Thursday, September 12, 2019

We're back!

Welcome back. It's nice to see you. If you've been here before you know this blog originally originated from our Laguna Beach boutique, Stephen Frank Garden & Home. Well now the show has gone on the road. The store closed several years ago and I recently lost my love and my partner Frank Schaffer. After sitting dormant for those years the blog is getting kicked back into gear. I'll still be writing stories featuring beautiful decor, travels (some recent and some from the past), architecture, and of course, Frank's favorite, cooking and dining.

Here's a little recap for those that wondered where we went and a bit of history for the newcomers. If you look at the last post from 2016 you'll see we were announcing the closing of the store. As we were anticipating, the store closed at the end of May that year. After the closing we immediately decamped to Palm Springs. Our plan was to move to the desert full time but we first wanted to rent our house at the coast and then rent a house in the desert for a couple of years. We had had a vacation home in Palm Springs for many years but after living on the coast for over 15 years we both wanted to make sure that year-round desert living was going to work for us. Before we knew it we were hooked and made the decision that we'd become year round desert dwellers. In Summer of 2018 we found a beautiful home and closed escrow the first of October.
2019 would bring a momentous occasion: Frank's 80th Birthday. We planned a special birthday brunch with dozens of our dearest friends, many flying in from all over the country. It was an amazing day and Frank couldn't have been happier. Unfortunately his health had already started to deteriorate and he went into the hospital just a few days later. He was in the hospital a little over a week and then in rehab for another ten days. He came home, but only for a short while. Within weeks he was back in again. This time for the last time. On April 11th Frank succumbed to a combination of heart & pulmonary diseases. It happened so quickly he never knew what happened.

A few weeks later we got together to say farewell to Frank. So many friends came to show their support and to celebrate his life at our home with music, food, and drink. It's just what he would have wanted. Not long after that I embarked on the first leg of the FRANK SCHAFFER FINAL WORLD TOUR™ spreading his "love" across several of our favorite spots throughout the country. I'll be posting some of those stories as well as further stories of the tour as they occur.

Life goes on and so must we. I hope to see you around on here. I'm keeping the "Stephen Frank" name for the blog. It has a nice ring to it and I want to continue to tell the stories that Frank used to tell, the stories of our life together, and more dialogue on the things that I think make life worth living. So once again, welcome. Stick around.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Time to say goodbye

It's been a wonderful run. We've loved every minute of it. But after 8 1/2 years it's time to close the doors. We've tried unsuccessfully to renew our lease with the management company that runs our building but they're unbending in their refusal to negotiate.

We've had a new management company for the past year. Over the past several months we have been in a very contentious position trying to renew our lease with them. They've refused to budge an inch from their original proposal. On top of that they have hit us with a bill for a 40% shortfall in our maintenance and management fees for last year - fees that were previously agreed to and were adequate to cover running the building by prior management companies for the past 8 years. Unfortunately that makes it untenable for us to continue in business - at least at our current location.

Friday, April 1 (April Fool's day - how appropriate) starts our 2 month long liquidation. Everything in the store will be on sale. A majority of our stock will start at 20% off. Most of the seasonal items and furniture will be at even greater discounts. As the weeks go on the discounts go deeper. We need to be out of the space by the end of May.

We're so appreciative of all the support of our community. We couldn't have picked a more faithful group of customers. We're so proud that they have become our friends. We'll miss you all.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Shopping and Sales

It's that time again. Summer is almost over. We've spent the past few weeks on buying trips looking for great new things to tempt you this fall. We have a new line of outdoor pillows from Loloi, great new pieces from Beatriz Ball - including ceramics to match her metalware, diffusers from Lafco, plus two imaginative and modern collections from Michael Aram. There's lots more to come and we'll keep you updated as new items arrive.
Before we get to that we have our Once a Year Sale starting Friday, September 4, but we're giving the followers of our blog and emails a special preview one day early. There will be discounts throughout the store. A lot we can't advertise but look for 25-50% off Italian Garden Pottery from Vietri, special offers on all dinnerware patterns, and up to 50% off on table linens from Le Jacquard Francais, Artiga, and Beauvillé. All are chandeliers are reduced - some up to half off. And of course lots of decorative items. Check out the sale page on our website or, better yet, stop in the store and get first dibs on some great deals.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Love Wins - Our story

As most readers of this blog and most regulars at our store know, Stephen Frank is actually two separate people: Stephen Jacobs & Frank Schaffer. With today's ruling from the Supreme Court recognizing the right of all couples to be married we wanted to share our story.
It all started in September of 1981 in a small West Hollywood nightclub, The Rose Tattoo.  The Rose Tattoo was a wonderful restaurant and piano bar in the lowest level of the Studio One complex. The piano bar happened to be a favorite hangout of both of us and then that one fateful night it became the meeting place that would change our lives. A drink or two and our history began.
The following morning, what could have been a casual Sunday Brunch, turned into an over 3 hour conversation that touched on everything in our lives and deep into our souls. Despite a rather large age difference (17 years) we knew we were meant to be together.
The years moved on. We set up house together. We had pets. We made friends. We traveled the world. Again and again. We moved here and there and back again. We bought property together. We invested our money together. We cared for each other when we were sick. We committed our lives to each other. The companies we worked for recognized our partnership and provided spousal benefits. We wore rings to signify our union. Everyone we knew, knew of us only as a couple. For all practical purposes we were married.
Then something changed. June 16, 2008 the State of California started issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. We talked about marriage then but didn't really see the need. We had made all necessary provisions in our life to protect each other financially. After nearly 27 years (!) did we really need a piece of paper from the state to validate our partnership? But just as quickly as marriage equality came, so did a scary ballot proposition that would deny the right to marry, not only to us, but our friends, associates, and a significant part of the population.
The day before election day 2008 we were driving home from lunch with friends. We looked at each other and at the same time said, "Let's do it." So we headed to the Laguna Hills Civic Center, the nearest marriage office in Orange County. If we passed up the right that had been granted us then we had no excuse to protest if that same right was taken away. So there we were in shorts and tee shirts filling out the forms. We gave the clerk our check, he grabbed a robe, and we proceeded to a (beautiful) chamber where he was to perform the ceremony. When asked if we had rings, we took off the rings we had always worn and handed them to the clerk. At this point, it's too hard to put into writing the emotions that took over. Here we were in front of total stranger, laying bare our lifelong commitment to each other. The tears didn't stop. Even writing this today, nearly seven years from that moment and nearly 34 years from our first meeting, the emotions are still there. And the joy and the love.
We're grateful to the Supreme Court today  for recognizing the validity of marriage for all.

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.  - Justice Anthony Kennedy

Monday, October 13, 2014

It's Time for our October Tabletop Event

It's October and that means it's time for our annual tabletop event. We've have a whole array of events coming up with the highlight a visit from Vietri founder and CEO, Susan Gravely.

With her endless enthusiasm and spirit, Susan will recount the story of Vietri’s beginnings and share Italian style and decorating ideas. Any Vietri items that are either purchased at the event or pre-ordered at the store
can be signed by Susan and inscribed with special Italian phrases. We're also offering a gift with purchase for those who buy Vietri items leading up to and at the event. Guests who spend $100 will receive a Vietri Old St. Nick cork stopper and those who spend $200 or more will receive a Vietri canapé plate in the Renna or Old St. Nick pattern in addition to the cork stopper. As a special bonus one lucky attendee will receive a signed Vietri Lastra Red Tavern pitcher. Any customer who's already bought Vietri since August 15 is automatically entered. Anyone attending the event can fill out an entry blank for a chance to win.

Come celebrate in the tradition of All Things Italian!

Next up is our annual Le Jacquard Francais trunkshow and sample sale. We have over 100 tablecloths and runners from renowned manufacturer Le Jacquard Francais, all at 30% off. Many of these styles are no longer available in the United States and once they're sold they gone for good. Stop in early for the best selection. Quite a few have already been snapped up by savvy collectors.

Lastly we have our annual dinnerware stock-up program. For a limited time we're offering discounts on all our ceramic dinnerware lines. 10% off 4 matching pieces, 15% off 8 matching pieces, and 20% off 12 matching pieces. Any serving pieces bought at the same time qualify for the same discount level. This is a great time to complete your existing sets or get something brand new for the holidays. Special orders are included in this offer. Due to our relationship with our dinnerware manufacturers we aren't allowed to offer this special online. Click here to shop online. There you will find the codes to get these great discounts. Or if you'd prefer, just give us a call at the store and we can take care of everything over the phone.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

It's time again for our Once a Year Sale

It's that time of year again - time for our Once a Year Sale. This is our one big sale of the year and we have markdowns throughout the store. All Vietri garden pottery is 25% off and all Fortunata Italian pottery is at least 20% with some pieces up to 50% off. We have beautiful terra cotta pottery from Wakefield and Guy Wolff also at 50% off.

 All our in-stock Match Italian pewter candlesticks are discounted. Also, our Vieti Italian pottery lamps.

Select pieces of dinnerware from Juliska are up to half off as well. We have special pricing on most of our stock of Jan Barboglio. Every one of our chandeliers is also on sale - with markdowns too low to print. We have a great selection of beautiful vases, desk accessories, and art objects. We're discontinuing Colonial Candles. All remaining candles are only 99 cents each! We even have a huge selection on one of our most famous designers - 25% off his 25th anniversary pieces.
Selections are limited and most items are one-of-a-kind. Feel free to call or email us with any questions.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

2015 Comes Early

Our 2015 Calendar Towels are here!

Regular shoppers to Stephen Frank know that Fall brings the arrival of the Le Jacquard Francais calendar towel. Every year these limited edition French Tea Towels sell out. We've doubled our orders for this year but still anticipate running out before the holidays. If you've not experienced the luxury of Le Jacquard you owe it to yourself to indulge in their tight cotton weave and glorious colors. Each year the pattern is different. For a very special hostess gift use these beautiful linens as a wrap for a bottle of wine or one of our fragrant boxed candles.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Celebrate the 4th with special pricing on our Red, White & Blue Pottery

The pottery may be Italian but the spirit is All-American. Celebrate the 4th with these beautiful rustic garden pots from Italy. Special pricing through July 6th. Follow this link to see our selection.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

More Daylight - More Shopping

It's time for summer. The sun is out later and so are we. From now until Labor Day we'll be open Monday through Saturday, 10am to 9pm. Our Sunday hours are 10am to 6pm. Remember we have free parking behind the store so you don't have to worry about Downtown Parking. Enjoy the summer. We're so lucky to be able to spend it in Laguna.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Gift Ideas for Mom

Mother's Day is just around the corner and we have a great array of gift ideas. First off we recommend something from Julia Knight's new Tulip Collection. In pale shades of Kiwi Green, Snow White, and the new Ice Pink, the tulip brings a beautiful touch to Julia's extensive flower collection. Pair with the new small Lily Pad tray for the perfect desert service.

How about a teacup or desert plate set from one of our Vietri patterns. The delicate shapes of Incanto bring rustic sophistication to any table. Our moms always love Michael Aram. You can't go wrong with any of his pieces, from Black Orchid to Pomegranate, every item tells an amazing store.

A ready standby is always a beautifully scented candle or diffuser. Our Agraria diffusers are the best in their class. Pure oils in 8 amazing fragrances. Aquiesse makes our new favorite candle. Soy based, clean burning, and wonderful scents.

Check out the web site or stop in the store and we'll get you all set up. Mom will never be happier!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day

To help celebrate Earth Day we're offering a special on our Garden Pottery. Buy any piece from our beautiful collection of Italian made rustic garden pots and receive a second of equal or lesser value for 1/2 price. Since we rarely offer any discounts on these pieces this offer is really special. Multiple shapes and sizes in a whole array of colors. We still have many designs that have been retired by Vietri and are highly collectible. If you can't make it to the store, check out our web site or give us a call and we'll take care of everything for you.

We're back!

Welcome back. It's nice to see you. If you've been here before you know this blog originally originated from our Laguna Beach boutiq...