Above: Inside the treasure-filled store.
It used to be a struggle to find stylish souvenirs in Beijing, but the bigger problem now is making room in your case for all the delightfully quirky items on offer. A good place to stock up on classy trinkets is Lost & Found (42 Guozijian; 86-10/6401-1855), a new design boutique tucked down a historic tree-lined hutong alleyway. Owners Paul Gelinas and Xiao Mao scoured city markets for worse-for-wear knick-knacksâ€”chipped enamel street signs, vintage beads, chests of drawers from an old libraryâ€”to transform into chic homewares. Hot-selling items include a series of hand-stenciled flasks sourced from Chinaâ€™s oldest thermos factory and thousand-layer â€śhappy shoes,â€ť lovingly re-stitched to their former glory. Alongside blasts from the past, the loft-like store stocks clothing designed by Xiao Mao, as well as replica furniture including elm bedside tables inset with Japanese tiles. â€“HELENA IVESON
Originally appeared in the April 2009 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (â€śGypsy Tales: Finders Keepersâ€ť)