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Meet your neighbors: James Peeken from Ludlow in Phinney Ridge

Meet your neighbors: James Peeken from Ludlow in Phinney Ridge
A bowl of seashells makes for a great piece of nautical decor, and beach days are just around the corner. Sort of. (Image: Melanie Biehle / Seattle Refined)
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Last week I visited James Peeken at Ludlow, his cool vintage home goods shop in Phinney Ridge. We had a great conversation about the shop and went on some riffs about our love/hate relationship with social media. Get to know more about Ludlow and learn what James loves about living in Seattle.

Tell me a little about Ludlow - how you got started, who you are, and what you stand for.

Ludlow was started in March of 2013 by a fella named Rick Rochon. I was working as a bartender, "picker" and sometime amateur furniture restorer, selling my wares to local dealers and at local antique flea markets. After doing a small handful of projects for Rick, he got an offer to work on a great project in San Francisco, and couldn't pass it up. In late October of 2013, he passed the baton to me and I've been sprinting ever since. In January, I formed a partnership with Briana Forslund, a styling coordinator with Nordstrom. Her attention to the finer details of how a business should be run allows me to be creative and spend time doing the fun stuff. I like to think of Ludlow as being an "analog" kind of place; it is a scratchy record whose crackles and pops and imperfections you've learned to love. OR it's a well worn but no less beautiful quilt that was passed down. We want people to think of Ludlow as a destination place, somewhere you can come in on a Saturday or Sunday and spend some time uncovering that thing you didn't know you needed, or a place to get some great soaps or shrubs or candles from talented local craftspeople.

How would you describe the Ludlow style or design aesthetic?

A lot of people describe Ludlow's style as having a decidedly "masculine" bent which in some ways, is great. I think that in a "traditional" sense, the design world is far more concerned with appealing to "feminine" sensibilities and because we have a somewhat more rugged edge, it helps us stand out. That being said, in the year 2014, I think we can start to put aside arbitrary and outdated gender based qualifiers like " masculine" or "feminine." i think Ludlow does a good job of straddling the line between rugged and elegant, and sometimes blurs that line. Mostly, we just want people to come in and find something that resonates deeply with them.

What are some of your favorite Pacific Northwest interior design and decor trends?

In this day and age, with immediate access to nearly every trend etc., design in general is at an interesting point in history. Whether it's fashion or home decor, in 2014 the world looks an awful lot like the the entirety of the 20th century has exploded all over it. We can pick and chose the bits and pieces that fit our lifestyles and make us happy or comfortable. I like that a lot of people are doing that in their homes, bending the rules and making their spaces uniquely theirs instead of copying what they see in a catalog or look book.

What do you love best about living in Seattle?

I think the best thing about living in Seattle is that in some ways, it's kind of a "sleeper." While people are often looking for the next big thing to come out of L.A. or New York or Paris, Seattle is oftentimes quietly doing its thing and doing it very well. There are a lot of talented and creative people here creating great art, furniture, lighting, etc. Also, a lot of people don't know this secret, but Seattle has some of the best buried vintage treasure compared to other similar cities. There's a reason there are a lot of really great vintage stores in Seattle!

Pretend you have guests visiting from out of town. What three things would you tell them that they had to do or see while they're here?

The best Sunday with an out of town visitor is a quick trip to the Fremont Sunday Market followed by breakfast on the go at the Ballard Farmers Market then a sandwich from Paseo and a nap on the beach at Golden Gardens.

Ludlow is located in Seattle's Phinney Ridge neighborhood at 7315 Greenwood Avenue North.

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