SOCO updates mainstays and welcomes new shops


It’s 10:45 a.m. on a Tuesday, 15 minutes before opening, and already a small crowd of shoppers gathers.

Some peer through the storefront windows, scoping out products, while others sit on patio chairs and flip through interior design magazines.

The anticipation is for Room & Board, a modern furniture and accessories retailer known for its handcrafted and American-made furnishings.


The Minneapolis-based manufacturer, which works with family owned companies around the U.S., relocated its showroom from South Coast Plaza Village to South Coast Collection (SOCO) in Costa Mesa in late July.

Though the new, small-concept store is about a third of the size, Room & Board continues to focus on providing complimentary design services, inspiration galleries and material guides.

The home design store features one-of-a-kind accessory items offered only at the Costa Mesa location, said Doris Flye, a designer with Room & Board, and shoppers may purchase home accessories, such as pillows, frames, hand-woven baskets and leather accessories, while learning about the artisans behind the products.

Also new to the curated design and culinary shopping center is Lightopia, a designer lighting studio that originated its Orange County presence with a location in Laguna Beach.

After 10 years on North Coast Highway, the showroom opened its new store at SOCO two months ago, where it spotlights more than 1,000 fixtures, including ceiling, wall, accent, table and floor lights -- all designed with the latest trends in mind.

The shop focuses on LED lighting technology and carries luxury lighting brands like Dame Juvel, Flos, Louis Poulsen and Santa Ana-based Siemon & Salazar, a hand-blown glass vessels and lighting company commissioned to make custom pieces for first lady Michelle Obama.

“We want people to see that lighting has become the forefront of design in a room, and that it is the finishing touch to a space,” said Lightopia owner Ken Vick. “We want to show sculpture lighting, and it’s got to be cool and energy-efficient.”

Home decor aside, women and men’s fashion label Drifter opened its first concept store at SOCO in May. The collections, which include asymmetrical dresses, trousers, oversized pullovers, cardigans and jackets, are all inspired, designed and made in Compton.

The brand’s latest collection, “Retro, Modern, Punk,” features a woman’s reversible bomber jacket with exaggerated long sleeves and ruched seams for $725, and a men’s lounge T-shirt with handmade darting details at $95.

“This kind of store isn’t out here, and we wanted to fill that void in Orange County,” said Drifter store manager Vivian Pak. “We’re all about that element of surprise in details.”

Nest Bedding, a family owned company specializing in organic bedding and mattresses, will open its first Orange County location at SOCO and The OC Mix this winter.

Recently renovated and expanded restaurants include Shuck Oyster Bar, Taco Maria and The Cheese Shop. Coming this winter is The Guild Club, a 1,000-square-foot restaurant that will feature cocktails, traditional European beers and a wine list complementing chef Noah Blom’s sister concepts ARC and Restaurant Marin.

The Guild Club will present a butler service until 2 a.m. daily and feature card tables and wingback chairs.

SOCO is at 3303 Hyland Ave., Costa Mesa. For more information, call (949) 760-9150 or visit

Twitter: @KathleenLuppi