Laguna Beach Local Opens Neko Home, A Vintage Goods Boutique

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Photo credit: Emily J. Davis

 

Danna Wright’s passion for vintage items began as a child while visiting estate sales with her father. “I love anything that has a story behind it,” she says. Neko Home carries a wide variety of treasures that are in high demand; Wright recalls a 1950s Italian marble coffee table that sold as she was transporting it to the store.

Why did you open Neko Home?
It kind of came spur of the moment. I wasn’t really planning it, and I think that’s how the best things happen. I left (a job at a furniture store) in April and was figuring out what I was going to do. I ran into Tania Cassill at Huit, and she asked, “Why don’t you open up a place?” I collected vintage stuff for myself, or would try to find it for other people, and I would occasionally sell here and there. But I would never really focus on selling it.

What does Neko mean?
It’s named after the lead flying monkey in “The Wizard of Oz” although spelled differently. It’s a nod to my dad, who had a small retail boutique in Coronado. He wanted to change the name of the store to something associated with “The Wizard of Oz” in honor of the author who lived on the island (while writing the series). My dad unfortunately got sick and sold the store before changing the name. So I guess this is my way of keeping my dad here with me.

What do you like about vintage home goods?
There’s something about the quality that I really appreciate—it’s going to stand the test of time. It’s so specific and design driven, and you can tell the work of different architects or designers. I like looking at something and knowing who the designer was or knowing what era it was made in.

Vintage home decor and furniture from Neko Home in Laguna Beach.
Vintage home decor and furniture from Neko Home in Laguna Beach. Photo credit: Emily J. Davis

 

Where do you find vintage pieces for your store?
I get things from local flea markets and estate sales. Estate sales are tricky because they’re so popular, and the first day they have hardly any deals. Sometimes, I’ll even wait until the final day because that’s when you get a good deal.

Why do you think vintage furniture is popular?
I think it’s the environmental impact that people are focusing on right now. I also read something recently that said it’s like adopting a piece of furniture. You’re reusing it and giving it life again—it’s something that somebody else lived with and had a good story. It has a romantic quality to it. Also people just don’t want their home to look cookie-cutter, like everything brand new.

What interesting stories do you have about the pieces in here?
This little white table looks so simple and unassuming. There’s a pottery designer from the ’60s named Russel Wright. That table was from his personal estate, and it’s by an artist called Neal Small. There’s not that many of them in that color. So that’s one of the smallest things I have and one of my favorites.

1492 S. Coast Highway
Laguna Beach

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