Visitors to London often rave about the Notting Hill antique market that stretches across Portobello Road. There, collectors and Europe's fashion elite rummage for finds from all over the world. Inspired by the district's magic, style experts Kristina Hare Lyons and Marina Kalb dreamed up a way to bring a little Portobello Road to Boston.
Inside their intimate boutique, the fashionistas stock clothing, accessories, and home furnishings sourced from around the globe. Gifts and treasures from Italy, Brazil, Nepal, and, naturally, the United Kingdom line the shelves, bearing the names of designers such as Miguel Ases, Chan Luu, and Byron Lars. And, in the spirit of the namesake market, Lyons and Kalb make it their mission to seek out rare and one-of-a-kind items not sold elsewhere in the city.
Fast Frame originated in Europe and now has more than 300 locations worldwide. With the understanding that people are prone to changing their minds, the teams at these 300 Fast Frame stores back up all their custom-framing projects with a 30-day design guarantee, giving patrons a month to decide if they want to swap their memorabilia for one of more than 2,000 other frame styles, paying the price difference if applicable. For each project, a team with more than 60 years of combined experience performs the work onsite, generally completing designs in less than a week and sometimes on the same day. In addition to photos and diplomas, customers can commission shadowboxes or framing of bulkier items, such as jerseys or baby’s first rap sheet. For all finished projects, Fast Frame secures its craftsmanship with a lifetime warranty.
Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.