Nov 9, 2006

Had a girlfriend not told me about Zschoche [pronounced shock-ee] I would have never made the trek to Balboa Island in Newport Beach, but was it well worth it! The very stylish owners, Allison and her new husband Michael have an extraordinary eye for great home and unique items. After talking with them a bit I learned that Michael has a gallery down the street featuring fine art, vintage restored cars and motorcycles and that Allison began working in home wares when she was remodeling her own place.

When I asked about their approach to buying they said they stay away from the L.A. Mart and seek out smaller vendors and independent artisans to maintain the quality and uniqueness that they want for their customers, generally the litmus test is if they would take it home for themselves.

Although their store focuses on home wares they also carry jewelry, small gifts, books, pottery and things that make up good living. I was immediately drawn to their enormous collection of hand-stitched pillows by designer Judy Ross. After inquiring about them, Allison said that they are a great seller for the store and they have in fact surpassed quantities that Barneys carries of her line.

While poking around the store abit, I came upon these interesting "steel balls" under a table that varied in size from a large grapefruit to a large bowling ball. When I inquired about their use, Allison let a bit of her spitfire personality through and with a devilish grin on her face said "well every girl needs a set of steel balls now doesn't she?" Seriously though, she told me they could be used in the garden or in clusters in the home. This past spring when she and Michael married [in no-less-than Frank Sinatra's former home in Palm Springs] they put them in the pool and let them float around adding shine and Palm Springs glimmer to the event.

Even if you are a trek away from Newport Beach I highly suggest going south for the day and make a trip out of it. Have lunch on the water in Newport or Corona Del Mar and stop by the store for a peek. If nothing else, get on their mailing list for their unique catalog that incorporates both home wares, fine Art, and Michael's Motor collection. One of Michael's tid-bits was featured in their Spring Catalog...a 1997 Ferrari F310b 'former Michael Shummacher car 3rd place finisher in the 1997 Italian Grand Prix' for $2,000,000 along side earrings and books. Think how happy both you and your 'fuel channel' loving man will be when you drag him shopping and Michael can chat with him about things with motors while you browse.

If you can't break away then visit them online with their new store [in progress so check back often] and If you're in Arizona you are very lucky... their second store will be opening early next year in Scottsdale.

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