Housing a mix of vintage and faux-vintage merchandise and nursing a coat of rust that’s borderline Los-Feliz-hipster, the Cottage Shop is such a bizarre sight along Wulumuqi Lu, squeezed between ATM machine depots, fruit stands, and convenience stores.
Its window-display of old bedside clocks, chests, and miscellaneous vintage machinery (mainly televisions and typewriters) pay homage to a less hectic time and place, certainly a romanticized version, although other products (in-store) are faux-vintage or simply handmade (e.g. shoes, shoulder bags).
I couldn’t help but think that some of these items’ cousins were being used to stock a French Concession-area lane house. The store did have a small collection of (still-functional) old typewriters. There’s nothing quite like the sound and feel of a typewriter in motion, so unlike the clickity-clack of a keyboard (or the muted percussion of an Apple keyboard or those angled ergonomic ones), especially the whoosh and the weight of the carriage sliding left to right. I geek out over some random, random things indeed. (Plus, they remind me so much of old-timey journalists, war-time correspondents, trenchcoat private eyes and spies, gangster-era bookies, the stock non-superhero characters of comic books. The nostalgia builds upon nostalgia.)
Other aged oddities:
The pictures don’t show some of the faux-vintage commercial pieces, like slightly worn wristwatches, canvas bags and vintage backpacks, shoes and denim buttondowns and t-shirts, but those didn’t quite catch my eye like these other eccentricities. The store has quite a bit of character, even if I wasn’t compelled to buy anything – it was like stepping not necessarily backwards in time, but perhaps sideways.
The Cottage Shop
170 Wulumuqi Road