Trading Birkenstocks For Tattoos: A Neighborhood Revival

In Minneapolis, like any other major metropolitan city, there are neighborhoods that shine with success and others that fall a little short of that goal in varying degrees. The Uptown area of Minneapolis has long enjoyed its resurgence as a trendy place as a destination spot for local residents. The Wedge neighborhood, which saddles up to Uptown to the east, seemed to lag behind as the granola tinged area where hippies more than hipsters called home. National chains like Apple and Victoria’s Secret invaded uptown as the next progression of commerce began and forced out mom and pop shops turning uptown into more like a suburban experience. Meanwhile, uptown’s disheveled sister to the east started its transformation from ugly duckling to beautiful swan-like rebirth complete with no less than nine new businesses locating themselves along Lyndale Avenue between Franklin and Lake Street.

With this revival comes a shaking off of the old images a bedraggled Wedge are to the more trendier LoHi East moniker which the long forgotten historical name was Lowry Hill East. The rebranding effort was started by Carter Averbeck, owner of Omforme, a home decor boutique specializing in restyled vintage furnishings and modern design. Several other businesses such as Pharmacie, Proper & Prim, Showroom have joined in the rebranding effort. It certainly helps that new restaurants like World Street Kitchen and Heyday add to the hipster vibe appeal.

New luxury apartment complexes have also added fuel to the area helping foster small businesses as a new set of residents explore the neighborhood in search of cool place to shop and hang out in. As Averbeck puts it: “We’re trading our birkenstocks for tattoos.” LoHi East is fast becoming the arty, edgy area filled with what Uptown used to have but lost – which is a blessing for those who have long waited for the tide to turn. Apparently it has and in LoHi East, there seems to be no stopping the tide towards a revival of a beautiful kind.


Look Book 2014: Summer of Colour



OMFORME June 22 2014 MPLS  Carter Averbeck (5 of 55)

Click on the Sofa to go to our Look Book Catalogue

Our Lookbook is here for Summer and it’s filled with a bounty of joyous colour! One of our favorites is the 1970s floating linear sofa restyled in Ombre panne’ velvet in smoky shades of warm greys. Please click on the sofa above to get a gander at the catalogue of offerings.

Little Shop of Transformations


Nestled inside a strip of antiquated storefronts lies a tiny furniture shop filled with big ideas.

Ideas about moving forward with interior design by moving backwards from our disposable lifestyles. A  shop where old furnishings go for a facelift and come out of the chrysalis like a colorful butterfly. A shop packed with  imagination using reclaimed materials left for scrap from the building and interior design industries to create modern home goods that play nicely off the updated vintage finds. A shop that holds its own in the realm of established international furniture showrooms by supporting top local furniture and product designers that rival the competition in style, quality and price.


Upon entering, there’s the immediate realization that this place does not exude the familial safety that sometimes defines the midwestern aesthetic but one that shakes up the status quo of what we think a vintage store should be and challenges our notions of how to live,..well,..a more colorful life outside our coveted colloquial neutrals. It is a little shop of transformations and you can call it Omforme.

“It all started with a chair on the street”, is  the statement on the website, but in reality, Omforme’s owner has been doing this kind of work his entire life. Carter Averbeck grew up in a  DIY family and learned early on that the benefits of transforming through found materials can yield results that are set apart from store bought merchandise.

“Our house was never plain nor did it look like it came out of a catalogue. We were an unusually crafty bunch!”

Case in point: A once dusty set of chairs more than a century old are now displayed in glory after a full transformation into trendy fabrics of bright  limes and turquoise that belie their original age. Carter says they’re ready for the next 100 years because they’re built to last, in contrast to much of today’s furniture which is meant to be replaced after a shorter period of time.


Setting aside the eco-friendly aspect of saving furniture from a dump heap, Averbeck’s transformations seem positively gleeful with their renewed sense of value. He focuses on current style and trends and states that since furniture styles are like fashion, everything old is new again. But getting people to understand that buying previously owned furniture is a good value is a tough hurdle. “Let’s face it, our society loves new. We’ve been conditioned into thinking that’s the only route to go for a variety of reasons.” says Carter. Which is why Omforme also showcases modern furnishings crafted by top local talent such as WoodSport and Aaron Brand Designs among others.

 “Let’s face it, our society loves new. We’ve been conditioned into thinking that’s the only route to go for a variety of reasons.” ~Carter Averbeck

OMFORME June 22 2014 MPLS  Carter Averbeck (11 of 55)

The combination of adding new works by local craftspeople to vintage goods makes Omforme anything but a one note. The offerings change regularly and are from every era, packed with as much imagination as what goes into high end furnishings but without the cost factor. Averbeck wants everyone to be able to afford good furniture that speaks to their soul. Rarely does he repeat a design on any given transformed piece so there’s assurance that what comes from here is singularly unique. One step inside this tiny storefront gives way for one’s imagination to run wild with ideas on what to get, transform or create with found materials. Averbeck doesn’t mind, he likes it that way.





855-OMFORME (663-6763)

Showroom hours are by appointment; it's our way of being able to cater to your needs while showing you the goods. Heck, we may even bring you back to "the Lab" where all the magic happens!