Clever Modern Amenities Fill the Window at forsSHOP

November 27, 2012

By Teya Vitu 

How many times in your window shopping life did you just want to walk into the window display?

forsSHOP owner Sonya Sotinsky has a ice cube tray that makes ice in the shape of shot glasses.

You can do just that at forsSHOP modern amenities, 245 E. Congress St. The window is the shop.

forsSHOP is a clever way for Sonya Sotinsky, Miguel Fuentevilla and their daughters Ela and Siena to give a retail face to their FORSarchitecture+interiors office.

The way they toy with the name gives a hint at the playful and whimsical approach Sotinsky and her daughters took with merchandising the “modern amenities” window shop. Separately and independently, Sotinsky and Fuentevilla gravitated to the tray that makes ice shot glasses as a favorite item of the roughly 60 items the store carries.

Sotinsky wants to sell nifty stuff at a friendly price. Most things clock in for less than $15 with plenty under $10. The fish bowl, bird cage and chalkboard vase top the price chart at $30  and $40.

Otherwise, you’ll get change for your $10 or at worst $20 for a rubber milk bowl with which Fuentevilla is especially enamored; bamboo paper or birch straws; an ice cube tray where the point is to freeze coffee in the shape of coffee beans; old-school squeeze bicycle horns; a variety of magnets; and assortments of small kitchen wares, office items

forsSHOP offers a collection of clever items that no home should be without.

“Siena came up with the name ‘modern amenities,’” Fuentevilla said. “Ela input every product in the data base.”

If the selection vaguely reminds you of museum gift shops, that’s for a good reason. Sotinsky, Siena and Ela scouted museums across the country during summer vacations and jotted down the Web sites of product lines they liked.

“Ela sent e-mails to all the companies,” Sotinsky said. Siena is 12 years old and Ela 10 years old.

Not every architecture/interior design office has a retail store. FORS designed the interiors across the street at Playground Lounge and HUB Restaurant and Ice Creamery

“We were helping master plan this whole area,” said Sotinisky, who was skittish about moving their office into a commercial strip. “Putting in a shop is my legitimization of putting an architecture firm in here. That’s part of the point: activate the street, give people something else to do.”

The store hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday “and then some.”