UMass Boston graduate Justin Power, 33, of Malden, owns a new shop in the South End on Tremont Street named Pioneer Goods Co. He got an eye for design and a knack for buying from his mother, an interior designer and owner of Maison Decor in Reading. His Instagram account (@pioneergoods) is home to photos of Power’s travels up and down the East Coast as he stocks his shelves with charming curiosities that look like they could be found in your grandfather’s den.
Q. When you say log cabins and rustic Americana, I don’t think of Boston and Malden. Where are you drawing inspiration for your buys?
A. I follow a lot of outdoor-related photographers [on Instagram], people who are shooting things in nature. Outside magazine (@outsidemagazine) is one, or there’s a photographer named Ben Moon (@ben_moon), guys who are shooting in the mountains, streams, different places that are in nature. I think sometimes the feelings associated with what I like applies to my approach to design.
Q. How did you fall into interior design?
A. I liked to read and write. I always had a creative side as a kid. I liked to draw and do creative things, but as I got older I would always sort of fight that. I didn’t think it was the most practical thing to pursue. It wasn’t really until a few years ago, when I started working on this furniture and kind of helping my mom with her interior design business, that it sort of unlocked this combination of working with your hands but with a creative twist that kind of brought it all home to me. There was this creativity but it was being used practically, which made sense to me.
Q. There seems to be a lot of camaraderie in the South End for artisans and shop owners.
A. Oh, absolutely, yeah. I love it, and even on stressful days, I’ll pinch myself and remind myself that I’m actually a part of it in some small way. I moved to the South End in 2008 and the restaurant scene was already well established and the retail end had a lot of catching up to do. I think what we’re seeing now is it’s climbing, maybe not quite where the restaurant scene is, but it’s pretty damn close.
Q. Where do you like to shop?
A. Well, I don’t want to give away too many of my secrets. [Laughs] I, more than ever, make it a point to go to Olives & Grace and pop into Sault. This is kind of corny, but I like to shop wherever there are local shops. You never know what you can find. Where I would hope people would do the same if they were in our neighborhood or living in our neighborhood, I try and give back a little bit.
Q. You also follow the school of “non-square” Instagram posts. Why so?
A. It’s because I like the way it looks. Well, first of all — it’s a common trick in interior design, but it’s doing a gallery wall, where you take lots of pictures and cluster them together. Often on Instagram, you’re looking at just one picture at a time, but I like when you click on someone’s page and you can see all of their pictures at once. By putting the frame around mine, I like that when you look at it, it sort of looks like a mini gallery wall, and you get an overall feeling for what I like and what I’m about.
Justin Power’s Instagram:
Interview has been condensed and edited. Rachel Raczka can be reached at rachel.raczka@
globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @rachelraczka.