Ideal is where you go to find functional, simple items from local and international sources. The cheerful shop stocks kitchenware, homegoods, clothes, accessories, and toys for children, all with a slant towards Japanese and Scandanavian design. Everything in the store is handpicked by the owners, and everything has a function.


Tucked between shops and restaurants lining Cornwall Avenue in downtown Bellingham, Ideal’s red double doors have been a distinctive and cheery sight since 2008. A quick glance inside will have you coming face-to-face with beautiful, functional designs in a well-lit showroom. The whole shop has the airy feeling of an art gallery, from the clean lines and white walls to the small plaques that offer information about products.


Co-owners Lisa Van Doren and Kathleen Iwersen curate the pieces sold in Ideal much like they did when they worked at museums. Van Doren and Iwersen’s brand philosophy is to highlight interesting materials and solutions. “We love approachable products you can pick up and try out. Everything is in here for a reason,” Van Doren says.


Most of the products in Ideal marry clean design with a twist on the normal way of doing things. For instance, an ice cube tray where the lid is the tray, and you only have to flip it over to get your ice out. If you visit their website, you’ll find products categorized by function: to live, to wear, to dine, to read, and to play. Everything serves a function at once aesthetic and practical. “It’s not just stuff, it’s gifts with story and meaning,” Van Doren says.


Van Doren loves the Grating Bucket from Eva Solo, a bucket with ridges to grate turned upside down so whatever you grate falls into the bucket and is easy to store, pour, or sprinkle. Such simple, ingenious designs really fascinate Van Doren. This piece from Denmark is available in store and online for $55. Van Doren also works closely with Finnish designer Marimekko and loves their bright new spring patterns available for home goods and dining ware.

1227 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham, WA

360.752.5522 |

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