Eleven years ago this week, 309 South Cedros Avenue was abuzz … delivery trucks unloading, display cabinets being installed, artwork going up, computers booting … excitement was in the air! SoLo was about to open its doors!
SoLo was the brainchild of Carole Carden, owner of Del Mar’s beloved and sorely missed Esmerelda Books & Coffee. Carole and I had boutiques in the Cedros Trading Company, which was a collective of about forty merchants, previously occupying the building that houses SoLo now.
In 2000, the building was sold and the Trading Company dissolved by spring of 2001. The new owner of this 10,000 sf warehouse enlisted the services of acclaimed architect Jennifer Luce to “gut” the warehouse and build it out to accommodate his landscape design studio and a retail operation to front the space. He then approached the owner of his favorite bookstore, asking her to bring an outpost of Esmerelda to Cedros Avenue. But with the book business suffering, Carole had a better idea. Take the standout merchants from the Cedros Trading Company (all looking for new outlets), bring in a few notable newcomers, and form a more selective collective of about eight merchants to offer a truly unique and diversified shopping experience. The result is SoLo, the standout of the bustling Cedros Design District for eleven years now!
The 4,000 sf space is anchored by Carole’s perfectly curated art/design/architecture/lifestyle book selections. SoLo offers diverse styles of home furnishings and accessories, antiques and art, cards and gifts, soaps and candles, toys … something for everyone. Most of our core group is still intact and I’m so proud to be a part of the talented and creative team that is SoLo!
Racing season is in full swing here in Del Mar, so it was perfect timing finding these cool antique books of racing forms! Picked up in Paris, Kentucky, these bound volumes archive races from all of the active racetracks during 1909-1912 … Churchill Downs, Pimlico, Juarez …
Ooooh, couldn’t wait to share my newest find! Arriving in the shop this week is this fabulous antique cobbler’s bench. Beautifully crafted with dovetail joints, it’s rare to find these early benches so sturdy and complete with all fourteen drawers perfectly intact. Many of these older pieces can tend to have a cutesy country look to them, but the clean lines and apothecary-type drawers make this one feel more rustic industrial. And in my opinion, it has just the right amount of wear & tear.
Probably dating from the mid 1700’s to late 1800’s, I’m struggling to pin down its age, as I haven’t come across another example quite like it. I always learn a lot from my customers, so if you’re knowledgeable about this primitive piece, please share!
My favorite color has been grey as long as I can remember. Thirty plus years ago, I took my bright blue Karmann Ghia to Earl Scheib to have it painted dove grey (sacrilege, I’m sure, to classic VW enthusiasts, but I thought it looked really classy!).
Lately, I’ve been trying hard to introduce color into my wardrobe and home décor … a bit of a challenge for me. But this huge vintage classroom map of California, looming over my shoulder here in my office, serves as an inspiration to bring a little vibrance into my life. I love the retro palette! I’m sure that time and exposure have softened the map’s original hues, and that’s fine with me. I can never imagine using all these colors in one space, but a little bit here and there couldn’t hurt. Right?
I’m thrilled to be carrying these unique vintage coin and leather bracelets made by my friend and quintessential Texan, Michael Malone.
A master hatmaker and leather craftsman from the Texas hill country, Michael’s hats have been featured in movies such as Quigley Down Under, Lonesome Dove, Tombstone, and The Good Ol’ Boys. While his guitar straps are used by such talents as Little Feat, Bonnie Raitt, Lyle Lovett, Jerry Jeff Walker, Emmylou Harris and The Rolling Stones.
These cool unisex bracelets are created from domed vintage world coins, skirting leather handstamped with old saddle stamps and rubbed antique finishes. Fashionable on their own, they also stack beautifully with other bracelets.
On a visit to a flea market in Buenos Aires 15 years ago, one of my vendors came across a family selling a collection of beautiful vintage seltzer bottles from the 1930’s. He bought all that he could carry, bonded with the family and promised to stay in touch. Back in the states, he showed them to designers and sold out of them immediately. Realizing the demand for these cool pieces, he contacted the family about getting more. On his next visit to Argentina, he decided to set the family up with their own business, collecting and restoring the bottles. He helped them learn to use the Internet, open a bank account, take orders by fax or email, etc., thus developing their own local enterprise. He then buys the finished products from the family and resells them to customers in the U.S. Since then, he’s worked with many families all over Argentina, fostering small business development and recycling classic pieces from the past.
For years, I’ve lusted over these amazing seltzer pendant lights and finally got to use them in a design project. Made from original metal-clad Argentine bottles, the nozzles removed, bottoms sheared off and fitted with UL approved electrical components, these lights create an industrial statement with a warm authenticity. Installed over the bar at Zel’s Del Mar, my favorite local café, I get to enjoy them regularly and love sharing the story behind them.
I currently have limited stock of the pendant lights available at my shop.
When I need to take a breath, I walk around the corner from my home studio to a tiny canyon rim park where, among the coastal desert plantings, the Del Mar Garden Club installed beautiful stone benches engraved with inspirational quotes.