Californian abodes can emulate the relaxing, laid-back atmosphere of the tropics with the island-inspired, eco-friendly home accoutrements found at Element Home Furnishings. Many of the items in the shop's unique collection were imported from exotic locales or supplied by local businesses. Multicolored flip-flops, banana-leaf journals, and scented candles immediately evoke vacations on the beach, and a selection of artwork invites a second look with signs made of surfboards and vibrant paintings of Hawaiian landscapes. The shop's furniture show room unveils beds and tables constructed out of sustainable materials, such as plantation-grown mahogany and teak, and towering divider screens made of bamboo wrestled from the jowls of a panda.
Since 1975, Helm of Sun Valley has outfitted outdoor enthusiasts with seasonal supplies, rentals, and gear from brand-name manufacturers. Prepare for a snow- surmounting winter with a trove of cold-weather essentials ($20+), including gloves, socks, hats, and metronomes that keep chattering teeth on a steady beat. Ski- and snowboard-rental packages ($20+) equip thrill seekers for the slopes, whereas thorough tune-ups ($35) and an array of other services ready personal planks for airborne adventures. Patrons can also mine the store's racks for specialty items such as snowboarding pants ($100+), or attempt to impress neighbors and fanciful pool floats with high-end outdoor furniture for summer months.
After spending years as a salesman for top mattress lines, Steve Shore needed a new mattress himself. Rather than opt for a steep employee discount on one of the mattresses he sold, the enterprising Mr. Shore collected various natural materials and had them assembled into a mattress that met his exacting specifications: a comfy sleep cushion made with no potentially toxic components. The result was such an improvement over the big-name mattresses he sold that Mr. Shore and his son eventually decided to produce a line of organic mattresses based on the prototype, on which Mr. Shore slept soundly for more than a decade.
Now, the Shore men sell their mattresses under the Eco-Cloud name in The Natural Mattress Store. Made from high-quality steel coils topped with natural latex, Eco-Cloud mattresses resist accumulating allergens and nightmare blueprints and retain their shape and support for years. Organic wool and cotton covers help keep sleepers cool and snug in bed by deflecting body heat and wicking away moisture. Each Eco-Cloud mattress comes with a 12-year, nonprorated warranty. In addition to the Eco-Cloud line, The Natural Mattress Store carries more than 20 organic mattresses, as well as eco-friendly, solid wood bedroom furniture from Pacific Rim Woodworking, Bedworks of Maine, and Vermont Furniture Designs.
The Futon Shop specializes in organic convertibles. Aside from raising their futons in free-range pastures, they pull this off with 100% chemical-free mattresses stuffed with USDA-certified organic cotton, pure Dunlop natural latex, and soy-based foam. Best of all, each of their memory foams and gels are handmade in San Francisco, cutting down on The Futon Shop's carbon footprint by eliminating lengthy shipping journeys.
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of “hard-to-find tools,” and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone’s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.
These glossy, 7"x9" white ceramic plaques not only cute-ify their corner of the wall, they make a handy reference when a baby once again forgets his or her name. Proud parents and proud friends of proud parents can choose the shape, font, and text color for the name plaque and the particular polka-dot bow that is used to hang the keepsake on the bedroom wall or the false trapdoor-trigger candlestick. The $36 value of this deal can also be applied toward other items on the site, such as a clay pet paw print ($50), garden stones ($70–$90), and full-on imprinted plaques ($55).