The thought of a European shopping spree may seem exciting, but time and bargain air tickets are hard to come by. It’s a relief to see a housewares source come to town where someone else does the searching. The aptly named Roam corrals the best from Europe’s top trade fairs and design stores for display amid the state’s biggest selection of Minneapolis-based Blu Dot furnishings. “It’s all about good design—bringing it all here, so it’s easy for people to get,” says manager and buyer Tara Larson just days before jetting off to Maison & Objet in Paris and show room calls in Cologne.


The loftlike architecture of the 2,500-square-foot space (813 Glenwood Ave., Mpls., 612-377-6465) is similar to that of next-door-neighbor Ligne Roset, with which Roam shares ownership and management. The space is perfect for the three-month-old store’s sleek array of European housewares, which includes 137 items from Italian design icon Alessi. Sharing shelf space are products from Design House Stockholm (modern glassware, clocks, throws) and tabletop items from Eva Solo (carafes and teapots sporting cool zippered neoprene jackets) and Menu (we love the propeller trivet).

Not to be overlooked—not that it’s possible with so much space allotted—are the Blu Dot furnishings and accessories. “We represent the full line, so we pretty much have everything,” Larson says. Enough, in fact, that the company has designated Roam a “Dot Spot,” the only such designation in Minnesota. Upholstered chairs, dining tables, beds, and storage systems anchor six of the store’s displays. The store also plays up the $99 Real Good chair, made of thin powder-coated steel and available in four colors.

Handbags from Mandarina Duck, Parkhaus, and Silent Revolution appeal to the wardrobe-driven design shopper. Even the large wall art impresses. It’s bold, graphic, and local (created by former ReSee gallery owner Jay Nuhring), and it’s made out of old billboards—something you aren’t likely to find roaming about on your own.

What's to Love:
* Soft, sculptural handbags and wine pockets made of felt by Berkeley, California-based designer Josh Jakus.
* Inventive jewelry from local design firm Silver Coccoon.
* Artenica’s recycled glass vases and carafes.