Around Town is all about celebrating the details and finding things that say Y-O-U. One way we tend to do that is through our homes and through the shops where we hunt for home.

On the Hunt & Home part of the site, you’ll find lots of Philly interiors that are full of unique things. I’m proud to say that a lot of those things were found in our very own city at our very own Philly-born JINXED.

JINXED is a retail brand comprised of five stores that sell vintage decor, housewares and t-shirts while also supporting underground artists and small businesses in the Philly area. What sets them apart is their unconventionally fairly priced vintage and their cool-yet-not-too-cool shop attitude!

In addition to the shops JINXED also sells some pieces daily through Instagram. If you don't follow them already, you should check them out! You never know when that perfect piece will pop up. Just act quickly, because they sell immediately.

S H O P  T A L K

On the eve of the official opening of their FIFTH storeGrand Opening this Saturday, Dec. 12th, from 12-8PM @4521 Baltimore Ave, West Philly- I met up with the Philly born shop-owner, Mike Supermodel, to talk about the evolution of the business.

The first thing I asked him was how he wound up with five stores, most of which opened in just the past few years. His response: “things happen by accident- but, not really.”

Okay, I thought. Please explain...

U N E X P E C T E D  B E G I N N I N G S

When Mike bought JINXED in 2004 it was a t-shirt company and the original store was on 4th street, just south of South street.

I was in high school at the time, and what I remember is an obscure little shop with lots of street-style art and in-your-face-shirts. I also remember Mike being a little intimidating, but no furniture to speak of. Then the recession hit and South Street, along with most of the stores on it, kind of trailed off.

At that point, JINXED shifted its focus to going to Tattoo Conventions where Mike continued to sell shirts. Through that scene, he also met a few other business owners who eventually asked him to share a retail space. And so, the JINXED store at the Piazza in Northern Liberties was born.

But when the other renters sharing the storefront ultimately decided to move on to other things, Mike was left with a big space and not a lot to fill it. Not wanting to close the store, he hit the streets to try to come up with a plan.

Where he wound up was at the intersection of Kensington and Allegheny, probably one of the gnarliest drug corners in Philly at the time. But, what he found there wasn't what anyone might expect.

In Philly, especially in the deep pocket neighborhoods farther from downtown, you'll often find furniture being sold on the street. K and A, in particular, was usually host to "clean-out guys" gutting houses and looking to make a buck off of someone's unwanted stuff. Mike? He saw it, he realized he could sell it, and then he hooked a boat trailer and some plywood up to his two-door Ford Explorer and loaded it all up.

Then, without jacking the price up too much, he sold it.

And so, not quite on purpose and not quite by mistake, JINXED became the JINXED that you see today.

But, even with access to all these unique pieces, you won't find any of it at Mike's house. "Selling this stuff," he says, "it changes the way you live." Because, if there's anything he's learned from selling vintage, it's that there's no point in holding on to anything. 'Cause at the end of the day, "this is just all of the stuff that won't fit in the coffin."


M O R E  T H A N  J U S T  D E C O R

There are two other things that I love about JINXED and both have to do with communities that JINXED supports. One is the community of artists and the other is the community of business owners.

Perhaps what's so awesome is that you can tell that JINXED has a real relationship with both.

Take the relationship with the art world, for example. JINXED does something a lot of retail owners fail at, which is keeping things exclusive and accessible.

 In other words, you can find art at JINXED that you might not see anywhere else. But anyone can see it or buy it, and they can do so without the usual gallery attitude that goes with it. I'm not a particularly art-savvy person, so I can really appreciate that! And the artists who just want to get out there, I'm sure they appreciate that too.

Gush Gallery presents Double Dutch by Kate Harrold. See more of her city-inspired manipulated digital photography at the JINXED Grand Opening on Saturday 12/12 from 12-8PM @ 4521 BALTIMORE AVE, West Philly. www.kateharrold.com

But, what I love most about JINXED is that it's from Philly and that it's part of our little city circle of life.

In fact, a few years ago- before I had ever formally met Mike or really knew much about the store- I ran into a friend who jokingly was making fun of me for seeing me there so often. At the time, I was a little embarrassed. But years later, I'm glad I'm still doing just that.

When I shop at JINXED I know that I'm supporting a small business. And more importantly, I know that they are supporting other local businesses too.

Take, for example, this weekend's JINXED West Philly Store Grand Opening. In addition to the artwork shown above by Kate Harrold, you'll also find Philly-based Little Baby's Ice Cream. They'll be there with a special JINXED "Box Truck" flavor. And if you attend this weekend's event, you'll get to be a part of the community and support all three.

And that is a detail of city living that's really worth celebrating.


GRAND OPENING - Saturday Dec. 12th, 12-8PM @ 4521 BALTIMORE AVE

Featuring Artwork by KATE HARROLD, Curated by GUSH GALLERY

Finding the Old, Unique and Unusual

I met Megan and Tommy for the first time through mutual friends at The Race of Gentleman earlier this year. When I saw photos of Megan's home pop up in my Instagram feed, I didn't just start following her because we had mutual friends. She has an eye for photographing just about anything - from landscapes to interiors, to all the little knick knacks she has found in between. So as soon as I got the blog up and running, I asked her to shoot her and Tommy's place.

I will say that I was a little nervous because I've never shot a home I haven't been to in the past. But, they did not disappoint! My favorite element of their place is the lighting and the contrast that it creates.

Q: You are originally from New Orleans, what brought you to Philly?
Megan: I moved to Philly to be with my boyfriend, Tommy. It was never a city I considered living in, but I'm glad I did it. Pennsylvania is awesome.

Q: When you were home-hunting, what did you and Tommy look for and why?
Megan: Initially, we just wanted a place of our own after living with his roommates for a while. I was definitely more picky about the house than he was. I've lived in so many places, and with each new apartment or house you tend to acquire more stipulations for the next. I won't budge on a yard, washer/dryer, hardwood floors, and bathtub. 

Q: Now that you are all settled in, what do you love most about your home? What was your biggest challenge/surprise?
Megan: I don't have any particular favorite things about the house itself. I mean, I'm really glad that some of the original doors were kept, I like the banister, and the fact that the bathroom isn't too small. The folks that renovated the house did a lot of stuff that I'm not too crazy about. For example, they covered up the entire fireplace/chimney, the overhead lights aren't all lined up with the right architectural features of the room, the kitchen is awkwardly designed, etc. My favorite thing about our home is how we navigate the more troublesome aspects of it. The biggest challenge was deciding how to arrange the living room. There isn't a single good wall to put a couch against, which had a domino effect with the rest of our furniture. I think we did the best we could given the space.

Q: You have so many trinkets, photos and mementos. Where did they all come from and what inspired you to collect them? Which piece is most special to you?
Megan: I've always had an affinity for collecting anything old and unusual, books, and things found in nature. A good deal of what I have came from searching thrift and antique stores, whether in Louisiana or just traveling. An even bigger portion of what I own has come from where I work, Jinxed. Prior to moving to Philly, I had a lot of stuff. I had a bunch of cool old books, photos, and ephemera. However, working at Jinxed definitely allowed me to obtain more of what I sought out because I'm immersed in it on a regular basis. It's also made me a much choosier person. You see the same stuff come in day after day and you start to realize that it's not as rare as you once thought it was. That's why my favorite things (I can't choose just one) are my photos and any hand-written notes and letters. They capture unique moments and emotions.

Q: If you guys decide to own one day, what would your dream home absolutely include and why?
Megan: A throne room? I don't know, it's tough! We would love to buy something soon. My dream home would absolutely have a grass yard (none of this concrete slab nonsense), a ton of original fixtures and details, high ceilings, a big kitchen, and a garage. I'm torn between a castle and a Victorian mansion, but either will do. 

What's what: The shelf that my shoes are on is made from an old table with the legs taken off. I found the framed portrait of the woman (in the dining room) in a Catholic thrift store in Louisiana. They were hesitant to sell it to me because they felt it was inappropriate, but I convinced them to. I've seen the image before, but I have no idea who made it. The eerie framed photo of the old man (Uncle John) came from Jinxed and there is an accompanying photo of a church. In that one you can faintly see Uncle John standing in front of the church. I love those two photos so much. The portrait of a woman reading (in the curio cabinet) was also part of that set. They're three of my absolute favorites! My coffee table is special to me because my dad made it. Even though it doesn't perfectly go with the rest of our furniture, I'll always use it. It makes a great bench, too! Since I didn't take much large stuff with me when I moved to Philly, most of our other furniture is from Jinxed.

Megan is computer science major, lover of the Middle Ages, and vintage slinger at JINXED. Tommy loves wrestling, music, and works in the film industry. In their spare time, they both like to explore and go on adventures with their dog, Stella.

Follow Megan and Tommy on Instagram: @meganacosta & @tommymanson

Jim and Kelli Bought A House!

Jim and Kelli are two  friends who also live in Philly and ride. They also just got married and took on a huge DIY project! They're renovating / revamping their newly bought home.

Right now they live in a small but picturesque, trinity-style South Philly home with fresh white everything and two cute little pups.

Naturally, their new place is completely different. It's a big, three-bedroom, two bathroom house with a huge by-city-standards backyard and lots of light. It's the perfect framework for a beautiful home. But, there's a ton of work to be done. In other words, the house was uninhabitable (by their standards) when they decided they would buy it.

Q: What did you absolutely love about the house when you saw it / what made you cringe? What was the biggest surprise?

Kelli: We were the one and only couple to see this home the day of showing due to crazy circumstances and sheer luck. It was 10 degrees outside and we were the only guys to stick it out in the cold to wait for the owner. We got in and I was immediately STOKED on how tall the ceilings were, and how spacious the entire house felt. The real fall-in-love moment was when we saw the large enclosed patio, and backyard with evergreen trees!

The scariest part? The house was very, very, lived in. Lots of smoke damage, carpet, vinyl, more carpet, and I'd say close to nothing had been updated in the past 15 years. I'm talking drop ceiling with florescent lights, lipstick kisses from who knows when on the doorframes, and faux wood paneling from the 70s. Everywhere. 

Kelli: The biggest surprise would have to be, of course, the floors. Before we closed on the house, we had no idea what was underneath that vinyl and carpet. The actual moment we got the keys we ran back to tear up the corners and voila, hardwood in every room. Hell yeah. We had it professionally sanded and sealed. When I saw them finished, I almost cried of happiness. That's when I knew my house was gonna rule.



Q: What do you feel has been the biggest accomplishment thus far and what is the next project that you're taking on?

Kelli: We're really just getting into it. It's been a whirlwind of trying to tackle big things, small things, prioritizing, packing, and then living our day to day lives on top of that. I'd say our biggest accomplishment so far is being able to work together as a team without losing it! It can feel overwhelming at times, but we're staying positive :) 

The bedroom, being completely gutted for renovation.

The bedroom, being completely gutted for renovation.

Kelli: Our biggest project is the kitchen at the moment. We don't have the dollars for a real deal renovation, so we're working with what we've got (painting the cabinets) and replacing the worst of it (countertops and backsplash!)

Before painting the cabinets....

Before painting the cabinets....

Future countertops.... Tile backsplash to come!

Future countertops.... Tile backsplash to come!

Q: What is your favorite space in the house and where do you see yourself spending most of your time?

Kelli: Every time we take a break from tearing down paneling, painting walls, or bagging up debris, we sit out on the patio, drink a beer, split a cheesesteak, and take a minute to breathe and enjoy the Spring weather. I can already tell it's going to be the best spot in our home, the part we fell in love with when we first walked in!

They plan to keep the trees and replace the faux-grass with some ceramic tiles.

They plan to keep the trees and replace the faux-grass with some ceramic tiles.

Sneak Peek: Their living room is coming along nicely.

What's what: Cabinet hutch and chair from JINXED. Ice Cream Cone Planter from Etsy. Concrete planter and plant from City Planter.

Kelli is a Jr. Artwork Consultant at Printfresh Studio and previously worked at Jinxed in Philadelphia as the GM. Jim works with me at RevZilla as the Contact Center Manager.

Follow them on Instagram: @shinyalien & @the_dusters

Obligatory photo of their rescue pups, Tiki and Frisco.

A Cozy Cave

Q: A woman's bedroom is a very personal place. How would you describe yours?

Tracy: I’d say the overall theme in my bedroom is cozy Mexican Cave. I like the use of vibrant color and romantic imagery in Mexican culture that manages to be bold yet not overly feminine. When I shop for home, I’m instantly drawn to things that are unique and I like the challenge of making it fit into my space instead of shopping with the theme in mind. My space is also filled with small trinkets and photographs from family and friends. I’m constantly inspired by the people in my life and I like to think my personal style is embedded with little pieces of each of them.

Q: Your bedroom is half underground, what issues have you had to work around?

Tracy: I had a few issues with the space that I had to work around; mainly the carpeting and also a strange cement wall that made the room look even more sterile when it was empty. Still, I think I’m managing to fill it with items that make it feel warm with a little creativity and strategic decorating.

Q: Which part of your room are you most fond of?

Tracy: My favorite part of the room is the accessories counter within a built-in bookcase. I've had an affinity for costume jewelry my whole life and when trying to figure out what to do with the bookcase, I took the opportunity to put some of my collection on display.

Q: Did anyone inspire your knack for decorating? If so, who?

Tracy: I think I was inspired by you, Alessandra! I always liked gawking at beautiful spaces but always assumed it had to cost a fortune to make my own space that beautiful. As we became friends, I spent more and more time in homeware sections of my favorite stores when we went shopping. Now, I think I look forward to hunting for home more than clothing shopping.

Q: If you could build your dream home tomorrow, what is the one thing it would undeniably include?

Tracy: It would have to have a porch with a tiled floor and a hammock surrounded by lots of greenery! My favorite part of visiting family in Puerto Rico was laying on my godmother's hammock on her porch, right under a Quenepa tree. If I could just get a Quenepa tree to grow in Philadelphia, it would be a dream home for sure.

What's what: Anthro-inspired duvet and sheet sets from Target. Ivory throw, elephant hook and rabbit vase from Anthropologie. String of butterflies, Frida painting and bird shelf from Eyes Gallery. Desk, chair, wicker baskets and trunk from IKEA. Red rose night table from a thrift-shop on Mt. Carmel Ave in Glenside PA. Rose mirror and framed corazon print from JINXED.

Tracy is a Philadelphia resident who was born in Puerto Rico but raised by her Mexican mother. She currently works for Project Home, an organization that seeks to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty in Philadelphia.

Follow Tracy on Instagram @cunting_season

Happy Home

After living in an overpriced shoebox in Queens Village, a bug-ridden house in Graduate Hospital and a tiny  efficiency Downtown, the space that we now have in Fairmount is a breath of fresh air.

Last May, I threw a birthday bash for my boyfriend and our friend Mac sent us some photos that he took while visiting our home. Our apartment is definitely a work in progress, but this photo (and all of the empty space in it) makes me happy.

What's what - Coffee Table and Horns from Jinxed, Couch and IKAT pillow from IKEA, Mexican Blanket Pillow from Eyes Gallery, Side Tables from the Franklin Flea, Chunky Throw from West Elm. Lamps inherited from Tracy's sweet Grandma