Inside Schoolhouse: Design & Factory Tour

Inside Schoolhouse Electric, an over century-old brick factory building in Portland, Oregon, you'll find a community of people who are dedicated to the preservation of American manufacturing and thoughtful living through design. Owner Brian Faherty who started Schoolhouse over 14 years ago following his discovery of long-forgotten cast-iron glass shade moulds in an abandoned building, hasn't just built a lighting and lifestyle company from the ground up. He's reignited a movement within the interior design realm and opened up a larger conversation about the choices you make when you buy something for your home.

Our "Want Better, Not More" ethos runs through all that we do here at Schoolhouse. Our ever-present focus on quality and utility means that we never design or build something that we don't consider to be useful or heirloom-worthy. We don't work in trends or compare what we're doing to others. Everything we make has been the result of over a decade of listening to our gut and forging our own path. 

The diverse and dynamic team at Schoolhouse occupies every floor of this beloved building. During the day, these walls come alive with activity. Starting off on the ground floor, we have our sprawling flagship store, a local coffee shop and our shipping department (yep, everything we make, we ship out right here!). Upstairs on the second floor, you'll discover our bustling factory assembly team, working diligently to build our iconic analog clocks, light fixtures and basically constructing anything with multiple components to their finalized state. Across the hall we have our in-house sewing studio humming along right next to our stellar customer support and trade teams, HR and accounting departments.

Meander up to the third floor and you'll be greeted with a treasure chest of creative wares. Here lives our longtime friend and frequent collaborators Egg Press and their printing press headquarters. We also have our "vintage graveyard" behind lock and key. This is where Brian and our design team store many of their prized vintage finds over the years, used for design inspiration, shop and photoshoot styling. At any given time, you can find at least 50 chairs from different eras just waiting for your sitting pleasure. It's an ever-rotating vintage goldmine of epic proportions.

And finally, the forth floor. To say it simply, a lot goes on up here. We have our factory buffing, sandblasting and patina lines, our paint shop, the Schoolhouse design studio, and our engineering, product and marketing departments. Companies few and far between can actually claim that they do everything under one roof, and that is just one aspect that makes what we do here so special. The opportunities that are created by being able to do so much under one collaborative space are part of why our collections are as strong and focused as they are year after year. 

Many hands work together each step of the way from concept to execution and it shows in our product's final form. We're so proud of what we're able to accomplish within these brick walls and we hope our passion for living well, creating and design comes through in all that we do at Schoolhouse. 

Photography by Benjamin Heath