Designer Monica Zaidman on back patio of her shop. Photos by Annemarie Donkin
Zaidman shows off one of latest items of handmade clothing.
A variety of items for the home and gifts.
Design interior entices visitors to stay a while.
Designer Ann Lombardo on her back patio.
One of Lombardo’s signature custom designed baby clothes.
The back patio with handmade pillows.
Pebbles exterior with signature teepee.
Designer Pauline Young in shop.
Selection of eclectic gift items.
Three eclectic shops on the Boulevard in the center of town—Pebbles, Luv & Sunshine, and Moona Star Collective—embody the unique style of Topanga.
From the road one can easily see the bright rows of colorful women’s tops and frilly girls’ dresses fluttering in the breeze outside of Pebbles, the charming blue-and-pink-striped shop, where there is always a colorful child-size teepee on display.
Inside, an abundance of cuteness overwhelms the senses—shelves of colorful girls’ and boys’ clothes, soft baby things, colorful hats, toys, and adorable gift items everywhere.
Down the steps in the back of the shop are rows of beautiful, soft and feminine looks for women, alongside one-of-a kind handbags, jewelry, and hand-painted scarves.
Outside on the shady patio, gorgeous throw pillows imported from Morocco, Turkey, and India offer a decorator’s dream.
Even the name Pebbles sounds happy, bubbly, and very cool. The women and children’s boutique that first opened in Santa Monica, boasts a second location in Topanga now going into its seventh year.
“We love it here,” said Pebbles founder, Ann Lombardo, shortly after opening her Topanga location in 2012. “It’s different from Santa Monica. People love the novelty.They find it a little more artistic.”
Indeed, since opening in Topanga, Lombardo’s roadside shop has become quite the attraction, offering hip and colorful custom-made clothes for women and children, as well as handmade gifts and jewelry from local artisans.
Lombardo emphasizes that in addition to her own line of children’s clothing, she also offers gifts, hand-painted cards, picture frames, candles, and jewelry by Topanga artists.
Happy and ebullient as her personality, her designs show a love of vibrant color, whimsical embellishments and a surprising and unexpected mix of fabrics and embroidery. With the support of her husband, Vince, Ann opened the original Pebbles as a small boutique on Main Street in Santa Monica in 2004. Ann had her son Lucas the same year, and her daughter Lucy in 2005. Word traveled fast. Pebbles became popular in stylish circles around Los Angeles. In fact, Ann said she can count Julia Roberts, Meg Ryan, Angelica Huston, Halle Berry, Robert Downey, Jr., and Ewan McGregor among her loyal clientele.
Lombardo got her start in retail and design early through the influence of her mother, Carol Ann Hokanson.
“She was the number one dealer in early American antiques in the Southwest and was extremely knowledgeable in Early American quilts and majolica, an early pottery from Spain dating back to the late 17th century,” Lombardo said. “She had an antique store in Scottsdale, Arizona, for many years, “Neighbor Lady’s Antiques,” and from an early age, “my mother and I would travel to various antique shows and flea markets around the country where I cultivated my love for treasures; that is why in my designs I try and make my clothing unique and colorful with a twist of whimsical.”
Once content with selling designs from around the world, in 2008. Lombardo launched her first line for kids and it was a huge success. Now, she says her imported designs make up about fifty percent of her merchandise. Her soft, terry cloth, rainbow-striped pants for boys are still her number one best seller and her handmade teepees for children are always popular.
“At my other store in Santa Monica I have a quote in my window that says, “Always make it magical,’” she said. “Whenever I see that, it always makes me smile!” Pebbles Topanga, 111 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd. Topanga, CA 90290; (310) 455-0909. Pebbles Santa Monica, 2400 Main St., A2, Santa Monica, CA 90405; (310) 314-6472; or online at www.pebblesclothing.com.Store Hours: Sun., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Mon- Fri: 10:30- 6:30 p.m. and Sat., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
LUV & SUNSHINE
If you are looking for interior home design that evokes the laid-back, hippie chic lifestyle of Topanga, look no further than Luv & Sunshine Home Décor Boutique. Luv & Sunshine opened in October, 2016, and carries a curated mix of old-world vintage and California modern, handcrafted, global and local textiles, artisan jewelry, and gifts.
Luv & Sunshine was founded by interior designer Pauline Young, who brings her creativity to home furnishings and residential design from a shop created inside the tiny building that once housed Flowers in the Canyon.
“Things are going well. We do interior design and work with Citrine Interiors (citrineinteriors.com) on home staging,” Young said. “Luv & Sunshine is kind of the base for that, for specialty rugs and cushions from Morocco and Turkey. We like to have handmade vintage or items of small furniture and we will ship anywhere to meet the client’s needs.”
Walking into the shop, one can immediately understand what she means. In one corner are gorgeous one-of-a-kind pillows from Morocco, a vintage Turkish rug, artisan jewelry, handmade candles, imported incense, wood-carved bookends, or that perfect gift.
Young writes about how she loves connecting with different cultures, artisans, people and spaces—blending her laid-back, global design style with carefully hand-picked and signature pieces to help you “luv where you live.”
“We like to mix it up, mainly all one-of-a-kind or small local companies. Globally, we have been around the world to buy stuff from India and our suppliers,” she said.
Young eschews major brands that are mass produced in favor of Moroccan rugs woven by villagers.
“Each is one-of-a-kind; some are 20-50 years old, perfectly imperfect,” she said. “They got some love made into it.”
Originally from England, Young’s background is in commercial interior design projects for clients around the world and for such clients as the Infiniti Showroom, Delta Lounge, Amazon and The Fig in Santa Monica. She lived in New York working for big design companies and now feels at home in Topanga with her husband, Christopher Young, who DJs during events at the boutique.
“We were in New York for eight years working for a big design company, designing privately with our own design company and doing commercial design for restaurants and retail. We picked up residential design in the past four years in Topanga,” she said.
“We always wanted to live in California; the first time we came here it was because of the sun, the landscape, and the lifestyle. We lived in Venice, CA, for a year on the canals and had friends in Topanga, so we bought a house eight years ago. It resonated with us being in such a beautiful landscape and still connected with all of Los Angeles; it’s a very special place.”
Since opening Luv & Sunshine, Young continues to design locally as well as globally.
“Most of our clients are in Malibu, Topanga, Pacific Palisades, Calabasas, Venice, and Santa Monica. They go for the rugs and pillows, jewelry,” she said.
Inside, visitors and tourists also discover small vintage finds, bookends, candlesticks and beautiful wall tapestries. Young also creates vintage mid-century looks for clients in Los Angeles and Palm Springs. Her Topanga shop is like stepping into another world.
“It’s a BoHo Chic eclectic-traveler look and feel, to buy a bit of that when they come back, including all the beautiful rugs; everything is one-of-a-kind,” she said. “We get tourists from all over and ship to clients in Arizona and Germany who buy the Moroccan rugs and we will ship them all over the world.”
Now going into its third year tucked in on the Boulevard, Luv & Sunshine brings a travel-chic design esthetic into the Canyon for all to enjoy.
“It’s a discerning audience,” she said. “You can’t sell junk in the Canyon; [it must be] something specific that is rustic, handmade, or locally handmade items that create relaxed energy that attracts meditation, yoga, or a connection to Nature.”
Luv & Sunshine Décor Boutique, 151 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290; (310) 467-1986; luvandsunshine.com Open 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
MOONA STAR COLLECTIVE
The newest shop on the Boulevard is simply enchanting, inspired by the moon and stars.
The minute you walk into Moona Star Collective, a Zen calmness embraces you. The shop was conceived by its owner and designer Monica Zaidman, who presides over an eclectic array of curated teas, artisan jewelry, handmade pillows, purses, and women’s clothing.
As a collective, Monica welcomes a group of local artists to sell their wares. On one wall is a large display of jewelry by Michelle Perez, plant-dyed silks by Victoria Keen, and plant-dyed home goods by Courtney Konuch.
In the middle of the shop are sustainably sourced teas by OneTea and The Forest Said clothing. On a rack near the front door are Monica’s ethereal dresses by Moona Star Clothing Organic linen and lace, whose clothing line is inspired by the desert and the skies.
Monica and her husband, Zachary Zaidman, moved to Topanga eight years ago from Brooklyn, where she had worked as a fashion designer and created a small clothing line by hand. Six years ago, she had her daughter, Sol Luna, who now attends Topanga Elementary. Once fully settled into the Canyon, Monica longed for another way to sell her wares.
“About a year after we moved to Topanga, I started making clothes in Downtown L.A. but I knew I wanted a shop,” she said. “I always went into Dust and Fog and loved it; the location was so dreamy, so when I learned it was available, I spoke to the landlord and right away I had a vision for a collective. I gathered other designers, other partners who wanted to be a part of it.”
The collective opened the shop in Sept. 2018 and have become part of the fabric of the Canyon. As for the origin of Moona Star, therein lies a story.
“I had my daughter first, Sol Luna, sun and moon,” she said. “My husband, when he first met me, put Moona in his phone as my name, I always liked living by the moon and stars as a balance of the two.”
Moona Star Collective has now joined the funky group of shops hugging the Boulevard.
“I have had a lot of people come in just because of the name, she said. “Business has been good, and the community is happy to have us here. We love our neighbors; Annie from Pebbles is a great reason we got into the shop, and we love Luv & Sunshine.”
In addition to the shop, Monica said she always has more projects in mind, such as healing gatherings, astrology readings, trunk shows, and movie nights on the back patio.
Writing about what inspires her, Monica says, “I’m inspired by the depths of nature and where beauty and purpose meet our everyday lives. Beauty inspires me, but beauty is not just about the surface, it’s about what is behind the products we wear and use every day, and how we are connected to the natural world and to each other.”
May 11—The Secret of Great Mother-Child Relationships (hint: it’s not your Sun sign) As a parent, nothing is more important than meeting your child’s emotional and psychological needs and helping them navigate their soul’s path. 10 a.m.-noon.
May 18—Cyanotype Bandana Making Class with artist Caitlin Parker, 9-11 a.m., $85, all supplies will be provided. Students are welcome to bring their own pressed or fresh plant specimens, or any other interesting objects to print with.
Moona Star Collective, 137 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290; (310) 455-3088. Open 11 a.m.- 6 p.m.
Annemarie Donkin is a journalist who wrote for The Signal in Valencia, CA and was the Managing Editor for the Topanga Messenger from 2013 to 2016. She is thrilled to write for the Messenger Mountain News to continue the tradition of excellent community newspapers. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel throughout California, read, watch movies and keep bees.