Beyond the Beach

Yorktown offers furniture, art and home goods from near and afar.

Written by Constance Dunn | Photography by Paul Jonason

Count Yorktown among the new crop of home-centric boutiques that have popped up in downtown Manhattan Beach recently. The residential decor haven was opened earlier this year by Maureen McBride, proprietor of Tabula Rasa (a bath, body and fanciful little gift stop just a few doors away), and presents a tapestry of furniture and lighting, artwork and conversation-starting homewares, fragrant candles, one-off jewelry and coffee-table books. Most of the items are sourced from local and global craft artisans, as well as from antique shows, fair-trade vendors and established design houses.

There are walls of homespun wood artwork alongside distressed wood tables dressed with gilded flatware by Michael Aram and no-chip ceramic Italian dishware by Vietri. Printed, run-around tote bags made in Hermosa Beach mingle with sleek, vegan-leather wallets brought in from Montreal, and there are one-off dining tables and made-in-LA lounge chairs and sofas positioned throughout the place. “Unique, edgy, funky—but not too crazy,” says store manager Emily, describing Yorktown. “It’s for the people that kind of want to live on the edge, but kind of don’t.”

The overall feel is high-end coastal, but with texture and global gravitas added. It’s a mix that’s been met by an “amazing” reception, says Emily, with customers culled from locals and tourists; the latter boosted by a shuttle that transports nearby hotel guests to downtown Manhattan Beach, and stops only steps from Yorktown. As you wander around the store, layers of unique cool are revealed, along with a story attached to each item. “You really have to take some laps around,” explains assistant manager Julie, pointing out frames carved in the Carolinas from 19th-century barn wood and delicate necklaces fashioned by an artist in Zimbabwe. There are color-drenched rugs and throws from Turkey and Tibet, and docking stations sourced from Maine driftwood. “A lot of people want wood everywhere right now,” Emily points out. “It’s in high demand. Barn woods, driftwood, everything.”

Big sellers at Yorktown include the peacock platter, a bubble-textured glass piece casting shades from bronze to turquoise. It’s a go-to wedding gift that fits a newlywed’s dream of elegant versatility, switching from serving dish to centerpiece. Also popular are handmade pillows from Brooklyn that one can customize with a name or favorite saying, and wall artwork created with wire by a local artist—one in-demand piece is a state silhouette of California woven in bronze and nails. And the leader in the small-gift category might be a twin-pack of monogrammed wine glasses, made from BPA-free plastic—perfect for the beach and park events that define South Bay living. “They sell like hotcakes and they’re a great gift,” remarks Julie.

A store can only hold so much, however, and at Yorktown there’s always plenty more than what meets the eye. New items are continually being shuttled in and out, and there are few visions that can’t be delivered upon. “Custom art and custom furniture is available,” says Emily. “It’s not just what you see.” She advises customers seeking a particular item, from furniture and lighting to artwork, to talk with a store associate about what they are hunting for, because the item can probably be found or even custom-produced. “A lot of people want something other than what’s in the store, so we’re constantly researching for customers. It’s pretty fun. Everything is possible.”

919 Manhattan Avenue
Manhattan Beach CA 90266

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