What is Ideal?

Ideal is a carefully curated shop composed of unique, design-conscious gifts and accessories. The objects we choose are creative, authentic, and refined. They are inspired by the vision of talented artists and designers from around the world.

Our store was formed with our own ideal in mind: that shopping should always be a personal and thoughtful experience.

Enjoy our blog and please come visit our shop in beautiful, downtown Bellingham. If you can't make it in, we take orders over the phone - just call (360-752-5522) or e-mail info@anidealshop.com.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Extended Holiday Hours!

Starting Monday, December 14 we will be open later in the evening to help you with your holiday shopping.

  • December 14 - 19 (Monday - Saturday), 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • December 20 (Sunday), 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • December 21 - 23 (Monday - Wednesday), 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • December 24 (Thursday), 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

We're happy to offer unique suggestions for everyone on your list. Visit us for great gifts of good design!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Shop Where Your Heart Is

y Thanksgiving! November has been an exciting month at Ideal, with shipments from our summer New York trip arriving weekly. We are busy rearranging and getting the store looking festive for holiday shopping. Rest assured there are many new beautiful objects of good design for people of all ages and interests.

Starting Friday, November 27, we are participating in Downtown Bellingham Partnership's Shop Where Your Heart Is, a week-long series of holiday events encouraging shoppers to support Bellingham's unique, local stores. Pick up a passport, collect stamps from all participating shops, and you will be entered into a raffle with dozens of great prizes. Please visit us during the week of November 27 - December 4 to have your passport stamped and check out what's new in the shop.

Here's to a happy, healthy holiday season. Our heartfelt thanks to you for supporting our locally-owned business.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Art Walk, November 6 - Form Function by Jason Morris

Join us Friday night as we feature two screenings of Jason Morris's short film "Form Function." Jason is Associate Professor of Industrial Design at Western Washington University. His film follows 12 WWU students through a design process from start to finish, with fascinating results.

In Jason's words:

This short film shows a design process that begins with abstract form creation and ends with unique and fantastic designs of furniture, vehicles and spaces. Twelve selected projects are exhibited from the industrial design students at Western Washington University from March 2009. It is highly visual and dreamlike, with no dialogue and an ambient soundtrack by Moby. (9 minutes running time)

Screenings will be at 8 and 8:30 pm. Jason will be on hand to answer questions about the project. We'd love to see you!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Objectified Film Screening Next Weekend

We are happy to co-sponsor screenings of Gary Hustwit's great documentary, Objectified, next weekend at the Pickford Cinema. Showings will be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (October 2,3 & 4) at 2pm. Here's a blurb about the film from its site, www.objectifiedfilm.com :

Objectified is a feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them. It’s a look at the creativity at work behind everything from toothbrushes to tech gadgets. It’s about the designers who re-examine, re-evaluate and re-invent our manufactured environment on a daily basis. It’s about personal expression, identity, consumerism, and sustainability.
Through vérité footage and in-depth conversations, the film documents the creative processes of some of the world’s most influential product designers, and looks at how the things they make impact our lives. What can we learn about who we are, and who we want to be, from the objects with which we surround ourselves?

We are co-sponsoring this film with WWU's Industrial Design program. Before each screening, Professor Jason Morris will be screening his short film, Form Function. In this film he shows an industrial design creative process that starts with abstract sculpture and ends with a functional object. Junior class ID students and their work from January to April 2009 are featured so you may see some familiar Bellingham faces.


Join us for a matinee! We'd love to see you there.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cooper-Hewitt Exhibition

While in NYC for the gift fair, we had the pleasure of visiting the lovely Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. An excellent exhibition, called Design for a Living World, is on display until January. Ten leading designers were commissioned to develop new uses for sustainably grown materials. Their stories demonstrate the power of responsible design. If you will be in the New York area before January, be sure to check it out.


We also have a copy of the exhibition catalogue in the shop if you want to stop by and have a look.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Select Summer Items 20% Off!

Stop by and nab any of these great objects you may have been eyeing this summer:

Flowie "Sweet Candy" handbags, previously $52.00 - now $44.80:

Designer: Yaling Hou

Material: 100% cotton twill
Dimensions: 12" x 8"
Price: $44.80

Available in red, orange, and blue.

Yaling Hou designs these lovely fabrics as well as the bags. Fully lined with a zipper closure and three interior pockets.

Chilewich Beach Totes, previously $70.00 - now $56.00:

Designer: Sandy Chilewich
Material: Woven vinyl
Dimensions:Approx. 20" x 13"
Price: $56.00

Available in Aqua/Green stripe or Brown/Black stripe

These super-sturdy totes are great for the beach, pool, or market. Vinyl material wipes clean and resists water.

Sagaform Bucket Grill, previously $38.00 - now $30.40:

Designer:Jon Eliason

Material: Stainless steel
Dimensions: Approx. 11" diam. x 8.5" h
Price: $30.40

It's still barbeque season! This mini grill is great for the beach or boat. Legs and handle fold up for easy storage.

Also on sale:

*Sagaform 4-piece BBQ Tool Set (teak), previously $40.00 - Now $32.00

*Ex49 Apron Belts, previously $17.95 - Now $14.36

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New York, New York

A quick post to say we're back from the gift show, energized by all we saw! Great new designs from all over the globe - we're especially excited about Lexon (France) and Saikai (Japan). Also a fun kids' line from the Netherlands (Kids on Roof). Lots more that we'll detail later, but expect to see new objects arriving in the shop almost weekly from mid-September through early November.

Along with finding new designers, we had the pleasure of connecting with many whom we already represent: Marimekko, Areaware, fatboy, Eloquent Ink, Teroforma, Mon Bijou, Chilewich, Modern Twist, and k Studio to name a few. It was nice to speak face-to-face rather than on the phone or via e-mail.

More postings coming soon, once we get caught up in the shop!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Downtown Bellingham Partnership Interview

Downtown Bellingham Partnership interviewed Lisa last week about the shop and Art Walk. Check us out on Youtube:


We had a great turnout last Friday for the Art Walk. Thanks to everyone who came out to see Heidi's work. We'll feature her prints in the shop through the month of August.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

August Art Walk - Heidi Dikeman

Heidi Dikeman
Brown (from Crayola® Series)
Xerox Lithograph on Paper

We are honored to feature the prints of Heidi Dikeman in the shop during the month of August. Join us for the Downtown Art Walk on Friday, August 7 from 6 to 10 pm to meet the artist and enjoy her work. Heidi lived in Bellingham for 14 years and her talents in graphic design and branding are well-known around town. A year ago, she moved to Maine and has since been exploring printmaking and other visual arts. We'll be featuring her Crayola® Series in the shop, in which she undertakes a complex study of the colors from a box of crayons circa 1949. Here's what she says about this series:

"Coming to art through graphic design, I came to graphic design through art as well. This Crayola® Series combines my two worlds through the color study of Crayola® Crayons No. 48 circa 1949. I took the 48 colors, matched them with the Pantone® Process Color Library, took the CMYK (cyan/magenta/yellow/black) process build into Photoshop,® and then decreased the DPI (dots per inch) for print. The color formula was then printed as separations in the typical structured pattern. This color dot layering is what makes up most color printed materials. These “separations” are then printed similarly to offset printing but instead with the paper lithography technique. Same color build, same affect, but with a magnified dot pattern and the human touch - less perfect.

Why Crayola®? My previous art has often been more nostalgically based. This box of 48 crayons was found in my grandmother’s attic in Maine, the state I now call home after living in Bellingham, Washington for 14 years. This box of crayons has helped me produce a more abstract collection of work. Though of course who isn’t “taken back” immediately upon smelling a crayon to those rainy afternoons trying to stay within the lines of their favorite coloring book? Nostalgia seems unavoidable in this case. My interest also lies in the history of Crayola® Crayons and how their colors, and especially the color names, follow social trends. In 1962 flesh was changed to peach as Crayola® recognized that there was a variety of skin colors amongst their clientele. Fluorescent colors were introduced in 1972 and so on."

We hope to see you out and about during Downtown Art Walk. Thank you for supporting local businesses!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

kltworks - Mount Vernon, WA

Holding an MFA in Fine Art from The School of Visual Arts in New York City, Kristin Loffer Theiss's artistic background allows her to approach her products with a painter’s eye - being concerned with color, texture, and form. Her children’s collection comes from her love of humor, curiosity, and an appreciation of a child’s creative spirit. All toys are handmade at her studio in Mt. Vernon, WA.

Featured Objects

Plush Animals - Cats, owls, snails, and several birds available

Materials: Wool felt and cotton, stuffed with fine polyfil. Lined with cotton.
Dimensions: Sizes vary. Most animals approx. 13" tall
Price: $40

Northwest Slug Loveys

Materials: Polar tec, organic fleece and cotton
Dimensions:10" x 4" x 3"
While not everyone thinks of a slug to be cozy, these little guys are an exception. They fit just right in the arms of your little one, and offer up comfort & companionship. Easily washable.
Available in gray (Sid), olive green (Avery), turquoise (Klaas) or lime green (Dafne).

Monday, June 15, 2009

First Anniversary Party and Sale - June 20!

Come and celebrate our first birthday with us! We're having a party in the shop on Saturday, June 20 from 10 am – 6 pm. The gathering also kicks off our first Anniversary Sale, with selected items in stock discounted 20%.

The sale runs from June 20 through July 20 but come early to get first dibs on objects of good design. The sale includes selected objects from dozens of designers, including Fatboy lounge bags, Acme Studio, NotNeutral, Areaware, and many more.

The first twenty customers to spend $20 will receive a complimentary gift, and we will be serving frosty root beer floats throughout the day.

Hope to see you Saturday!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sandy Chilewich - New York, NY

In her New York based design studio, Sandy Chilewich continues to discover ways to push textiles beyond their comfortable and sometimes monotonous context. Her woven vinyl, which has become her signature textile for tabletop, floormats and bags, is currently available in a wide selection of weaves and colors. Sandy’s passion is finding underutilized, often overlooked manufacturing techniques, and from them produce fresh, modern textiles.

Designed in New York, made in the USA.

Featured Products:

Shag Indoor/Outdoor Mats

Designer: Sandy Chilewich
Materials: Vinyl
Dimensions: Doormat - 18 x 28"; Utility Mat - 24 x 36"; Big Mat - 36 x 60"
Price: Doormat - $50.00; Utility Mat - $70.00; Big Mat - $155.00

Indoor/outdoor mats are equally at home indoors or outdoors, so liven up an entryway, bathroom or deck knowing that they're washable, quick to dry and resistant to mold and mildew. Please note that stripes run horizontally on doormats and big mats, and vertically on utility mats. Available in a variety of colors and stripes - call 360-752-5522 for more information. Shown above are bold stripe, mushroom stripe, and tangerine stripe.

Bamboo Weave Placemats

Designer: Sandy Chilewich
Materials: Vinyl
Dimensions: 14 x 19"
Price: $13.00 each

These lovely placemats are easy to care for - simply wipe them clean. The bamboo weave has a well-defined simplicity within its subtle textural weave that combines modern practicality with a serene Asian sensibility. Available in a variety of colors - call 360-752-5522 for more information. Shown above are Brick, Grey Flannel, and Lawn.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Teroforma - Norwalk, CT

Anna and Andrew Hellman of Teroforma set out to make thoughtfully designed objects for the table by orchestrating collaborations between a new generation of designers and some of the world's finest artisan-manufacturers. To date, they have created collaborations between 22 designers and artisans representing 14 different countries, 13 different languages, and 12 different time zones.

Featured Objects:

Set of Eight Whiskey Stones

Designer: Andrew Hellman, United States
Dimensions: 7/8"
Material: Soapstone
Price: $16.50, set of eight stones

As Teroforma co-founder Andrew Hellman points out, "some drinks need no diluting." Working with Vermont Soapstone (USA), Whiskey Stones are the perfect way to chill your next single malt just a touch without watering things down.

Avva Lens Tumbler

Designer: Thea Mehl, Norway; mouthblown in Czech Republic
Dimensions: 2-1/2" tall; 8 fl. oz.
Material: mouthblown non-lead crystal. Dishwasher safe.
Price:$25.00 each

The wide mouth and short profile make the Avva perfect for small quantities of high-quality whiskey. Polished by hand using a Japanese optical lens compound.

Oyyo Small Tumbler

Designer: Jan Knotec, Czech Republic
Dimensions: 3-1/2" tall: 10 fl. oz.
Material: mouthblown non-lead crystal. Dishwasher safe.
Price: $25.00 each

Subtle curves and flow in mouthblown, non-lead crystal. Made using traditional techniques without relying on lead - a small concession for the environment for a more considerate result. Dishwasher safe.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Marimekko - Finland

We've just received our first spring shipment from Marimekko and the beautiful colors are helping us get through these last few weeks of Northwest winter.

Founded in 1951 by visionary textile designer Armi Raitia and her husb
and, Viljo, Marimekko grew from a small textile-printing firm into an international phenomenon. From its beginnings as a textile design company, Marimekko branched out into everything from toys to dinnerware to architecture, becoming something a lifestyle brand in the 1960s and 70s. The company’s outstanding designers revolutionized modern printed fabrics and fashion.

Marimekko was made famous in the United States when Jacqueline Kennedy bought eight cotton dresses which she wore throughout the 1960 US Presidential campaign. Today the company continues to collaborate with young artists, encouraging experimentation. The result is spirited, non-traditional patterns and vivid colors.

Featured Objects:

Kippis Tray

Designer: Maija Louekari
Materials: Fabric/plywood
Dimensions:43 x 33 cm.
Price: $55.00

Unikko Apron for Adults

Designer: Maija Isola
Materials:100% cotton
Price: $42.00

Available in red or blue. We also have the red style in kid-size, $20.00

Metsanvaki tray

Designer: Kristina Isola
Materials: Plywood
Dimensions: 27 x 20
Price: $28.00

Kauris Bag

Pattern Design: Sanna Annukka
Materials: 100% lightweight
cotton canvas
Dimensions: 35 x 30 x 11 cm.
Price: $75.00

Iltapaiva Umbrella

Pattern Design: Erja Hirvi
Materials: 100% polyester
Dimensions: 56 x 112 cm.
Price: $44.00

Purnukka Apron (garcon style)

Designer: Erja Hirvi
Materials: 100% cotton
Dimensions:118 x 95 cm.
Price: $60.00

Kanteleen Kutsu Tea Towels (set of two)

Designer: Sanna Annukka

Materials: Linen/Cotton
Dimensions: 47 x 70 cm.
Price: $25.00, set of two

Additional Objects from Marimekko

The following are also available in a changing selection of patterns:

  • Handbags
  • Coin purses
  • Plywood/fabric trays
  • Tea towel sets
  • Oven mitts
  • Mugs
  • Bibs
  • Cards
  • Memory games
  • Scarves

Images copyright (c)2009 Marimekko Corporation. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

normann-copenhagen - Denmark

Founded by Poul Madsen and Jan Andersen in 1999, normann-copenhagen launched its first product in 2002. Since then, more than 38 products followed, as well as collaborations with established design names and new talents from around the world. Honored with numerous international design awards, normann-copenhagen continues is mission to challenge convention and reinvent the everyday to make even the ordinary extraordinary through great design.

Featured Objects

Cognac Glass

Designer: Rikke Hagen, 2004
Material: Glass
Price: $60.00/set of two

As designer Rita Hagen explains, "I wanted the glass to give the user a feeling of a gentleman's study and at the same time a sense of the calmness when you fondle a stone. The stem kept irritating me. I took the consequence and cut it off."

Woofy Computer Cord Holder

Designer: Gabriel Nigro
Material: Hardened plastic
Dimensions: 30 x 47 x 19.7 cm.

Gabriel Nigro was inspired to design Woofy in order to help a friend who had problems with messy computer cables. Simply tuck cords inside Woofy to tame your cable mess.

Grass Vases

Material: Stoneware
Dimensions: 7" tall; small vase has one tube, large has two
Small vase, $63.00; Large vase, $83.00

The Grass Vase is a lovely testament to spring. "Claydies" are the duo Karen Kjoeldgard-Larsen and Tina Brosko. All the vases are handmade and individual variations in each emphasize the unique nature of the piece.

Rocking Glasses

Designer: Britt Bonnessen
Set of four - $25.00

These sturdy glasses can hold just about anything - from coffee to snacks to a tea light. Bonnessen explains his inspiration, "I conceived the idea of the Rocking Glass after watching an old movie about propeller aircraft. The old aircraft produced a lot of vibration, therefore the glasses and tableware were designed not to spill."

Other Objects Available from normann-copenhagen:
  • Familia Cup, small
  • Familia Cup, large
  • Familia Tea Pot
  • Butterfly Can Opener
  • Move Card Holder
  • Move Money Clip

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Playful World - Bellingham, WA

The Playful World’s mission is to provide today’s children with unique, custom designed toys that are handcrafted by artisans in less developed areas of the world and purchased under fair trade agreements. They offer unique toys that not only engage and delight children, but also make a small contribution to a better world.

Featured Objects

Wool Felt Blocks

Materials:100% wool outer shell, synthetic foam fill. Bell inside each block
Dimensions: Large block - 5" per side; small block 2.5" per side
Price: Single large block, $16.00; set of 6 small blocks - $30.00

Wool felt blocks are handmade by an artisan workshop based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The workshop’s mission is to reunite homeless families by providing
vocational skills training and income opportunities that help parents earn needed income in order to care for their children. Suitable for 6 months and up.

Bowling Buddies

Materials:100% wool felted outer shell, synthetic foam fill
Dimensions:Pins are 8" tall; ball is 3" in diameter
Price: Set of 3 Buddies + ball - $65.00.

Choose from dog or people design

Bowling Buddies
are handmade in Kyrgyzstan in a workshop that is dedicated to preserving the traditional craft of felt making. Providing vocational training to unemployed women, the toys are made from locally sourced 100% natural mountain sheep wool.Suitable for 18 months and up.

Animal Pals

Materials: 100% alpaca fiber outer, synthetic fill
Dimensions: approximately 17" tall
Price: $40.00 each; Lion, cow, elephant, monkey, or giraffe

Animal Pals are handmade in Peru of pure alpaca wool. Traditionally, many impoverished families living in the Andes of Peru have used wool from local alpaca herds to knit garments and goods. Women from these communities are now forming artist cooperatives to export hand-knit products, earning much needed income for their families. Suitable for ages 1 and up.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Welcome to the Ideal Blog!

As we get started blogging, we will be focusing on creating posts discussing many of our favorite designers and lines. Call or e-mail us with any questions about objects or designers you see on our posts. We're happy to take orders over the phone (360-752-5522) or via e-mail info@anidealshop.com.

Thank you for reading our blog! We will expand our posts to cover even broader topics in the near future.

Your partners in good design,

Trish, Kathleen, and Lisa