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Store Preview: Esplanade (Hannover, Germany)

I spent a little time out and about yesterday, exploring the district I’m staying in, seeing if anything new came to town since I visited last year. I found a gorgeous store located in a cobblestone square, such a quaint setting, with wares spilling out from its doors onto the sidewalk… Behold, a summer clearance sale!
Esplanade Raum + Zeit, owned by business partners Bernadette Brinckmann and Uta Runde (I met Frau Runde, who is very friendly and speaks English very well), is a large space with three large rooms housing everything from Garden supplies to decorative accessories and furniture. The theme seems to be Danish and English country, one of the major lines carried is Rice from Denmark. I also spotted German products and glassware from Greece, too. And, of course, a little Asian decor mixed in. I didn’t see anything from America – no Adler or Adams anywhere. Not the case in America, where nearly every store stocks at least one Adler ceramic or pillow. :)
Plates, candle holders, bread boards, plants, pillows, totes, cupboards stocked with blue glass, everything in this store is exquisite, reasonably priced (lovely glass candle holders in two sizes and over a dozen colors, just 2.99 and 3.99 Euros.)

Love this light fixture!
This is one store that I highly suggest visiting if you find yourself journeying through Hannover. It’s two stops from the main station, hop off the u-bahn at Lister Meile and it’s about a block from there at Wedekindplatz 3. I wasn’t able to locate a website address for Esplanade, however you can contact them directly for store hours. Tel. (05 11) 62 79 95

Even the views from the store window are beautiful – I love the architecture in this district.
German bread boards – typical in households here. (you can create a sandwich on these and then use it as your plate).

(images from decor8, click on them for larger view)

Posted in Shop Tours, shopping, travel on September 26, 2006

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

Shopping San Francisco: Hayes Valley

By: Anh-Minh Le, decor8 West Coast Contributor
Learn more about Anh-Minh here.

Although this area used to be known for the opera and symphony, in recent years, there has been an explosion of boutiques and galleries. On just a three-block stretch of Hayes Street you?ll find some of the coolest furniture and houseware shops in the city. (No chains are in sight.) Starting at Hayes and Franklin Streets, we?ll work our way westward towards Laguna Street…

Scandinavian Details – 364 Hayes + terrific online store, too. 20% discount offered, click here for details.

One of the newer storefronts to open on Hayes is Scandinavian Details ? which, as its name implies, carries all sorts of Scandinavian goods (as well as those from other parts of the world.) Founder Kristina Runske actually makes several trips to Scandinavia every year to bring the latest and greatest designs to San Francisco. Now that it?s summer and I?ve got the gardening bug, the Appelsiini water can ($28) and Sagaform gardening sets (available for kids and adults) are high on my list of things to buy.

Scandinavian Details

Rose and Radish – 460 Gough

Just off of Hayes (barely) is Rose and Radish, a flower/home accessories shop filled with lots of beautiful glass and ceramic pieces. (In the middle of the space is a super-cool cable-suspended table that I might try to recreate in my house.)

Rose and Radish

Friend – 401 Hayes + online.

Across the street from Rose and Radish, you?ll find Friend ? which carries the usual modern designers (Alessi, Kartell, Eames, Mud Australia, Herman Miller), as well as local folks who have made a name for themselves (Pablo lighting, Heath ceramics, Publique Living). As you might expect with a place called Friend, the staff is very friendly and helpful here.


Find – 425 Hayes + an online store is in the works; sign up on their website to be notified of its launch.

With 4,500 square feet, find has plenty of space to split between furniture (like designs from rhubarb) and apparel. The front/most of the store has sofas, tables, beds, etc., while the way-back section carries clothing (including many local, independent designers).

Flight001 – 525 Hayes or online.

Flight001 is worth checking out even if you don?t have any travel coming up! Most of the store?s real estate is devoted to bags and luggage, but you can also find books, wallets and a good selection of Lomo cameras. (Psst: They carry Orla Kiely goodies, too.)

Psst: Interesting tip. Why do they call themselves Flight001? “For almost 40 years, Pan Am’s Flight 001 ruled all westbound air travel with a flight that originated in San Francisco and then hopped around the globe, stopping in Honolulu, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Delhi, Beirut, Istanbul, Frankfurt, London, and finally landing in New York 48 hours after its first take-off. Flight 001 was a seamless experience.”

Flight 001

Lavish – 540 Hayes + online store coming soon!

Lavish is the perfect shop if you?re looking for adorable baby gifts or home accessories. My absolutely favorite thing in the store is Bishop Lennon?s collection of alphabet paintings. But those Lotta Jansdotter and Hable Construction products are darn cute, too.


Propeller – 555 Hayes

From large-scale furnishings, lots of antiques, and gorgeous home accents (pillows, paintings, vases), Propeller is chock-full of good stuff. You must check out the X-Pand dining table, which ? you guessed it ? is expandable, but with no leaves! The center is designed like an accordion, so it expands/contracts to fit your needs. Brilliant.

Zonal – 568 Hayes

If you?re going for that eclectic mix in your home, Zonal is just the place to shop. Antiques and collectibles can be found alongside contemporary furniture and accessories. I?m more drawn to the former category of goods at Zonal, especially the old street signs.


Alabaster – 597 Hayes

Alabaster?s tagline is, ?Treasures for the Home,? and that sums up the store pretty well. It’s a haven for Vintage Modern lovers. The boutique is filled with gorgeous vessels, lamps and serving pieces. French bath products, Italian accessories, books and jewelry can also be purchased at Alabaster. They offer interior design services for the locals, too.


When you need a break from the shopping, Hayes Green is the perfect resting spot. In addition to tables and chairs for hanging out, you?ll find a jungle gym to climb all over, too. And if you get hungry, you?re in luck: Hayes Valley is home to some wonderful eateries (including Citizen Cake, Absinthe, Suppenkuche).

Related posts:
Shopping San Francisco: The Mission
Shopping San Francisco: Oakland
Shopping San Francisco: Burlingame

(images from stores cited above)

Posted in guest bloggers, Shop Tours, shopping, travel on July 20, 2006

Designers Guild Sale @ Marshall Fields, Chicago

decor8 contributing writer, Anh-Minh Le, wrote in with a tip for readers in Chicago. So Chicago dwellers and visitors, listen up!

“I know you’re also a big fan of Designers Guild, so I thought you might want to let your readers know that there’s a good chance the Marshall Fields in Chicago will be getting rid of their D.G. department soon. I was there this past weekend (it’s the only D.G. “store” in America, apparently) and was thrilled that most of the goods were on sale. But sadly, the sales associate explained to me that the D.G. merchandise just isn’t selling very well and she anticipates that it will be gone in the near future. She advised that I should keep checking back because the markdowns will continue. Eventually, they’ll only carry D.G. products online; not in store.”

Thanks for the huge tip and the great photos, Anh-Minh!

I seriously need to book a trip to Chicago…

By the way, have you checked out Anh-Minh’s blog? Check out her recent post – a glimpse of the latest “Go International” designer hitting Target racks in the Fall…

(images copyright Anh-Minh Le 2006)

Posted in guest bloggers, Shop Tours, shopping, travel on July 06, 2006


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