It’s takes a moment to get your bearings because it’s not immediately apparent what kind of shop is this Sawhorse in Highland Park. Looking around, there are paintings and mirrors, wooden wall cabinets, china sets, teapots, vases, toasters, books, and jewelry.
The owner is Jim. He’s the buyer of “bigger stuff,” he says while Philipp acquires the books and knickknacks. Jim says his formula is simple—if he can afford a piece and think he can turn a profit or if he sees how he can turn the piece into something else, he buys it.
He’s also supportive of artists and creative types; the day we stopped by one wall held drawings by artist Jessika Wood and in the back corner—in one of Jim’s handmade jewelry displays—was works by Smitherine Designs, including a necklace for $95 that we wanted real bad (we resisted).
For base materials, Jim heads to Goodwill and even Habitat for Humanity to salvage wood, doors, and windows, then creates his specialty and custom cabinets, door mirrors, tables, desks, coatracks, and candleholders. He likes to repurpose materials; one of his mirrors was salvaged from a renovated building and has the year 1964 stamped on the back of it. Old windows are often used for tabletops, a jewelry display, even a spice cabinet. Whole doors get reconfigured, recut, and stripped of paint. One of his tables is made out of a panel from a door, the rails of the door tapered to become legs.
Woodworking is Jim’s mainstay. He’s worked on movie sets and been a cabinet maker “always,” he says. Between the store and the workshop is a “window” wall that he built and a friend helped install. He’s proud of the fact that his work is from found materials and found objects, one-of-a-kind pieces.
This stretch of York Boulevard between 50th and 54th Streets in Highland Park has a lot to offer. Many of the owners are newbies like Sawhorse, with a big push this last year to open up new eateries (Ba Restaurant), galleries (Avenue 50 Studio), designers (Matter of Space), bookstores (The Shop Hop), and more shops (The Glass Studio). Mingling in with the newcomers are oldies like Vintage Tattoo Art Parlor, a barber shop, Future Music for musical instruments, and a party supply store.
Highland Park on York—the shops are eclectic and run the gamut from vintage to junk, affordable to astronomical, low brow to high brow, and granola to hip. This strip is engaging, inspirational, yummy, thirst-quenching, fun, silly, and close to irresistible (with the right frame of mind).
Sawhorse Shop & Gallery
5110 York Blvd., Highland Park 90042
Hours: Tues.-Fri., noon-7 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.