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Unexpected Surprises in Los Angeles

By: Anh-Minh Le, decor8 west coast contributor

In the weeks leading up to my recent trip to Los Angeles, I spotted neighborhood shopping guides in several magazines (e.g., Blueprint, Lucky). There is also the helpful LA shopping guide here on decor8 (right column). But when I actually got down there ? in addition to the usual design store suspects (yes, Weego Home is definitely worth a visit!) ? I was delighted to discover great home products in a few unexpected places.


This floral design studio has been around since the early ?90s, but recently moved to Venice?s Abbot Kinney. The expanded space includes a storefront that, as summed up on the Floralart web site, offers ?accessories that related to home, entertaining and the art of giving.?

I was so taken by the etched orchid stemware ? available in several variations (including red wine, white wine, cocktail). The glasses are beautifully etched with a floral motif, and range in price from $72-78 for a set of six.

If new place settings are on your shopping list, the Jonathan Adler selection here may be just the thing for you. Floralart carries his Greek Key, Mod Dots and Hexagon dinnerware ($128.50 for a 16-piece set).

Also catching my eye was the Aphrodite collection. Thick, hand-cut sheets of glass encase your favorite bloom or candle.

Jin Patisserie

Also while on Abbot Kinney, I popped into one of my favorite tea spots. Jin Patisserie serves (and sells) Le Palais des Th?s, which are imported from France and hard to get your hands on in the U.S. They also offer delicious sweets (chocolates, cookies, candies) and savories (sandwiches, salads).

Although seating is all outdoors (there are a couple of covered tables on the porch), don?t forget to go inside the house where all of the work is done. That?s where you?ll find Jin?s boutique ? where you can buy some sweets to take home for later, and pick up lovely little tea sets. The espresso cups ($15 each) ? with patterns on the cup and saucer, as well as a leaf for a handle ? are perfect those mornings when you?ve got the time to sit and enjoy a caffeinated beverage at home.

I am really a tea person, however, so I couldn?t pass up a cute porcelain sugar and creamer set from Japan. A variety of teapots, of course, are also available for purchase.

Even if you?re not much of a tea of coffee drinker yourself, you can shop Jin for a great housewarming gift, and you can shop them online, too!

Zero Minus Plus at Fred Segal (Santa Monica – Sorry, no website.)

Okay, so you think $100 is outrageous for a t-shirt. And you don?t care which celebrities shop here. But, trust me, Zero Minus Plus is not to be missed.

It?s one of many independently-owned and ?operated boutiques within the large Fred Segal shopping emporium. In addition to home accessories, the store sells jewelry, handbags and pet items.

I love that they stock designs from Savannah?s Working Class Studio (only a handful of West Coast stores do). There?s also a good selection of Chilewich rugs and Acme laptop bags (I carry one myself and adore it).

If you?re like me and are constantly jotting down notes, be sure to check out Zero Minus Plus? great paper products. For example, anything in the No. 2 collection (notepads, disposable clipboards).

So even if the clothing and beauty products here aren?t your thing, you can still walk away from Fred Segal as a satisfied customer. And, with a large parking lot adjacent to the store, you won?t even have to carry your new purchases very far.

Psst: Working Class Studio just launched their new line of square melamine plates, shown above.

Do you have any LA favorites to boast about? Let us know!

Thanks a-m for the great write-up covering a few of your unexpected finds!

(images from floralart, jin patisserie, and working class studio)

Posted in guest bloggers, Shop Tours, shopping, travel on September 08, 2006

coffee + cre8tive {sept 10 ’06}

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you’re gearing up for the weekend and have a few fun things planned. ‘Tis the season for weddings, at least for us, so I have another event to attend this weekend – this time, a bridal shower. I’m really looking forward to it, along with a few other fun things I have planned, which I’ll talk about on Monday.

Next week, September 12th, decor8 will have it’s FIRST EVER CONTEST – my way of thanking all of you for your support. I’ve teamed up with a decor8 sponsor for a fun + easy contest in which 3 readers will be awarded gift certificates. Make sure you visit on Tuesday for full details. HINT: Clean up your workspace. :)

Back soon with some more fresh finds – so stick around!

(adorable image of thank you card from Specialty Cards 4U, a small handmade greeting card and custom stationery business in Ohio)

Posted in uncategorized on September 08, 2006

Generate (gnr8) – Fresh Finds!

Step into the alluring world of beautiful things at Generate (aka: gnr8) in Montreal. I scoured their site for a few unique favorites, all special and exciting, fresh, and most importantly, items that you’re sure to enjoy because they are interesting and well-designed. I know that’s what you crave. :) Here are a few of my fresh finds. Let me know if you spot anything else on their site that you find exciting (or as Vincent on Project Runway puts it, if it ‘gets you off’. [cringe] I’m thinking “gets you auf’d” is more like it. I digress….)

When I stumbled upon this stunning pebble-like cacading light fixture, I had to see what other beautiful and unique items Generate had on their website. For $1,699, I won’t be purchasing the ova luminaire light anytime soon, but just look at it for a moment… Emma Welsh did such a brilliant job designing it, the contemporary glow of the white and blue LED lights coupled with the organic unglazed white bone china pebbles – ah, just dazzling!

Sure, this table may cost just under $1,500 but it’s far too pretty to not post it, especially since good design is good design and who can resist? Brandon Lynne and Dario Antonioni created this lovely botanist table, it speaks to me on so many levels that I’m almost tempted to buy it. Simple, chic, clean, modern – yet feminine and curvy. I love the cutout floral details, especially since the flowers on top are smallish so nothing falls through, and the bloom on the side is larger and more outstanding. Very nice touch. Sah-weet!

The dual table is another hot find, I really like circular sofa tables, but with larger sofas, most circular tables seem a bit out of scale. Are you with me here? The dual table designed by Eero Koivisto seems to combine the smooth curves that I love about circular tables with a large surface that I love about larger square and rectangular tables. You can have the best of both worlds. Of course, the hole in the center and the lower table top make it even more appealing, I can arrange books and magazines on the lower shelf and put a large vase with flowers in the center – without stressing over knocking it over with my laptop as I always seem to do now when I place flowers on my table. The dual is also just under $1500.

Another great table I found is the crochet table from designer Marcel Wanders. It’s $1,100 and, although expensive and small, you can’t help but love the design of it. A traditional crochet pattern constructed from epoxy resin is beyond beautiful in my opinion. I’d like to see two of these nestled beneath a console against a wall. You can pull them out when guests arrive and scatter them around your space for resting trays for cocktails and snacks. Of course, Generate has lots of affordable well-designed furniture and accessories that you may envision in your home. The kick stool from Sam + Jude is quite cool – it has a black leather top, a spot for magazine storage on the side, a stainless steel base, and suspension sprung castor wheels, all for $399.

Looking for something unique and decorative for your space? Try the ShadyLace Parasol for your ceiling or over the bed. The little bird perched on top certainly completes the look.

How about something functional and bright, like the Dish Doctor for your kitchen? Adds somewhat of a perk to washing those dirty dishes!

Looking for splendid pendants that won’t break the bank? Opt for the Novalite or the Geigerlite, both are $169 and designed by Paul Gurry.

Generate has many items priced under $200, some under $50. View their more affordable finds here.
Have fun!

(images from gnr8)

Posted in uncategorized on September 07, 2006

decor8 Reader Questions: Advice for Heather’s Countertop?

decor8 reader Heather is a graphic designer from Ocean Springs, Mississippi. She worked alongside her husband, an architect, to build their dream home six years ago. When it came down to completing it, they ran out of time, energy, and of course, cash. As a result, many things were finished quickly and cheaply, their countertops being one of those things, which is where Heather is stuck and could use our help. Heathers writes:

We stained and polyurethaned some birch plywood and that’s been it for years. Now, we are ready for real countertops and we know we want quartz composite (engineered stone) like Silestone, Caesarstone, Cambria and others. After that choice, we are stuck, we can’t decide Light vs. Dark, Color vs. Neutral, Big Chunks vs. Small Grains or Solid.

We like a Cobalt selection a few companies carry that has little sparkly bits of mirror and plan to use that in our breakfast area on a new oval pedestal table. My picture shows a table with a blue top that’s a trial run to see if we like a bright blue surface (we do!). We think the blue is great, but don’t want to overdo it on all the other counters.

The butcher block top island will stay. The cabinets are a natural cherry, nickel pulls, stainless range, white fridge and dishwasher, will soon install a new stainless single bowl sink (the way cool Kohler Poise or BlancoPrecision) and a new faucet.

The walls are a yellow orange I had planned to rub with a pumpkin glaze and the ceiling is a steely blue metallic from Ralph Lauren Duchesse Satin. The pantry doors are cypress architectural salvage from New Orleans with clear glass panels, the floors are pecan and white oak wide plank with a medium stain, lots of wood everywhere, maybe too much.

The next project after the counters will probably be to finally install the shaker style crown mold over the cabinets and mosaic tile the backsplash, possibly a cream glass tile palette with some shimmer.

I would love some opinions on the countertop issue. I like a balanced look and I’m leaning slightly towards the lighter neutrals, to offset all the color. My husband and I are used to making design and color choices quickly and confidently, but we are stumped on this one! Advice, opinions, suggestions, fresh ideas, all are welcome and appreciated! The photo of samples were some we have considered, we liked how some picked up on the cabinet color.

Holly, I’m thrilled you and your readers will take a stab at solving my problem. If it is any incentive, I am tired of putting off the counters and am ready to do them NOW, I promise to update you with what we decide and will send photos of installed counters. Will you have any other “before + after” type posts? I’m curious to see what Courtney did about her kitchen curtains.

Advice anyone?

After reading that you want to do a mosiac tile backsplash (lovely!), I must stress the importance of choosing your focal point because you don’t want the countertop and the backsplash both competing for attention because they each have outstanding features (flecks, shine, etc.). Select which one you’d like in the spotlight. Given the details you’ve provided above about the space, I’d say go with a colorful mosiac tile background and the darker gray-blue countertop (I’m not a fan of the cobalt because I think it will look dated over time and if you ever want to sell the house, it’s something to consider). The tile shown in the top row, second position, in your photo looks great. I scoured the web to try to locate something visual so you could get a sense of the outcome, and came across this photo. I wouldn’t go with such large tiles for the backsplash, but I love the mix of colors. See what you think.

(photos from heather for use on decor8)

Posted in uncategorized on September 07, 2006


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