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Shop: Frill

Photos by Dan Bishop

February 2013

After 15 years of designing stores for Harley-Davidson, including nitty-gritty details like signage and displays, Lynn Knutson quit that job for the ride of her life.

"I’d always talked about having a store. I was thinking ‘What do I want to do next?’" says Knutsen.

In June she dug her heels into the start of a lifelong dream: a shop of her very own. Frill — inside a former car-repair station (during the 1940s it was a Texaco gas station) along Washington Avenue in downtown Cedarburg, near her home for the past nine years ­— merges her skill set in harmonizing industrial-chic décor with cute, flirty items for sale.

"That’s where some of that industrial influence comes from," Knutson says, pointing to the shop’s exposed pipes and brick walls, which she intentionally kept as-is while painting some walls a creamy light yellow and staining the floor with a gorgeous patina sheen that, on first glance, resembles oil drops from a car. It’s a fitting tribute to the building’s former tenant. She painted the shop’s exterior a crisp white.

Most of what’s sold at Frill is handmade by American artists, many from this region. Knutson scours upscale craft shows in search of new wares. "I look for people whose products I like, and I talk to them," she says. While the stock rotates with the seasons, this winter she curated the following: mittens and wine and coffee "cozies" stitched from recycled wool sweaters by New London’s Katie Ames; necklaces and bracelets crafted from beach glass scored from California coastlines; leopard-print boot liners from an Illinois artist; midcentury modern-inspired dishware from Chicago’s Circus Ceramics; Italian-leather hobo bags from a Portland, Oregon, company; and earth-toned pottery pieces made by Jessie Voss of Muskego. There is always a vignette stocked with dog and cat items, including treats, collars and bowls. Occasionally the artists host trunk shows or demonstrations of their craft at Frill. Paintings by one of the Frill employees, Susan Camholz, hang above the cash register.

"There’s a very large artisan base who lives here, and they come in and shop," says Knutson, who credits the city’s pedestrian-friendly vibe as keeping her shop busy in the first few months. "If you’re going to own a store you want to be in an area that has a lot of foot traffic."

This spring Knutson plans to roll out a variety of home-décor items — such as table linens — in neutral hues like gold, cream and black. "Blacks are really big this spring," she says. Funky, colorful birdhouses with hand-cut copper roofs designed and made by a Virginia company will also arrive at the store. Later this year she’ll launch plans to bump out the shop’s square footage into the parking lot out front, providing even more space to showcase her unique finds.




Plankinton returns to Prominence

No offense to John Plankinton and his soon-to-be rededicated statue in the Plankinton Arcade at the Shops Of Grand Avenue, but he just might be upstaged by the ART Milwaukee event that coincides with the statue rededication.

During the event, which will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. Feb. 8 at the Shops Of Grand Avenue, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., six Milwaukee theater companies will perform David Ives’ "All in the Timing," a collection of one-act plays.

The groups, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Skylight Music Theatre, Renaissance Theaterworks, Pink Banana Theatre Co., World’s Stage Theatre Co. and The Quasimondo Physical Theatre, will perform the different plays independently and multiple times throughout the evening. The plays explore wordplay, romance, life and meaning through sharp wit and intellect, and range from 10 to 20 minutes in length.

Proceeds from the event will support the theater companies involved in the event. Tickets are $10 in advance and for students, or $15 on the day of the event. Parking will be available for $3 in the Plankinton structure. For more information, go to

The Plankinton statue was removed from the rotunda (its home since 1915) in August for restoration. The bronze statue was originally located in the lobby of the Plankinton House Hotel, which Plankinton built in 1868. Plankinton was a partner in a meat packing firm with Patrick Cudahy, Frederick Layton and Philip Armour, which became the largest meat packer in the world. He was a leader in industry in Milwaukee as well as a key civic leader.



This story ran in the February 2013 issue of: