Couch Hunter

When Flutter first opened there was an amazing piece of furniture that really piqued my interest. It was a red velvet couch, from around 1880 New Orleans, stuffed with down and incredibly comfortable, with carved chestnut feet and baroque scrolling across the spine. All of the wood had this soft glow, I just wanted to touch it all over. I couldn’t believe how old it was and how comfortable it was, and i wondered about their construction. I wonder how the making of velvet, or the dye process, has changed in the past hundred and thirty years. A little internet research revealed that in the 1800’s plant dyes, such as madder, were used to achieve a deep red color. Chemists also discovered that napthalene, a byproduct of coal combustion, closely resembled the red of madder. The color prussian blue, incidentally, came from cyanide compounds of the same origin.
Wood was easier to come by back then, and people were less precious with natural resources. Beautiful woods like American Chestnut, Mahogany, Rosewood and Black Walnut show up often in victorian pieces but they’re scarce and protected these days, arboreal leopards. Buying these things second-hand takes the naughtiness out, almost like buying a rabbit fur cape at a thrift store. It’s how I explain odd things that show up in the store, like a zebra skin tripod chair, or a velvet riding helmet with a fur bunny face on it. Deconstruction and reappropriation.
There’s an ancient couch at Flutter right now that’s like a cutaway illustration of victorian upholstery anatomy. Julia removed a layer of fabric to reveal its underpinnings and mechanics, its limbs and lingerie. The soft shine of the carved wood is the only thing dressy about it, like a nude with a pedicure. The first layer is fine gauge cream linen, held firmly in place with brass tacks. Underneath that is a kind of jute burlap, two layers which surround the centrally mysterious stuffing of the piece. After poking around, I concluded that the stuffing is made out of tightly coiled mats of sphagnum moss over a layer of horsehair. It is dense but springy despite the century it’s spent stuffed in there.

In the next few days, Cindy will be bringing in a lot of exciting new old things for fall. Here’s a few highlights….A 1930’s raspberry silk loveseat with sexy curves and fringe (totally hollywood glamour!), a 1930’s velvety green down filled sofa and an Eastlake Victorian mohair chaise lounge in deep red. A few silk upholstered armchairs, a ton of stuffed birds, a 1920’s illuminated light box eye exam chart and so much more! Cindy’s garage is looking pretty crazy right now with all the stuff she’s collected, it’s like a silk and velvet game of tetris. Flutter will be closed Wednesday so she can pack it full of gorgeous new things for fall.

-sara kolp

There’s no place like home!

Hello, I am Susan Hashem, your host of the home and decorating department of Flutter! To start out I’ll give you a little background on how I ended up working with Cindy the owner of this fabulous place called Flutter.

This is shall we say a sort of 6 degrees of separation story… After moving here (about 2 years ago), I was shopping on Mississippi with my family and good friend. Walking around the neighborhood we happened into this fantastic store, Flutter. The woman manning shop asks if she knows my friend, and then my husband says “hey I used to sell you stuff when you were at Dirty Jane’s!”. We had been living parallel lives of sorts in Seattle, moving out of there about the same time to pursue other avenues of existence and now again are living in Portland working on creative pursuits. I started bringing in pillows that I was making a few weeks later and the rest is history. It has been nothing but fun ever since. And I need fun.

After working in home design for 10 years, I mainly deal with beige. You know, stodgy home design projects. Most people are afraid of color, afraid of crazy patterns. I am not. I love nothing more than throwing together some wild combinations that in the end work out beautifully. Working with Cindy on projects really refreshes me and allows me to use my crazy talents. She throws some mishmash vintage fabrics she’s collected and I put them together to make beautiful one off pillows and bedding. The past year and a half has been great, using old kimonos to make some amazing pillows, to the funky flower fabric that was used in Cindy’s childhood bedroom made into a lovely coverlet.

We are starting to get fall together now with bright bold patterns and colors. Vintage embroidered pieces that are amazing, I am just trying to figure out what they will be when they grow up. I am also excited about a big project that we have brewing too. Custom iron drapery rods, custom drapery panels made of fabulous shantung silk with screened images on the edges, all of this work done locally. Also a line of silk pillows with fanciful images printed on them. These will be amazing when they are finished. I can’t wait to see what happens….so stay tuned!

New Flutter Blog

Hello everyone and welcome to the new blog for our store, Flutter. We’ll be sharing our news, ideas, visions and inspirations with you twice a week. Susan Hashem, our very talented Flutter Home Designer, will host the Home and Decorating portion of the blog and SaraKolp, our very witty copywriter and hipster extraordinaire, will host the everything else portion of the blog. As for me, Cindy Rokoff the proprietress of Flutter, I’ll be joining in here and there.

But first a little Flutter history…..
Flutter was created and opened May 2006. This is my third shop (the other 2 were located in Seattle) and if asked I would say this shop is the one closest to my heart, as it’s a place to put all my late night visions of imagination. Flutter doubled in size November 2007 and the online store followed shortly after in January 2008. The tag line for the shop is ” A delightful disarray of found objects and clutter”. There are many vintage and antique, one of kind pieces gathered from around the world. The shop is very feminine and feels like one large international boudoir, but with a bit of taxidermy and oddities to break up the girliness . Flutter is a store for the girl with substance and intelligence to back all that femininity up. It has several twists and surprises around every corner and many have described the feeling the store evokes, as what Alice must have felt like as she tumbled down the hole to wonderland.

What makes Flutter unique is that it is a store, where everyone feels comfortable to shop. The large birdcage in the back with the sweet little finches provides a nice background of sound in tune with the music and there’s always treasure to be found from large to small and expensive to affordable. The store is living art that is constantly changing and working as one big installation, but never too serious… there’s humor in it all! Flutter is an experience and a feast for the senses…a place to get lost on those rainy Portland days and find a “delightful disarray of found objects and clutter.

We’ve come a long way in 2 years and now we have windows! I couldn’t help but post a picture of the first day Flutter opened and my daughter, Lyla was lounging in the windows or I should say no windows. I’m sure many of you remember our first 2 weeks without glass panes for the windows and thankfully it was the clearest, sunniest May days that I have ever witnessed in Portland. There’s always been lots of luck on our side at Flutter!

We hope you find our new blog enjoyable…

Join FLUTTER and CHAP at the Mississippi Street Fair

Flutter is pleased to announce our parternship with the Children’s Healing Art Project, bringing the healing power of art to children in crisis and their families with a mobile team of teaching artists working in Portland’s children’s hospitals and CHAP’s post-hospital studio art camp in the Pearl District.

Be a part of CHAP’s MILLION BEAD PROJECT: an art experience that crosses all age, gender, religious, ethnic and social boundaries. Families in waiting rooms outside hospital surgery wards, moms living with their children on oncology floors during treatments, nurses, local high school students, Girl Scout troops and many more are all stringing strands of beads. With each strand you string, you are invited to write your prayers and thoughts in our journal. Each strand becomes part of a collaborative sculpture where private prayers become public art. This one-of-a-kind beaded glass sculpture will be sold to support CHAP’s mission to bring the healing power of art to children in crisis.

Join FLUTTER and CHAP at the Mississippi Street Fair – July 12 10-7 and create your own bracelets, necklaces, keychains at the CHAP BEAD FACTORY or Decorate CHAP’s Art Car all in support of this amazing organization.

…all proceeds beneft CHAP art services in Portland’s children’s hospitals!

Flutter’s Second Anniversary Party

To all our wonderful customers and supporters, this is a party for you, in thanks for making FLUTTER’S second year even better than the first!

Flutter’s Second Anniversary Party
Thursday, May 8th 5-9pm

Come celebrate our anniversary with 15% off everything in the store all day long! The party starts at 5pm with a night of fashion, cocktails and cabaret.
The always fashionable Frocky Jack Morgan models set the room on fire, while Portland’s own New Deal Vodka serve up cocktails in celebratory style.

Music starts at 6pm with Eric Stern from Vagabond Opera perched high above the doorway with his accordion singing songs about gypsies, tramps and thieves.

A guaranteed good time for all!


Come celebrate our new Men’s Line and have a beer and cigar on us. Twenty handsome Men will be strolling the store previewing Frocky Jack Morgan’s newest men’s designs including silk screened T’s and suits. Browse the newest men’s shaving supplies, soaps and colognes from France and Italy. Check out the latest books on subjects from vintage marvel to Eiji Tsuburaya’s Master of Monsters.

Michael Pappillo trio play at 6pm. playing classic Brazilian, pop covers (think Nirvana & Portishead meet the stand up bass) and of course some Gypsy Irish kind of thing to honor St. Patrick’s day!
We’re pleased to welcome the boys to FLUTTER!
Thursday March 13th 5-9pm

FLUTTER’S Valentine’s Day Celebration

St. Valentine was no one’s lover, nor was he ever engaged, but if you are, come find your perfect wedding dress at Flutter’s Valentine’s Day Celebration but if your not, come commemorate good ol’ St. Valentine and have a glass of champagne on us!
Flutter’s Valentines Day Celebration
Frocky Jack Morgan Models are Blushing Brides in tulle and silk serving “sweets for the sweets”
Thursday, February 14th 5-9 pm