Schoolhouse Electric Brings Hip Lighting, Coffee, to Pittsburgh

The Portland, Ore-based lighting and furnishings store, which shares space with a high-end coffeehouse from the team behind The Vandal restaurant, is located in East Liberty's Detective Building.

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For those who like to sip coffee and browse home goods, a new concept in East Liberty will allow you to do both.

Schoolhouse Pittsburgh, an outpost of Schoolhouse Electric — the hip Portland, Ore.-based lighting, furnishings and housewares store — held its soft opening in late October at the former City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police building (known locally as The Detective Building) along Euclid Avenue. A grand opening party will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15.

Founded in 2003 by Brian Faherty, Schoolhouse Electric specializes in lighting, furniture, analog clocks and other home goods, with the aim of creating "the next generation of heirlooms." In addition to Schoolhouse's original products, the company sells work from local artisans.  

Besides its headquarters in Portland, Schoolhouse Electric has a store in New York City's Tribeca neighborhood. The retail space in East Liberty is its third location.   


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Also located inside the Detective Building is The Bureau cafe and coffee shop. Created by Joey Hilty, owner of The Vandal restaurant in Lawrenceville, with business partner Emily Slagel, The Bureau will serve up assorted pastries and smørrebrød — a.k.a Danish open-faced sandwiches. Catering for the space both during and after store hours will be done by The Vandal.  

Beauty Shoppe, a Pittsburgh-based operator of co-working spaces, also is spread across 21,000 square feet worth of co-working, office and meeting space that's located on the top three floors of the four-story building. Schoolhouse Electric, in partnership with Beauty Shoppe, co-designed the on-trend office space, which features furniture, lighting and decor from the first-floor retail store.

According to the Schoolhouse Electric website, Faherty — whose company was a supplier for the Ace Hotel in East Liberty — decided to open a location in Pittsburgh after the 1970s-era Detective Building, by then empty and falling into disrepair, caught his attention. The building's striking New Formalist architecture, including cast concrete archways, wood accents and walls of glass, were of particular note to him.  

“I looked up and there was this vacant building, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing," he says on the site. "It was boarded up in places and the property was pretty desolate, but the architecture was so cool. It was love at first sight."


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The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports Schoolhouse bought The Detective Building from the Urban Redevelopment Authority for $250,000 in 2016 and spent several years, and more than $8 million, rehabilitating it.
“It’s been a challenging journey, bringing the space back to life," Faherty says on the site. "But we’re saving a building that was on the city’s chopping block and we’re hopefully going to open a lot of doors – I’m excited about what that could bring.”

Schoolhouse Pittsburgh will serve as operation headquarters for the company's East Coast and Mid-Atlantic markets, according to the URA. The company currently sources its glass from Morgantown, W. Va — making the Pittsburgh location an efficient headquarters. 

Thursday's grand opening event will feature live music from the Pittsburgh Banjo Club and Mello & Sons and catering from The Vandal. Ten percent of all sales from the event will go toward 412 Food Rescue, an East Liberty-based non-profit that aims to provide healthy food to communities in need.

For tickets, visit here. 


Categories: Nest