haus + haus kids
One step into haus and you know you're not in Kansas anymore. You're not in New York, or Massachusetts either. In fact, you're feeling a bit nostalgic for shopping in Europe. When you enter haus, you are transported to splendid Germany, where children's toys are made of wood, and whimsical colors flash before your eyes. haus + haus kids is a dual-duty boutique situated in quaint historic downtown Lowell, MA in the artist's district. A cobblestone street leads the way through a large glass door with a tinkering shop bell. As you enter this open airy space of sheer magic, you may hear the soundtrack to, "Amelie", as I did the day I visited. The store owner, Mirja Troppenhagen, is from northern Germany, which comes as no surprise; most of the children's items are from Germany or other parts of Europe. The store has a unique charm and an atmosphere created for lingering since Mirja is very helpful, but also allows customers to have their space to shop around. Half of their retail space is dedicated to the kiddies (or kids at heart), and the other half features stationary from companies such as Eggpress, along with other beautiful things like Angela Adams bags, candles, serving ware, and some Lotta Jansdotter items scattered about. If you don't live locally, you can shop their website for children's items; they don't sell their home accessories online since thier inventory changes so frequently. If you have children, or have friends with children, they'll love the charm and practicality of European toys. You'll find Haba, Steiff, Selecta, Wendt + Kuhn Collectibles, and more. If you're in the Boston area, take a trip up north to haus and see Mirja, she's usually in the store, often with her beautiful blonde toddler helping mommy run things. Mirja is very sweet and takes time to talk to her customers, even gift wrapping your purchase upon request at no additional fee -- just as German boutiques often do. Viel Spass beim Einkaufen!
(photo: Wendt & Kuhn Angel with Baton, $20)