InteriorsShop Tour

Shop Tour: Schoolhouse Electric’s Brick & Mortar in Pittsburgh, PA

by Margaret Kelley

Back in 2003, Brian and Jill Faherty founded the esteemed brand Schoolhouse Electric. The company was born after Brian discovered a long-lost collection of cast-iron glass shade molds inside an old storage warehouse in Port Jervis, NY. After carefully restoring the molds, Brian’s vision of well crafted, American-made home goods came to life. The concept behind all products Schoolhouse carries can be summed up in Brian’s articulate explanation: “We’re rooted in the notion of domestic utility where things are useful, but beautiful.”

While the lighting and housewares company is based in Portland, OR, Schoolhouse Electric recently opened its third brick-and-mortar store on the east coast, in Pittsburgh, PA. Now in its 16th year, this design-centric company’s new space is housed in the city’s East Liberty neighborhood in a New Formalism structure named The Detective Building. When Brian learned that this proud structure encompassing an entire city block was being auctioned off by the city, he knew the Schoolhouse universe would begin a new chapter in western Pennsylvania.

Rather than viewing the space as a singular entity, Schoolhouse operates The Detective Building as a communal destination for locals and visitors alike. The first floor holds Schoolhouse Electric’s newest retail store as well as a café aptly titled The Bureau, owned by Pittsburgh restaurateurs Joey Hilty and Emily Slagel. Floors two through four boast breathtaking office and event spaces run and curated by the visionary Beauty Shoppe – a company renowned for transforming and optimizing historic buildings into elevated co-working areas.

Photography courtesy of Schoolhouse Electric 


Custom wooden slats are configured to show Schoolhouse Electric’s pendant lighting, while a frame attached to a wall shows off wall lamps in a cozy setting.


These wood pieces are artwork created by Leroy Setziol, who is known as the father of Oregon wood carving. They were brought from Portland to Pittsburgh because Schoolhouse wanted an artifact from their flagship store. in their new space.


Custom detailing on one of the four custom wood dividers.


Outdoor goods like stylish house numbers and planters with live specimens occupy a sunny side of the space. Note the wood dividers from the previous two slides in the background.


More Schoolhouse Electric wall mounted lights mark the singular addition to the wood paneled wall. On the right, vintage-style office pieces help highlight Schoolhouse staples like the Mushroom Desk Lamp, wall clocks and office necessities like pencils and notepads.


Number 2 pencils in shades of blue share inspiration mantras. They rest on small trays in retro colors that make themselves useful in a variety of home and office settings.


Artfully displayed tabletop pieces with that signature Schoolhouse Electric mid-century flair occupy vintage industrial shelving, given a second life in The Detective Building.


Soft goods, books and specialty lighting sit below wall clocks that come in hues that make their standard-issue look a bit more playful.


Visitors to the new Schoolhouse Electric dispatch in The Detective Building can look forward to an expanded textile selection that could easily be enjoyed as sculpture.


This tabletop shows the variety of goods available at Schoolhouse — from textured pitchers and dessert cups to striking black utensils. The stools add vintage silhouettes and colors to the party.


Varying shades of blue, olive and caramel, along with the tulip shape make these “Andy” stools stand out in any setting.


An old phone booth stands guard next to stackable Schoolhouse chairs in the company’s upper floor conference area.


Welcome to The Bureau. This cafe on the main floor of the new Schoolhouse Electric space is the place to meet for a coffee break. It’s brought to you by the team behind  Pittsburgh eatery The Vandal.


This hangs in the new space and reminds everyone how special they are.

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  • Those wooden slats are to die for. I’ve never seen those before. The detail work and crafting are impeccable. I also love that the ceiling is filled with lamps.