Walk up three brick-covered stairs and past a fountain, and you’ll come to an idyllic Laguna Beach storefront with black letters spelling out Huit (“eight” in French), the store’s unit number. Each piece tells a story at this worldly home‑decor boutique owned by interior designer Tania Cassill, who also offers design services out of the store.
Why did you start Huit?
It came from my passion for retail. I’m an interior designer, and a few years back, I said I’m going to put them both together and create a space where people can come in,
feel, see, and explore my aesthetic.
What do you love about working in Laguna Beach?
This is my hometown; I live here and was raised here. As a child, I would literally walk right by this store. I love the elevated sophistication on the surf lifestyle.
Describe your interior design style.
It’s a curated design. I want people to walk into their home and feel like it took them years to get there, as opposed to walking into a big-box store and having it put there.
Tell us about your shop.
The store was actually a house built in 1938. I work really hard to make sure there’s something different in here. A lot of the lines I carry aren’t available anywhere near here, and some of them,I’m the only person in California or in the United States who has it.
How much of your product comes from other countries?
I’d say 90 percent of my stock. I travel to a trade show in Paris twice a year, Maison et Objet, and I find a lot of vendors there. I get deliveries every other month from Morocco.
I also have things that come from Denmark, Madagascar, Lithuania, some from Belgium, and I’m headed to Portugal soon.
What inspires you when you travel?
It could be that I’m walking down the street and there’s an archway and the color of the door is the exact color I want to use for something. In Morocco, it was desolate. There was nothing around us, and we stopped at a roadside cafe, and the table we were sitting at had an incredible mosaic layout. It’s just being aware, and then it kind of pops out at me.
How else do you find artisans?
I met a woman during breakfast at a hotel (who) owns a store in Belgium that’s very much like mine. She gave me a man’s name who owned a bed and breakfast in Morocco. I kept in touch with him and stayed at his bed and breakfast; the woman who was running it drove us all around and took us to the local vendors that they liked to work with. It was magical. I couldn’t have planned that; it just worked that way.
Do you plan to bring anything back from Portugal?
To just go and stumble across things and not have much of a plan is a blast. Portugal has beautiful textiles, tiles, ceramics; I’m hoping to find some of all of those things. Plus, we’re going to be staying in Lisbon, and it’s such a beautiful area. I just think there’s going to be inspiration everywhere I look.
Huit is at 1492 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. 949-715-5617, huitlaguna.com