Brian Faherty has a passion for the past.
After discovering and restoring a long-lost collection of cast-iron, glass shade molds inside an old storage warehouse, the Portland, Ore.-based entrepreneur founded Schoolhouse Electric to create his own line of lighting and lifestyle products that transcend time and trends.
Next month the company is opening a retail space in Pittsburgh, the perfect fit for its old-school manufacturing ethos.
Located in a former police bureau building on North Euclid Avenue in East Liberty, the store will carry Schoolhouse’s entire product assortment, plus trade services and a special edition line of housewares designed by Pittsburgh artists. It will be the company’s third location, along with their Portland headquarters and one in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood.
“From iconic lighting and furniture to analog clocks, art and domestic utility goods, our aim is to create the next generation of heirlooms,” Project Manager Emily Moran says. “Along with our own Schoolhouse originals, we are proud to collaborate with other talented makers, artists and craftspeople outside our walls to offer an eclectic assortment of quality, one-of-a-kind goods with stories of their own.”
Known locally as The Detective Building, the structure is a stunning example of 1970s-era New Formalist architecture. Faherty purchased the iconic property from the city in 2016 and has spent the last two years revitalizing it with help from Pittsburgh-based mossArchitects.
The first floor will house the new Schoolhouse retail store, along with The Bureau, a coffee shop from Joey Hilty of The Vandal in Lawrenceville. The cafe will serve espresso drinks, house pastries and smørrebrød, which are Danish open-faced sandwiches.
The remaining three floors were designed in partnership with Pittsburgh-based co-working space Beauty Shoppe. Each floor will feature carefully curated furniture and lighting from Schoolhouse.
“It’s been a challenging journey, bringing the space back to life,” Faherty says. “But we’re saving a building that was on the city’s chopping block. I’m excited to celebrate the East Liberty community and hopefully play a small role in its vibrant renaissance.”