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Furnishings from afar and a-near


Amazing finds from the Orient

A visit to Warren Imports Far East Fine Arts is like a trip to the

Orient. Inside you’ll find Peking Palace curio cabinets, Chinese red


lacquer cabinets, Tansu chests, alter tables and Imari dinnerware

from Japan’s royal family. Warren Imports is one of Laguna’s oldest

businesses, having opened its doors in 1937.

“We have one of the largest inventories of fine oriental antiques


and art in the U.S,” said owner Harry J. Lawrence.

Through his connections with collectors and dealers Lawrence finds

the best there is -- from inexpensive items in good taste, to museum

pieces. In the 1960’s he acquired an important collection, the last

Emperor of China’s furniture, and sold it to the Metropolitan Museum

of Art in New York. Lawrence was able to purchase his building from

the sale. The Ming furniture collection is still on display. All of

the pieces come from China, Japan and Southeast Asia. There are


Chinese embroideries, snuff bottles, screens, mirrors, ivories,

jewelry, cloisonne and museum pieces from the Neolithic through the

Qing Dynasty 5000 BC to 1900 A.D. The collection of a thousand stands

for porcelain vases and dishes are its biggest seller.

“We also select rare and unusual pieces, and try to adapt them to

American homes,” said Lawrence.

Ox-cart saddles are converted to tables, and entrances to Chinese

wedding beds are made into mirrors, signs and shelves. Warren Imports


is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday -Saturday; open Sunday by

appointment only. The shop is at 1910 S. Coast Highway. Information:

(949) 494-6505 or European antiques

Nicholson’s Antiques offers European antiques mostly from France and

England, and none of the 18th century American antiques that are hot

back East. A typical selection ranges from Louis XV-style carved gilt

wood armchairs circa 1880; continental Biedermerier burl elm and

ebonized tea caddy circa 1940; George II style mahogany gilt wood

mirror circa 1890-1910; 19th century George II bureau; Louis XVI

continental carved chest of drawers, circa 1800; continental

biedermier birch secretaire abattant, circa 1840 with restorations;

and Charles X Birdseye maple and ebonized round table. Nicholson’s

generally takes things back on consignment from customers who tire of

their antiques. The shop is at 362 N. Coast Highway. Information:

(949) 494-4820 or

Time for a little redecorating

Be careful. Once you stop by Charles Kelly at Home you might

suddenly feel like getting rid of everything you have at home and

starting over. Owner, Charles Shrout chooses some of the best in

antique reproduction furniture, pillows, garden ornaments, frames,

bar accessories, wine boxes, antique kitchen accessories and handmade

soaps. Shrout is the only one in town who carries 350-to 530-thread

count Egyptian cotton Peacock Alley bedding. In the back of the store

there’s even a selection of Dean & Deluca gourmet coffees and oils

from New York. Charles Kelly is at 492 S. Coast Highway. It’s open

from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday. Information: (949) 494-8431.

A Playhouse of fun

The nationally-acclaimed theater, Laguna Playhouse is currently

showing “Always ... Patsy Cline” with Sally Struthers and Christa

Jackson through Aug. 25. The musical is a story about the life and

music of country artist Patsy Cline, and her friendship with Louise

Seger, a Texas housewife. The musical also features hit songs

performed by Christa Jackson including “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces,”

“Sweet Dreams,” “Back in Baby’s Arms” and “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” The

Laguna Playhouse is at 606 Laguna Canyon Road. Information: (949)

497-ARTS, or

All about the image

Silver Images is a camera and film-processing store. It

specializes in used cameras, camera accessories, film and batteries.

It also offers camera repairs, custom photo restoration, photo

finishing, passport pictures, digital media for digital cameras,

digital film readers and other digital print services. There’s also a

nice selection of historical pictures of Laguna Beach. Silver Images

shares the same location as Latitude 33, a wonderful bookstore. It’s

at 311 Ocean Ave. in Laguna Beach. Information: (949) 494-3005.

* BEST BUYS appears Thursdays and Saturdays. Send information to

Greer Wylder at or P.O. Box 248 Laguna Beach,

CA 92652, or via fax at 494-8979.