Retail Therapy


Luxury by the Bay

On the Hunt for High-Dollar Glam Goods

    If you have mad money burning a hole in your pocket, the East Bay’s chock-full of retail spots that’ll do you right when it comes to luxury. Here, a roundup of some of the finest items and services around for your home, garage and body.

Classy European Bedding

Ellington & French

    Nothing really beats the feeling of sliding into a bed covered with gazillion thread count sheets. Except, perhaps, if those sheets are then covered in a hand-painted, one-of-a-kind cotton Italian quilt from this Euro-influenced home boutique. The quilts come in a variety of surprising and vivid color combinations such as red, hot pink and bright yellow, and feature different but related designs on each side. Boutique owner China McKay says there’s always a surprise in the middle—a boutique of hand-painted posies or the like. And at $495 for a queen-sized quilt, this is probably a once-in-a-lifetime purchase for most of us. (King-size available via special order.) 2943 Domingo Ave., Berkeley, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Tue.–Fri.,
10 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat.-Sun., (510) 548-8188,

Spa Treatments

Claremont Resort & Spa

    Treat yourself—and your skin—right with a luxury spa package at our own local luxury resort. Why not take your mind off the economy and play hooky by heading here for an all-day spa experience with the resort’s “Head to Toe” package, which includes a facial, massage, pedicure and manicure, along with all-day access to both the spa and fitness club and a meal at any of the hotel’s eateries. Sleep in, spend the day getting fit inside and out and then cap it all off with the resort’s fantastic nighttime view of the lights of the East Bay.  41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley, 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.-Wed., 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Thu., 9a.m.–9 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m.–9 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Sunday, (510) 843-3000,

Original Art

Giorgi Gallery

    This lovely gallery is just the spot to take in some local art on a sunny day—and what could be more luxurious than experiencing a beautiful piece of art in your own home? In fact, the space here feels more like an artistic soul’s living room than the sterile white space we’ve come to expect from galleries, with lots of windows, jazz music in the air, and the back door open to a sweet little garden that boasts funky sculptures and mismatched seating amidst cheerful red geraniums. A recent visit discovered a gaggle of colorful Northern California landscape paintings on offer for $300–$2,000. 2911 Claremont Ave., Berkeley, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Wed.–Sun., (510) 848-1228,

Custom Fine Jewelry

Christensen Heller Gallery

    It may seem that only the super rich can have the luxury of custom-made fine jewelry. But you may want to rethink that as Jan Christensen-Heller, proprietress of this gallery/jewelry store, not only makes custom jewelry from scratch (including an awesome $75,000 five-carat diamond ring), but also loves to repurpose antique jewelry. Have an heirloom lying around that seems too stuffy for today’s fashions? Christensen-Heller can take those older gemstones and turn them into something new for (at the low end) $1,000. She works collaboratively
with her clients, talking to them about what they like, creating three designs to choose from and then casting the piece in wax before making the objet d’art out of metal. 5829 College Ave., 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Wed.–Sat., noon–5 p.m. Sunday, (510) 655-5952,

Snazzy New (or Slightly Used) Convertible

Mercedes-Benz of Oakland

    So your pores are clean, your living room is bedecked with art, your bed with handmade finery and your fingers with jewels. What could be the missing part of your glam luxury lifestyle? A Benz, natch. To score one, head to this fancy Broadway showroom, pause to get a whiff of that new car smell, and then chat with one of their friendly (and mellow) salespeople. You may find yourself walking away with a sporty $59,000 2008 CLK350 two-door convertible, complete with leather upholstery and all that jazz. Or maybe after all the luxury spending you’ve already done, you’ll feel more comfortable laying down $10,000 less on a slightly used (“pre-owned” in car dealership talk) version from a few years back. Regardless, they both look pretty styling!  2915 Broadway, 8:30 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sunday, (800) 551-8503,

—By Elise Proulx

—Photography by Lori Eanes


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