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Best of the East Bay - Shops



Editor Pick

The soon to open Elephant Pharmacy will oblige Walnut Creek’s wellness-minded community with a selection of the purest beauty products. Our obsession du jour? Jurlique, a line that clears and calms the skin with a fusion of active herbal ingredients; we recommend the phenomenal Pure Rosewater Freshener Spray. This fab pharmacy also offers alternative remedies, natural foods and wines, yoga and Pilates garb, and green dry cleaning for your clothes.


Elephant Pharmacy, 1388 S. California Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 658-5300; 1607 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, (510) 549-9200, www.elephantpharmacy.com. —Stephanie Simons

Editor Pick

Dublin’s Cribs, Kids and Teens offers Pottery Barn–like furniture at reasonable prices. The store is a blessing for any parent on a mission to find fairytale-inspired canopy or loft beds, bunk beds, dressers, mattresses, car seats, or strollers. Bring your room measurements and the amazingly helpful staff will customize a layout you’ll fall in love with (and they’ll deliver the pieces, pronto).


Cribs, Kids and Teens, 7260 San Ramon Rd., Dublin, (925) 833-2020, www.cribskidsandteens.com. —S.S.

Editor Pick

Congratulations are in order for the residents behind the Lafayette Library and Learning Center project. In two years, they raised $12 million, including an astounding $750,000 from selling used books for 50 cents each.


Planners also developed the Glenn Seaborg Learning Consortium, named in honor of the late Nobel Prize–winning scientist and Lafayette resident. The goal of the consortium is to link under one roof educational resources of places such as the Chabot Space and Science Center, Saint Mary’s College, and the University of California’s Lawrence Hall of Science.

All of that was enough to impress the state, which handed over another $11.9 million. Residents still have some money to raise, but they had enough to start construction on the $43 million library this past April. The state-of-the-art building at First Street and Mount Diablo Boulevard will feature solar panels and recycled materials, so while the library will be providing our kids with a forward-thinking educational resource, it’ll be helping to save the planet, too.

Lafayette Library and Learning Center, www.lafayettelib.com. —Susan Dowdney Safipour

Reader pick

Pet Store
Spoiled pets are clamoring for walks to Scraps Dog Bakery and Nutrition Center. Part pet patisserie, part emporium, here you’ll find healthful, fresh-baked treats for dogs, including birthday cakes and cookies. Other indulgences include bedding, clothing, leashes, carriers, jewelry, shampoos, and dishes. The store’s mini salon offers pet baths by appointment and an in-store groomer on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Scraps Dog Bakery and Nutrition Center, 1528 Locust St., Walnut Creek, (925) 935-2275, www.scrapswalnutcreek.com.

Editor pick

Secret Stash of Bling
Take a whirl through the furnishings showroom at Estates Consignments and you’ll unearth a little-known jewelry salon full of previously owned treasures. Watches and baubles by Cartier, Bulgari, Chanel, Rolex, Patek Phillipe, and Tiffany and Co. are priced at a fraction of retail. You’ll also find rare vintage pieces and a cool collection of loose diamonds. On a recent visit, we fell in love with a pair of shoulder-duster earrings resembling the reasonably priced chandeliers that dangle from the store’s exquisite tin ceiling.
Estates Consignments, 1500 Contra Costa Blvd., Pleasant Hill, (925) 682-6800, www.estatesconsignment.com. —S.S.

Editor pick

Handmade Accoutrements
Gardenseed is anything but garden variety and, for the record, has nothing to do with pruning, planting, or sowing. Owner Robyn Robertson takes great pride in providing shoppers with one-of-a-kind furnishings and accessories, many of them handmade by local artisans.

Although the store is tiny, it takes about 40 minutes to tour the displays—particularly if Robertson is there to delight you with the story behind each one. Among the most darling items are handmade birthday hats, pincushions, wreaths, and vintage leather belts by Lafayette-based Queen Buckle, plus chandeliers produced by Robertson herself.

At the back of the boutique, you’ll find an assortment of gumballs, chewy candies, and other old-fashioned confections to evoke sweet childhood memories.

Gardenseed, 352 Hartz Ave., Danville (925) 838-6481, www.gardenseed.danville.com. —S.S.

Editor pick

Paint Bar
Ecohome Improvement earns two green thumbs up from locals looking to slather their space in gorgeous color. At the store’s paint bar, which is made from recycled glass and reclaimed redwood, you can peruse the seemingly endless array of nontoxic paint swatches while sipping sweet and spicy tea. Friendly mixologists will customize a shade to suit your fancy or emulate a conventional paint shade with zero volatile organic compounds. Complete your healthy home makeover with customized floors crafted from renewable resources like durable cork, bamboo, or natural wood; recycled ceramic tiles for your bathroom; and green-minded cabinetry and countertops for the kitchen.

Ecohome Improvement, 2619 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, (510) 644-3500, www.ecohomeimprovement.com. —Stephanie Simons

Reader pick

Event Planner
Big-time revelers seek out the party prowess of Orinda resident Barbara Llewellyn. Her Oakland-based firm specializes in complete event planning—past parties have ranged from an intimate housewarming to an elaborate 600-guest wedding at the magnificent Oakland Rotunda. Llewellyn will even “create” a secret venue to suit your fancy: She once excavated land in Healdsburg to construct an elaborate mobile stage and dance floor, then set up a fully equipped kitchen, even though the location had no electricity. She then shuttled guests to the lavish soiree on a narrow dirt road. Barbara Llewellyn Catering and Event Planning, 434 25th St., Oakland, (510) 832-1967, www.barbarallewellyn.com.

Event Planner Barbara Llewellyn
Martin Sundberg

More Reader Picks

Antiques Selection
Past Perfect, 1463 Newell Ave., Walnut Creek, (925) 932-5020.

Auto Repair
M Service,
2008 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 932-8744, www.mserviceinc.com.

Bike Shop
Hank and Frank Bicycles, 3377 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 283-2453; 6030 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 654-2453, www.hankandfrankbicycles.com.

Car Wash
Lafayette Car Wash and Detail Center, 3319 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 283-1190.

Susan Foord, 965 Mountain View Dr., Lafayette, (925) 299-7616, www.susanfoordcatering.com.

Chocolate Shop
Leonidas, 1397 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 932-6666, www.leonidas.com.

Chugrad McAndrews, Styled by Ann Tonai

Computer Repair
Portable CIO, 172 Via Serena, Alamo, (925) 552-7953, www.theportablecio.com.

Florali, 2345 Boulevard Cir., Walnut Creek, (925) 934-6877, www.florali.com

Chugrad McAndrews

Furniture Store
Elegant Clutter, 702 Sycamore Valley Rd. W., Danville, (925) 837-1001, www.elegantclutter.com.

Gift Shop
Sage Terrace, 215-D Alamo Plaza, Alamo, (925) 314-9917, www.theterraceshop.com.

Home Accessories
Elegant Clutter, 702 Sycamore Valley Rd. W., Danville, (925) 837-1001, www.elegantclutter.com.

Indie Bookstore
Bonanza Street Books, 1605 Bonanza St., Walnut Creek, (925) 932-2466, www.bonanzastreetbooks.com.

Bonanza Street Books
Courtesy of Bonanza Books

Party/Dj Service
Busta-Groove, www.busta-groove.com.

Pet lodging
Fairy Dog Mother Inn and Day Spa, 934 San Miguel Rd., Concord, (925) 687-8700, www.diablodog.com.

Plant Nursery
Orchard Nursery and Florist, 4010 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 284-4474, www.orchardnursery.com.

Pooch Parlor
ShamPooches, 3151-I Crow Canyon Pl., San Ramon, (925) 806-0647, www.shampooches.us.

Pool and spa service
Aquarius, 1822 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 933-3310, www.poolspapros.com.

Portrait Photography
Gretchen Adams,
(925) 676-7036, www.gretchenadams.com.

Wine Shop
Wine Thieves, 5443 Clayton Rd., Clayton, (925) 672-4003, www.winethieves.com

Wine Thieves, 3401 Mount Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 299-9070 www.winethieves.com

Yarn Shop
Big Sky Luxury Yarns, 3604 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 284-1020.

Library We Can’t Wait to See Open in 2009

Alternative to Pottery Barn Kids

New Pharmacy

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