Rows of neutral painted houses line the streets. Each house blends in with the next, creating a sea of suburbia.
But there in this sea, a lone blue house is an anomaly.
It stands out.
A vintage house painted a bright royal blue with a stark white picket fence lining the lawn beckons customers to walk in and spend the afternoon perusing the stock of one-of-a-kind pieces.
Tranquil pale light blue walls perfectly offset the whitewashed furniture that is just scuffed up enough to give it that perfect vintage feel. The aroma of bath soaps and lotions envelops the air with scents of peace and serenity.
Everything about this store celebrates the crafts of others, enticing patrons to embark on their own do-it-yourself projects and to browse the creations of precocious local artisans.
It’s a haven, a unique gem, stowed away in the Catlin Court of downtown Glendale.
Blue House Boutique is the perfect, picturesque place to find a unique and beautiful item. Blue House transcends the stereotype of the vintage shop that carries only kitschy and tacky items.
With an inventory ranging from handmade jewelry to vintage washed flannels to silver cutlery inscribed with endearing phrases such as “Spoon Me”, written on a spoon, Blue House Boutique is a one-stop-shop for anything fun and girly.
Blue House Boutique is the dream turned reality of its proprietor, Deb Prokopek.
Prokopek, an ASU graduate, received a degree in elementary education and taught kindergarten for a number of years. She came into the boutique business by a serendipitous twist of fate.
A year and a half ago, Prokopek was walking around the scenic Catlin Court of downtown Glendale, talking with her friend about turning their crafty ways into a business. Prokopek described how she envisioned having a blue house with whitewashed furniture and great, exclusive, vintage and restored items. They then found a for-sale sign on the perfect house, bought it, and 45 days later they were ready for downtown Glendale’s principal event, Glendale Glitters, and the store was permanently open for business.
Prokopek’s partner has since left, but the business is thriving.
In Blue House Boutique, Prokopek incorporates the work of local artisans, who she says are mostly ex-teachers, and various unique items that she buys to resell.
There are also many items that Prokopek sells that represent a non-profit cause.
Bridgewater Candles offers the slogan of, “Light a candle, feed a child.” For every jar candle the company sells, an orphaned child will be fed for a day through Bridgewater’s partnership with the non-profit entity Rice Bowls.
A mannequin adorned with beautiful handmade jewelry, Prokopek says, is made from women in Indonesia, which they sell to earn their livelihood.
In addition to charitable causes, Prokopek also supports local businesses and vendors. Blue House Boutique houses Grungy Galz, and Bubbles Bath Boutique
Bubbles Bath Boutique is a hit amongst Blue House customers. Frontrunner, Caron Mandell-Williams says of the business, “All our items are made on site and you will often find me in my lil soapy kitchen turning out bubbly goodness.”
With scents ranging from “Twisted Lemonade” to the very clever and catchy “Figglicious,” the smells that fill the air of Blue House Boutique while Mandell-Williams is creating soaps and lotions add to the calm atmosphere that the establishment creates for all patrons.
On the other hand, Grungy Galz is “all about the junk,” as proprietor Bridge Foster says. Grungy Galz inhabits the upstairs portion of Blue House Boutique where Foster keeps a lot of vintage and repurposed furniture and various other exclusive items.
Foster works closely with Prokopek and loves it that way.
“Deb is one of my favorite people! She is super fun to work with, so supportive and caring. I could not ask for a better partner in crime,” Foster says.
Grungy Galz and Foster play a big role in Blue House Boutique. Foster is proud of the work and place that they have created.
“Blue House Boutique is like my second home,” Foster says. “We want it to be warm and welcoming, a place were you can have fun, get some shopping in and let your hair down a bit and I feel we have created just that.
Prokopek has her hands in all areas of the business as she is running the show solo, but it isn’t deterring from her helpful and happy spirit that keeps Blue House alive.
She easily multitasks by answering the phone, ringing up orders, helping customers pick out the perfect item and even consulting on customer’s household projects and offering advice how to paint and decorate. She really takes the time to work with customers and help them however she can.
Prokopek can tell any customer everything about any item in her store, showing her dedication and love for her work.
Mandell-Williams says of Prokopek: “Deb is amazing, she is always happy and is a blast to work with. She truly cares about every single person who walks through the door. She loves to set up special events for the Blue House customers and is very involved in all the local community events going on.”
The price tags on all of the items in the boutique are hand-written and give a small description of the piece, furthering the vintage and unique vibe that Prokopek has created and really showing that she is putting her all into Blue House.
Prokopek pays great attention to detail in her boutique as she is looking to create a specific atmosphere for her customers. “I want people to walk in and feel zen,” Prokopek says.
Zen is just one of the many adjectives that may be used to describe the shop, however Prokopek also recognizes that there is another vibe within the store. “This is a very chicky store,” she says laughing. “I think that this is a fun store for women to spend some time looking for a special item.”
Prokopek is working on expanding community outreach with Blue House Boutique as well.
Blue House carries a very popular item, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, which Prokopek says is very big in European countries and is only sold at three locations in Arizona. It is paint that can go on anything, Prokopek says it can even go on upholstery, and truly can remake products that one may have gotten while at Goodwill or at a rummage sale.
“It’s a very exiting product and truly kind of innovative,” Prokopek says of the chalk paint.
Prokopek will be going to school in North Carolina to learn how teach workshops on the paint.
“We really want to teach people how to use it, it is probably our best-selling product in the store,” Prokopek says.
On March 1, Blue House Boutique will be the site of a French style market and luncheon. Prokopek is very excited and says that there will be different kinds of vendors in front of the boutique and that there will be food and different activities for people who stop by to participate in.
Prokopek truly is taking downtown Glendale by storm with her unique collection of wonderful vintage, restored and handmade items that inhabit Blue House Boutique. She is creating a great place with a welcoming atmosphere for women to spend the afternoon.
Correction: Because of a reporting error, the downtown Glendale district, Catlin Court was incorrectly spelled as Caitlin Court. The story has been updated with the correct information.