Just up the road from lifeguard tower 20 on the Santa Monica beach is Tim Clarke Design’s showroom, aptly titled, well, Tower 20. As you probably know, this part of town—Main Street Santa Monica—exhibits a duality grounded in the bohemian spirit of Venice and the tourist consumerism of downtown Santa Monica. And just off the beaten path of the busiest section of the street lies the Tower 20 store, a beach chic interior boutique that captures the local spirit. Call it Coastal Modern.
Greeted by a skim board with a bold OPEN sign, Tower 20 is the retail store and home for design firm Tim Clarke Design. It’s impressive that this cinder block and concrete loft-like space can feel like a beach home. Of course, the baker’s dozen of diffusers and scented candles that seem to transport you to a plumeria laden island retreat don’t hurt. The Lehua Honey candle from Makana Candles is especially remarkable.
Meanwhile, the space is dappled with vintage longboards (12 foot ceilings anyone?) and there’s an Amish scooter filled with gilded conch shells. Any sense of brutality represented by the post-modern architecture easily disappears behind the one-of-a-kind vintage items that reveal the curative eye and skill of interior designer Tim Clarke and creative director Clate Grunden.
Perhaps the best part of the Tower 20 store is that just steps downstairs are the full design offices of Tim Clarke Inc., where you can not only see the design team in action but also stumble over a couple of house dogs minding their own business. The team of creatives and their well-stocked bar cart lend further credence to the notion that a space can feel like a low key beach shop and still include high-end luxury products.
Back in the showroom everything seems to be either handmade, found, or vintage (fair warning: some of the prices reflect such craftsmanship). Tim and Clate’s periodic inspiration tours, where the’ve picked up pieces at everything from the usual French flea markets to offbeat Texas road trip pit stops, give the space a dynamic nature. With the XM Chill station playing lowly in the background, the Tower 20 store is a peaceful shop and, if nothing else, a great space to gather inspiration on how to give your maybe not-so-coastal Eastside apartment a casual Westside elegance.