Now you can buy a meatball sandwich, a butt plug, and a painting without even crossing the street!
Soon you'll be able to buy a meatball sandwich, a butt plug, and a painting without even crossing the street! Logo by Derek Nobbs

The block of Pike St. between Harvard and Boylston has had its share of turnover—sometimes fair, sometimes maybe possibly slightly not entirely fair—in keeping with the ordinary churn of urban retail. But because every vacant storefront brings the dual threat of a Quiznos or a wrecking ball, it's always nice when a new neighbor is also a familiar name.

Beginning in December, the space that has been occupied by Alive & Well skateboard gear and apparel shop for the past five years will become the new home of Creatura House, "a boutique dedicated to home decor and fine art," co-owned and run by Kirsten Anderson, who ran the Roq La Rue art gallery for 18 years.

Anderson's presence alone will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood, partly because she has weird, excellent taste and partly because she knows a thing or two about what it means for a business to be a steward of a community as well as a means of making money. She wrote on her Facebook page that the shop will carry "things inspired by Strange Natural History, the Dark Fantastical, Opulently Botanical, Crystalline Witchyness, Punk Chic, and Wild Beauty," and that the "inaugural art show is new paintings by the great Peter Ferguson." But she also wrote that "best of all, we will also be helping support the non-profit Creatura Wildlife Projects in our quest to help save the wild around the globe!

I also asked her a few questions about her plans:

Did you know you wanted to do another retail space after the end of Roq La Rue?

I did NOT want to do another retail space when I closed R la R. I was quite bored out. But as a year has passed and I'm working on projects for the non-profit Creatura Wildlife Projects on the other side of the globe I started to feel antsy about doing something local—and I DID miss working with artists, actually. (Creatura House and Creature Wildlife Projects are two completely separate entities but Creatura House will donate some proceeds towards the non-profit.)

Are you running the shop alone?

Creatura House is me and my partner Mark Long, who was silent partner in Roq La Rue. We were having dinner and I ran the shop idea past him and he just said "I'm in." I will be doing all the front work, curating, picking inventory, designing the aesthetics, running the show. He is back end, some financials, business advice and support.

What is your sense of how it will fit into the world of Pike/Pine as it currently exists (if there's even a way to characterize that)?

Obviously Pike/Pine is changing for the better and the worse. Because it's me and I've been around a while, I hope Creatura House will bridge both the new and old worlds there. I think retail in that area is a plus for the neighborhood. We don't need any more restaurants and bars! Retail keeps a neighborhood vibrant during the day.

You can follow the store's progress and get a sense of its aesthetic on Instagram @creaturahouse.