Celebrate Something New: “Hidden Gems”

Celebrate Something New: “Hidden Gems”

Celebrate something new with 5 “hidden gems” to spark new creativity. Discover unique places all over the state that have very vintage, retro-inspired finds that make great statement pieces. Blogger Elisa Black shares her 5 favorite spots that spark her creativity.

The Planted Earth

There is something about vintage furnishings that really sparks your imagination and The Planted Earth is full of them. They come with a kind of patina of glamour or mystery. Who knows what stories might be attached to them? What kind of lives their previous owners may have had? Vintage objects also come with the flavor of their era. They bring some of the style of their original time period into your home. Shopping vintage allows you to pick and choose from a wider range of styles when accenting your home. Smaller vintage objects, like cameras, books, figurines, odds and ends, allow you to exercise your creativity by creating tableaux or arrangements that communicate your personality and your values.


440 South State Street

Orem, UT 84058

(801) 225-4510

The Beehive Tea Room

Part of my love for the Beehive Tea Room stems from my love of vintage. You really feel like you’re stepping back in time to the 1930’s or 40’s. Whenever you imagine yourself in another time or setting, you’re exercising your creativity. The retro furnishings don’t rigidly adhere to any particular era, but they all combine, very artistically, to create a sort of “retro” atmosphere. That includes the background music. Dining at a tearoom also means you’re going to slow down and enjoy a ritual that has been enacted for centuries. You’re stepping out off of the rushed, fast-food world and indulging in an old world custom, even if you’re just having a scone and a drink before throwing yourself back out there.

The Beehive Tea Room is also a great way spark your children’s creativity or imaginations. Here in the U.S. “having tea” is something that people do in books. Think of Alice in Wonderland or Wind in the Willows. Read some fun books to your kids. Read them some historical fiction and then take them to “have tea.” I’ve done this with two groups of girls and both were enchanted with the novelty of it. The retro furnishings of The Beehive Tea Room also help to transport children to an imaginative “other” place.


12 W Broadway

Salt Lake City, UT 84101-2003

(801) 328-4700

Central Book Exchange

It’s not hard to see how bookstores can spark your creativity. In between every cover are someone’s thoughts or imagination artfully expressed (probably artfully, anyway). I have nothing against bookstores that carry all new stock, and I love to explore Barnes & Noble and Borders. But there are some advantages to a used bookshop. First, you’re helping independently owned local businesses. Secondly, you can often find specific interest books. Most national chains have to carry New York best sellers or whatever is popular at the moment, but used bookstores are a great place to find out-of-print or unusual books. And third, there’s something imaginative about prowling about stacks of books that have already stood the test of time and been loved and appreciated. Imagine the books are like people: they don’t have to put on airs anymore or impress you. They’re not hiding anything. They are what they are, and you’re free to open it and explore beyond the cover. Sometimes, you’ll get a note scribbled in a margin or name or handwritten dedication. “To Billy for his 17th birthday from Grandma, 1972.” It adds to the personality. Plus, used books are cheaper so you can buy more. Big bonus.


2017 S. 1100 E.

Salt Lake City, UT 84106

(801) 485-3913


Elemente is retro furniture store that carriers all sorts of second-hand furniture with lots of character. The owner told me that theatrical groups often rent pieces for their stage sets. This lets you know right away that this store has pieces that are going to transport you to another era. I went on the Parade of Homes tour once, and although the houses were large, attractive and expensive, they were all decorated the same. I felt like after I’d seen three, there was no reason to see the other seven on the list. I realize that for these home tours, they often have a designer come in and create a sort of generic setting. But this all goes to show that generic is boring. I didn’t get a sense of individual style and creativity that makes a home interesting. Consignment furniture stores like Elemente are where you’re going to find unique pieces that are conversation starters. They’re going to set your décor apart. People will remember your home once they’ve been there. Be an individual! Fight boring, unimaginative décor!


353 West Pierpont Ave.

Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

(801) 355-7400


Decades is a retro clothing shop, where you’ll find a lot of 1950’s thru 1990’s clothing, some even sating back to the turn of the century. When you dress, you want to be memorable…in a good way. Dressing from head to toe in vintage is rarely the answer. You’ll look like you just finished a performance in the West End or something. But implementing a retro item into a contemporary outfit makes it creative, individualistic and memorable. And a lot of retro clothing was made just plain better. There is a lot of room for retro in contemporary style. You can add a pair of Mary Jane or T-strap shoes reminiscent of the 30’s and 40’s. Work in a vintage sweater or Chanel jacket to give your outfit a touch of class. Add some retro jewelry—the tackier the better sometimes—to make an ordinary outfit funky. It takes creativity to work in the retro effectively, but you’ll be a standout without paying a fortune for it.


627 South State Street

Salt Lake City, UT 84111

(801) 537-1357

Elisa Black blogs about unique places and events popping up all over Utah. Visit her blog at www.beenthere-eb.blogspot.com.

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