Best Vintage Fridges 2004 | Sweet Potato | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword
Ancient Frigidaires may look cool, but that doesn't make them practical. They're too

small, they need constant defrosting, and they often just don't work at all. Fortunately, it's possible to remain retro without sacrificing modern technology. Sweet Potato is an outlet for Northstar refrigerators, roomy coolers fitted with up-to-the-minute shelving, optional icemakers and energy-saving mechanics. But it's the outsides of these babies that will blow you away, especially the hot-rod colors -- Flamingo Pink, Robin's-Egg Blue, Buttercup Yellow and Candy Red, among others. The cool machines are also stamped with a chrome logo reminiscent of the vintage Chrysler emblem. The only things missing are the fins. Get ready to rev up your kitchen.

Everything old is new again at She-She, a great place to get your wardrobe up to date -- or is that back to date? We're not talking bellbottoms and platform shoes here. The store's owner, Crystal Sharp, makes custom Victorian-style dresses and sells vintage handbags, gloves, hats and costume jewelry from smart decades pre-dating the '70s. Think Scarlett O'Hara. Think Coco Chanel. Think Audrey Hepburn. Just don't think about driving by without going in.

Remember roller skates -- four wheels on a boot sole, one in each corner, with a sturdy toe bumper? They're scarcer than typewriters these days, but Sports Plus is stocked to get you rollin'. In addition to used roller skates, the South Gaylord consignment shop boasts some of the best prices in town on all kinds of pre-owned sports gear. Prices on children's goods are especially reasonable, which make shopping for active, growing kids a little less painful. The store, which also sells (and services) new equipment along with clothing and shoes, is the perfect place to find everything from this summer's bike to next winter's skis. And guess what? When Junior outgrows his new used soccer shoes next fall, you can bring 'em in and sell 'em back. May the cycle be unbroken.

Mom, we know you want to toss them in the trash, but just hold your horses (and your nose) and listen up: Old sneakers can be recycled into a resurfacing material used at athletic facilities and playgrounds. It doesn't matter what they smell like; ChaRM will pulverize them and turn them into something useful, free of charge. There are some guidelines: Shoes with metal cleats, zippers or spikes or covered in mud won't make the cut. And if they look like they might have a chance at a second life, the folks at ChaRM suggest giving them to one of several local athletic-shoe stores participating in the Shoes for Africa donation program. Phew. What a relief.

Loft living is still the rage in Denver, and Paris Loft is keeping all those tony abodes supplied with an abundance of style and romance. When co-owners Kim Burney and Maria Fair opened their brick-walled home store last year, they stocked it with classics both modern and retro, then mashed it all together. The combination gives the place the feel of a hip granny's attic. Here you'll find color-washed Leonardo Swing drinking glasses paired with antique tin canisters, be-ribboned black Scottie-dog soaps, a bright-red wine bar masquerading as a British phone booth, cigar-box handbags, tapestry lampshades and satin pillow frames ringed with a poofy feather fringe, for starters. Listen, loft-dwellers, they're speaking your language.

Does size matter? When you're trying to furnish a 5,000-square-foot loft with three-story ceilings and still retain some of its drama, we'd have to say it does. Trouble is, there just aren't that many places where you can just pick up a ten-ton marble fireplace surround or a sculpted stone ram the size of an elephant. But at Belcour, you can. Not everything stashed in this spacious retail warehouse of decorative antique folderol (some dating back to the seventeenth century) requires a crane to be carried out -- but every piece carries the weight of Old World elegance.

Walk into Room and prepare for a look that's both warm and austere. If mid-century design appeals to you, you'll feel right at home in the corner-bodega-turned-furniture-store, which recently joined other Uptown businesses catering to an influx of new residents. Owner Merlin Parker, who honed his search-and-rescue skills at Larimer Street's huge Architectural Antiques salvage emporium, has put together an airy selection of sleek blond-wood bureaus and Danish Modern living-room sets punctuated by handsome teak floor lamps, brightly colored molded plastic chairs, curvy abstracted figurines and other fitting accoutrements. We like the view in this Room.

A gift shop tucked away inside the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum, QuiltMarket is anything but trendy. But that's part of its charm: You'll find things here -- old-fashioned, grandma-pleasing, Little House on the Prairie things -- that you won't find anyplace else. Run by, catering to and representing quilters, the market is hung with affordable handmade quilts; also for sale are small wall hangings, porcelain miniatures celebrating classic quilt designs, books and quilting supplies, including patterns, pre-made tops and blocks. It's a little patch of joy in the material world.
Cathy Kimmal created her own little secret garden in the French Flat, a French-country-style salute that sucks you into a different time and place the minute you amble in the door. It could be the way it smells -- like lavender and pear -- or the quaint tromp l'oeil details painted across the walls and floors by Kimmal's talented daughter, Keri. There's something delightfully handed-down about the place, which is crammed with French-made candles, well-placed antiques, tarnished garden ornaments and fragrant topiaries. The French Flat is definitely a family affair: In addition to Keri's murals, works by husband Will include miniature working greenhouses and gardener's cold frames built from old, weathered windows. Quelle jolie.

File sharing? Absolutely not, say the creators of Beatport. But this much they promise: They won't sell your e-mail address, and they have a zero-tolerance policy on spam. Beatport also boasts one of the most impressive collections of drum and bass, breaks, trance and hard house on the web. Designed by Denver DJs and launched in January, Beatport offers downloads of its general catalogue for 99 cents each; new releases are $1.49. The site's stated target market is "end users" -- that is, "club goers and dance music enthusiasts from around the world," not other DJs. Whatever you say, man. All we know is, if you bring us Boulder tribal producer Jon Nedza for a buck and a half a pop, we'll pack our iPOD with his tracks.

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