first response you are likely to get is Mint. The two-level shop on Wigmore Road has an exquisitely edited selection of furniture and objects, with everything one needs for a stylish home...
And the irregularly shaped space itself -- with its whitewashed brick and stone, charming cubby holes and variously colored walls -- is an inspiration, making artful use of every corner.
The help could be a little more accomodating, and there are foreboding Don't Break the Merchandise or Pay in Full signs everywhere. But the unfailing quality of the goods will put you in a forgiving mood.
- Kristin Hohenadel blogging from rue Vieille du Temple, Paris, France. She can be reached at kristinh @ apartmenttherapy . com