Best Design Shop St. Louis 2007 - Urban Materials + Accessories
A few months ago, Mike Finan decided to work on Sundays. He propped open the doors to his 11th Street shop and welcomed in the foot traffic of a revitalized downtown. And fans of high design at reasonable prices rejoiced: Who wouldn't want to spend more time at Urban Materials + Accessories? Finan is more gracious host than salesman, and while his store was born out of incredible sadness (he and his beloved pup, Uma, were run over in a bus accident in 2004; Finan's recovery was long, and his dog did not survive), the place radiates joy and creativity. Like Uma the dog must have been, UMA the store is happy, welcoming and a perfect fit for a bustling neighborhood. The merchandise is chic but practical: Chimo wall fireplaces, Blu Dot lounge chairs, Lexon alarm clocks, Chilewich vinyl placemats. And the store itself is a design dream, juxtaposing soaring ceilings and chilly white walls with warm, vibrant displays. Unlike other modernist showrooms, which look absolutely nothing like anyone's house, UMA makes its gorgeous wares appear accessible and they are; many items can be had for less than $100. Here's hoping Mike Finan remains in the neighborhood for hundreds of Sundays to come.