May 31, 2006

To walk into Abode is to take in a satisfying eyeful of what the home furnishings world labels "transitional style," meaning somewhere between traditional and contemporary.

What this label doesn't communicate is that Abode is a showcase for an eclectic line of furniture, home accessories, art and antiques that feels comfortable and inviting without the slightest whiff of self-consciousness. And that's a tough home design act to pull off.

All of the furniture owner Rachel Ortolan has selected for her store is made from solid wood, in the U.S.. In fact much of it hails from California. The scale is most appropriate for regular-sized homes (as opposed to small city apartments), but that's not to say that there isn't still plenty here for us small-space dwellers.

Ortolan's strategy is "something for everyone," and she carries $15 antique depression champagne glasses as well as $3000 solid cherry beds.

Prices are in the medium range, on par with a much larger store like Room and Board. Beds, in iron, cherry, or reclaimed Brazilian wood, range from $600-$3000. Upholstered chairs, which can be customized with a wide range of fabrics or leathers, go for $600-$3000, and sofas for $1800-$3000. Occasional tables are priced from $300-$1500, and cheerful, graphic quilts from the likes of Denyse Schmidt, the Chandler Collection, and the French company Mas d'Ousvan go for $270-$350.

Ortolan has recently added a new baby section in a small loft area above the second floor. It's stocked with baby quilts from Denyse Schmidt and colorful wooden nursery furniture like the turquoise shelves and hand-painted high chair ($198) from a Mexican artist, both pictured below.

Abode's inventory changes often and includes antiques and one-of-a-kind artisan pieces. Special items on the floor right now include original window grills rescued from old buildings in Tunisia ($195-$695), which customers are making into coffee tables, pot racks, and garden gates.

Abode also always features art from Bay Area artists, including acrylic paintings priced from $60-$1600, and mirrors from North Bay artist Deborah Childress, created through a multi-step process that involves hand finishing molds made from botanicals. Ortolan, who's been at Abode for seven years, says that in all that time she's never tired of looking at them.

Abode's website is currently just a calling card. Visit the store in Half Moon Bay for the full effect.

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