The Schoolhouse Fall Collection launches today and with it, a new chapter of our story. We’re proud to announce that on October 26th, Schoolhouse will open a new East Coast outpost – our first store in nearly ten years – in the storied East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Located in a former police bureau known locally as the Detective Building, Schoolhouse Pittsburgh will join the ranks of our Portland and New York stores as the third expression of our brand and ethos.
Schoolhouse founder Brian Faherty saw unique potential in the formerly vacant building, long abandoned and at risk of being demolished, and decided to dedicate the next three years to its complete renovation. For Brian, the decision to open in Pittsburgh provided an opportunity to serve a community that, like Portland, combines a strong tradition of American craftsmanship and manufacturing with an emerging, modern economy.
“It reminds me a little bit of Portland when we started this business 15 years ago. Just like then, we want to serve the community,” says Brian. “It’s been a challenging journey, bringing the space back to life. But we’re saving a building that was on the city’s chopping block and we’re hopefully going to open a lot of doors – I’m excited about what that could bring.”
Built in 1972, the building that houses our new store is a stunning example of New Formalist architecture, a short-lived but vital mid-century architectural movement. The elegant cast concrete archways, wood accents, and walls of glass made a strong impression on Brian. “I looked up and there was this vacant building, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was boarded up in places and the property was pretty desolate, but the architecture was so cool. It was love at first sight,” says Brian.
The process of bringing this new store to fruition was several years in the making. Brian has travelled through Pittsburgh since the early days of Schoolhouse while en route to the Schoolhouse glass shade manufacturer in West Virginia. The culture and energy of the town appealed to him from the beginning. “I just love the people that I’ve met out there, they’re so earnest and eager to help you out,” says Brian.
“In Pittsburgh, there’s this wonderful feel of Americana that I really enjoy. The food, the sports, the church steeples and hills and rivers and bridges – it just doesn’t stop.” The new Schoolhouse storefront will occupy the first floor of the Detective Building, while the remaining three floors were designed in partnership with Pittsburgh-based coworking space pioneers, Beauty Shoppe. Each floor will feature carefully curated décor from Schoolhouse and will provide needed office space for the crop of local makers and companies that constitute Pittsburgh’s ascendant economy.
The Detective Building and the community of Pittsburgh also provide inspiration for our new Fall Collection, which features art and handmade homewares from Pittsburgh makers such as Reiko Yamamoto, Bones and All, Francis DeFabo, and many others. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more about The Detective Building, our love for Pittsburgh, the makers we worked with in our Fall Collection, and more. We hope you’ll follow us on this journey and be as excited about this new chapter as we are.