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.
Granted six Gold Awards in 2011 by Santa Cruz Weekly, Stripe Design Group provides a halfway house for one-of-a-kind handpicked goods, including locally made edibles, international houseware finds, and vintage furnishings. Liven up tea time with a robin’s-egg blue creamer pitcher ($16), crumpet-coating Serendipity jam ($10) created by a mother-daughter team, and the scandalous news that you’re switching to coffee. The Magellan’s Voyage necklace ($25), constructed from a vintage compass, grants exclusive access to due north, and the white ceramic egg rack ($14) stylishly houses a dozen eggs as they wait to fulfill their omelet destinies.
Santa Cruz Core has a staff of trainers, yoga instructors, dietitians, massage therapists, and fitness instructors who help clients get and stay in shape with a wide range of wellness services and fitness classes. Their team is committed to creating a community of wellness and to helping others achieve optimal health. They also work with clients who are rehabbing an injury, looking to increase their overall performance, or hoping to change their body.
Glenn Young studied art at Santa Clara University before serving as a photographer in the Peace Corps in The Gambia. Upon his return, he founded Artscapes, where he funnels his 20 years of professional photography and framing experience into art preservation. His clientele includes private collectors as well as museums such as the DeSaisset Museum and the San Jose Museum of Art. And to stay at the forefront of art preservation, he learns best practices and advanced techniques from the Western Regional Paper Conservation Laboratory, where paper cloning was invented.
Glenn pours all this experience and training into leading his team of trained visual artists and craftsmen. The skilled staff takes an individualized approach to framing that relies on museum-quality materials such as hand-wrapped fabric liners, French matting, and UV-filtering plexiglass for long-lasting results. In addition to housing works of art from paintings to photographs in a selection of 2,000 frames, they keep their gallery stocked with antique posters, movie posters, and paintings for elegant home decor.
Porcelanosa’s journey from mom-and-pop design firm to world leader in kitchen and bathware began in 1970 on the Mediterranean coast of Castellon, Spain. Today, the company’s founding family oversees more than 400 showrooms in 70 different countries, exporting the latest in European home design to the rest of the world. Its minimalist, modern designs play on clean lines and muted colors, incorporating elegant accents such natural stone bathtubs or rectified porcelain tile, which mimics the Carrara marble used to build the Pantheon, sculpt Michelangelo's David, and construct the world's first paperweight. Its engineered hardwood flooring draws eyes to smooth planks of white oak in a spectrum of stains, vying for attention against tiled mosaics made of stone, ceramic, or brick.
In addition to turning kitchens and bathrooms into walk-in works of art, Porcelanosa adheres to its founding principles of care for the environment and reducing ecological impact throughout its production chain, using water recycling and gas-burning technologies at its plants to reduce its carbon footprint.
The archival specialists at Willow Glen Art & Frame have occupied the same Lincoln Avenue storefront for more than 35 years, and their dedication to the craft remains evident in the way they eschew standard gallery framing techniques in favor of fully customized picture frames. Knowing that each unhung canvas that enters their store is someone’s precious heirloom or priceless work of art, the framers take care to consult with customers before suggesting wood, metal, or acrylic styles to best complement the object. Every one-of-a-kind frame comes into being with the assistance of computer-guided mat-cutting technology and glass that protects against harsh UV waves, ensuring that still-life paintings of grapes do not dry into raisins over the years.