Local hero: Neeko boutique

Posted by Lauran

A fresh and one-of-a-kind boutique has opened just two blocks from our office. Neeko (“named for my alter ego” says owner Ash Ford) offers just the right mix of affordable fashion, unique handmade jewelry, and other fun goodies.

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Ash carefully collects unique items from across the country, sourcing from etsy sellers and other independent designers/artists. The jewelry selection is unbelievable, completely on trend while also feeling exclusive. You can also find cute pillows, plants and ceramics for your home.

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The clothing is hip yet accessible, with styles to fit just about any age and body type.

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Neeko was just included in Racked.com’s “Best of East Bay Shopping” feature, and we can see why! It’s a pleasant shop where you are sure to find a new party dress, your best friend’s birthday present, or a housewarming gift.

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Stop by Neeko at 2505 San Pablo in Berkeley, and tell Ash (that’s her, above) that Visual Jill sent you! You’ll be happy you did.

Flora Grubb—flowers, foliage and fantasy!

One of our favorite places to gather inspiration is Flora Grubb Gardens, located in the BayView neighborhood of San Francisco. Not just a garden center, this place is a wonderland of fantastic foliage, creative plant displays, and comfortable gathering zones.

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If you want a vertical garden, this is the place to go! They have a wide variety of shapes and sizes—including wild unmanicured rectangles, neat succulent squares, and even letters.

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And oh, the color you’ll see here! From the citron painted wall to the bright pots and saturated Fermob furniture, it’s a kaleidoscope of color.

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We especially like Flora Grubb’s ideas for incorporating plants in rather unusual places. Got an old car hanging out in your yard? Turn it into a garden!
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Here’s an idea that’s more realistic for most of us: remove the board at the center of your table and replace it with a tray of succulents. It’s a permanent centerpiece.

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Speaking of succulents, you won’t find a better selection of them (and their close cousins, the cactus) anywhere in the Bay Area.

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Flora Grubb Gardens is a not-to-be-missed destination for gardening enthusiasts as well as brown-thumbed design lovers. Did I forget to mention the coffee bar inside too?

Photographs by Lauren Hosmer

Art by Harry Gruenert in new formats!

Great news for art lovers everywhere: One of our favorite local artists, Harry Gruenert, is now making his art available in new formats.

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We have been lucky to showcase Harry’s original paintings in many of our staged houses over the past two years, as seen in this dining room below.

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Harry’s abstract paintings feature amazing textured layers and color blends that complement most interior styles—especially modern.

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Now clients can purchase Harry’s work in several different formats:

• Gallery wrapped canvas prints (UV laminated and mounted, ready to hang). Prices start at $228 for an 8″x12″ canvas.

• Museum quality archival inkjet prints on fine art rag and baryta papers. Prices vary depending on type of paper and size.

• Museum quality archival inkjet prints on resin-coated and enhanced matte papers. Prices vary depending on type of paper and size.

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Custom mounting and framing is also available. We have samples of the canvas and paper prints to share with our clients. For more information and to see the great selection of abstracts and photography, please visit harrysprints.

Cool store: LeKube in Rockridge

When you walk in LeKube on College Avenue, the first thing that hits you is all the color. Then you notice all the shapes and textures.

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Bold paintings by Mark Petersen

 Le Kube is described as “a home design store with a unique collection of French modern and American mid-century vintage pieces to enhance any home decor”. The owner, Romain Saide, is a French designer and entrepreneur who recently relocated from Paris to San Francisco. The studio is also home to furniture design team Sobu, who sell their handmade teak furniture and artwork there.

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LeKube Studio represents a collective of European designers specializing in unique interior furnishings and one-of-a-kind home items, inspired by mixing dramatic focal pieces with simple lines and bold colors, and combining vintage items with French contemporary designs.

Pillows . . . vases . . . tables . . . paintings . . . furniture . . . you’ll find it all here!

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This Vertigo lamp by Constance Guisset is a standout piece. A smaller version of it is available at  MOMA store in New York.

The next time you’re in Rockridge, stop by Le Kube, say hi to Romain, and look around at the wonderful wares. It’s a treat for design lovers. 5451 College Avenue, Oakland

Fab finds on Fourth street

Whenever we need a creativity boost (or a cute new necklace!), we head over to Fourth street, which is just 1/2 mile from our offices in Berkeley. Fourth street is filled with cool stores that offer every kind of inspiration—from unique shoes, to paper craft accessories, to vivid pillows, to DIY books, to Indian block-printed tunics . . . you’ll find it all here.

Our latest treasures:

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Neon kicks from Rabat Shoes, one of our favorite shops for special, funky and fun shoes.

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Woven baskets and a new design book from Anthropologie (a great source for all kinds of craft, cooking and decorating books).

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Beautiful hand loomed blankets at Nest, a magical emporium of jewelry, homewares and trinkets from around the world.

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More treasures from Nest!

Other stores to be sure to check out on Fourth: Castle in the Air, which offers magical crafting classes and materials; Convert, selling cool clothes and shoes for men and women; and The Gardener, the number-one source for organic home decor and rustic lifestyle items in the Bay Area. And don’t forget to stop off for some blueberry pancakes from Bette’s Ocean View Diner!