Fine Furniture Pop-up at Studio89 Black Boxes – 93 Washington Avenue – Now Open


Melissa Fuller, C o-ower of Studio89, With Her Husband, at Their Pop-up Fine Furniture Showroom at 93 Washington Avenue, Earlier This Week.

A Second Piece of the Four Pieces of Furniture Built by Studio89 for NorthOptical at its New Location, 68 Washington Avenue, Portland is Shown Above.  The Four Pieces of Furniture  are Made  Mostly From Birch.

Handsome Pillows Are Part of the Collection of Soft Furnishings Available at the Studio89 Showroom, 93 Washington Avenue, Portland, Suitable for Home and Commerical Use.

A Display Case Built for North Optical, at its New Location, 68 Washington Avenue, by Studio89.  Studio89 Built Four Pieces of Furniture, Shelving and Drapery for NerthOptical’s New Location.

“We decided to move to Maine because of its rich resources and Portland in particular because of its robust creative community,” said Melissa Fuller, co-owner with her husband Nondas Iacovou, of Studio89 earlielr this week. “We love to collaborate with local artisans and we’ve been able to do that in Portland.” The couple was looking for the best place to design and make funiture and decided  Portland filled that niche well.  Chris Wheaton, of NorthOptical, is one of many glad they made that move to Portland!

This delightful couple moved to Maine from Alaska nine years ago to pursue their passion for designing and creating fine furniture.  Last week they opened their pop-up shop at 93 Washington Avenue, otherwise known as the Black Boxes,  They will be occupying this space until August 30, 2023 when they must move out to make room for other pop-ups that have signed up to occupy this incubator space.

Studio89 does not use computer assisted design.  “We still sketch and make mock-ups,” said Melissa whose company specializes in home and commercial design.  Studio89 has both collections and does custom design for its patrons.  The company specializes in furniture and soft furnishings.  Recently Studio89 has expanded into creating lighting.- a new field for them, but one heavy with demand they are learning.  “We really work to learn what the needs of the customer are and then to fill that need,” said Melissa.

Studio89 opened their pop-up at 93 Washington Avenue in the space previously used by NorthOptical for its high quality glass frames business earlier this month. NorthOptical has since relocated to 68 Washington Avenue – a much larger space than the smaller incubator space at the Black Boxes.  Studio89 principals  helped design and built the furniture that Chris Wheaton needed new space  – just steps away from the Black Boxes of Washington Avenue.

Melissa hails from Hinesburg, Vermont.  Nondas is from Cyprus. He was a Fulbright Scholar who chose to attemd the University of Vermont. That’s where the two met;  that was in 1989.  That memorable year in their personal lives is forever part of their business lives as well:  Studio89.  Nondas is a physical therapist and Melissa has a doctorate in audiology and works part-time in that field in Portland.

“Where do you get your glass frames?” asked this blogger of Melissa.  “I get them at NorthOptical of course,” she responded.  “I wouldn’t get them anywhere else!”

“Studio89 helped deisgn our furniture and built it.  We couldn’t have asked for a better experience than we had with Studio89,” said Chris Wheaton, owner of NorthOptical.  “They are the best.”

The Studio89 showroom is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 am – 6:00 pm.  That is through August 30, 2023.  It is closed on Monday.

The Black Box incubators were the brainchild of Jed T. Harris, the developer of the nearby J. J. Nissen building; a former bakery and once a major employer in the area.  These former shipping containeer boxes arrived on Washington Avenue, the mornig of August 13, 2018.  For more information on their history, please read post herein dated August 13, 2018,