by Grace Gordon
Urbanology is a recently opened vintage home decorating shop located behind Mockingbird Manor at 4417 N. Western Avenue. This shop is curated and cultivated by a woman whose eye for interior design aesthetic remains unparalleled. That woman is Tammy Switzer.
Tammy Switzer hails from the “feel good” school of interior decorating. She wants her boutique to fill you with warm fuzzy feelings, and if you “get it” you’ll certainly feel like you’ve come home upon entering her shop. Or at the very least you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled upon the Platonic ideal of “home.” When I first set foot in Urbanology, my immediate reaction was, “Can I just live here? Please?”
Half of the shop is run by Tammy, and the other half (known as Room #9) is run by her friend Trish. Together, the two have created the warmest, most beautifully decorated space I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. If you visit, you’re sure to be in good hands. Tammy isn’t just a purveyor of vintage goods, she is also an experienced interior decorator. She favors mid-century modern designs, and incorporates lots of chrome, Lucite, texture, and color into her decorating schemes.
The result of her hard work and expertise is a space that contains the single most welcoming, eye-catching collections of excellent vintage furnishings and decorations in the city. The shop is situated in a small house, and Tammy chose to keep the “home” feel by creating gorgeous vignettes in each room, while keeping to the intent of each room (the living room is set up like a living room, the kitchen like a kitchen, but also like the coolest living room and kitchen you’ve ever step foot in). The result is a tightly edited collection of the best vintage pieces from 1950’s-70’s. Her eye for style and color, and her attention to even the most minute detail is what makes this vintage shop stand above all others in the metro area. Vintage glass bowls and cups do not remain empty and austere, but are instead filled with vintage matchbooks, bundles of chalk and bouquets of colored pencils. Even the books that line the shelves or lie about on coffee tables are quirky and fun, with topics like Poison and the Occult. These innovative touches are so charming that when you notice them, you can’t help but grin.
Tammy started out eight years ago with a booth inside of Mockingbird Manor, hocking her beautiful, vintage home décor pieces. She recently graduated to a full-fledged shop in May. Since it’s located behind Mockingbird Manor in a separate building, visitors to the Manor don’t always make it back. Next time you’re in the area, be sure to stop by. You’ll feel like Indiana Jones discovering the Holy Grail, but you won’t have to maneuver through any booby traps to find it.