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If you’re a fan of mid-century modern style, you’ve got to head over to Soho Retro. It’s right next to Holler & Dash on 18th Street in Homewood. Steve Thomas, the shop’s proprietor, has curated a treasure-trove of furniture and art that you’re going to love.
What exactly is mid-century modern?
According to Wikipedia, “mid-century modern is the design movement in interior, product, graphic design, architecture, and urban development from roughly 1933 to 1965.”
This little vintage video clip’ll give you a taste of this retro style that made a big splash when it first hit the world and is once again all the rage.
8 things you’ll love about Soho Retro
A little backstory: Soho Retro is housed in a 94 year old building on a historic corner of downtown Homewood. With the help of Watts Realty, the building’s second-generation owners were able to do a complete renovation. This was back in 2009 at a time when it was difficult to get any bank financing. The renovation gave new life to this part of Homewood.
Now, let us tell you all the things to love about this place.
1. Owner Steve Thomas
For Soho Retro owner Steve Thomas, this is a “second life.” After a 30+ year career in the corporate world, nine years ago he turned his passion for mid-century modern into a lovely shop that’s humming with business.
Thankfully there seems to be a resurgence in demand for mid-century modern. ‘It ain’t your typical grandma store.’ Although, now I have a lot of young people come in and say ‘this reminds me of Meemaw’s house.’ I guess that’s the case for some people because this was so popular in the 50s and 60s.
I don’t think there’s anything like this in Birmingham. I get a lot of business from the 25 to 45-year old crowd who likes this style. And, I find more and more people my age going back to it.Steve Thomas, owner of Soho Retro
Accompanied by the sounds of Jimi Hendrix and other musicians playing in the background, he greets designers and other shoppers who’ve come to peruse his wares. He’s soft-spoken, gracious and super-knowledgeable about designers, craftsmen, furniture companies, restoration techniques, art and so much more.
Soho Retro carries a mix of vintage, recreations and restorational pieces.
2.You can use old pieces in new ways
Older readers of Bham Now may recognize the piece of furniture just below the giant piece of art as a credenza. According to Steve, someone will turn it into an entertainment console and put a TV on top of it.
3. Fun accessories
In addition to lovely mid-century modern furniture and artwork, Steve’s got fun accessories like this heart-shaped ashtray—or pillows, lamps and rugs. All the things to help you or your designer complete the look.
4. The whole place is a feast for the eyes
You can really see Soho Retro owner Steve Thomas’ flair for design and love for mid-century modern in the way his shop is set up. It’s truly a feast for the eyes.
5. Mack the shop dog
Because a shop dog makes everything better. When I was there, Mack was sleeping on this nice fluffy rug underneath—what else?— a midcentury modern coffee table.
6. Stephanie Hereford’s awesome prints
Steve loves to showcase art that blends with the mid-century modern vibe. Every piece in the shop by in-house artist Stefanie Hereford is an original. Stefanie’s paintings of music legends and other celebrities from the era do just that. And her large abstract works also fit right in to that era. Her work is also available on commission.
7. Fabulous cocktail glasses
Steve sells a LOT of vintage barware. It’s a big customer favorite.
8. Retro art that will look amazing on your wall
This is Steve’s favorite piece of art at the moment. He just bought it, and although it’s signed on the front and the back, he’s still doing some detective work to figure out who the artist is.
In conclusion, if you haven’t been in Soho Retro yet, you’re missing out on a gem of a place. If you have been there, you know what we’re talking about. From Mack the store dog to all the fun things they have, to Steve and his knowledge about and passion for the period, there’s a lot to discover.
Soho Retro is located at 2805 18th St S, Homewood, AL 35209. Tel: (205) 870-7655.