News about great shops in your neighborhood

News about great shops in your neighborhood

Fourth Street gems

The Japanese term Shibui describes that which “doesn’t need announcement—its quality speaks for itself.” That’s a good description of the artistic sensibility of Pavé jewelry store. Fueled by a 20-year run at the College Avenue shop, owner Michael Endlich has just added a second store on Berkeley’s Fourth Street.

Endlich, who began making jewelry in a high school art class, works with a staff of nine on-site jewelers to help design custom pieces. “I encourage customers to include elements of symbolism and metaphor in their design,” he says. “We help match both the gem and your intention. [That way] the piece has power and is personal to you.”

In addition to one-of-a-kind earrings, necklaces and rings, Pavé represents several international artists including designer Michael Zobel, known for his ultra-modern couture gemstone and metal pendants, cuffs and brooches, and Yasuko Azoma, who creates refined hammered-gold oval-link necklaces and cut-out pendants. For men, Pavé offers a large selection of rings fashioned from multilayered metals that are folded, twisted and pulled—a technique borrowed from Japanese sword-making. And lest you think everything here is understated, Endlich reveals a blinding Hearts On FireTM diamond, luscious strands of Tahitian pearls in shades of copper, gold, moss and slate, and a bling-worthy 25-plus-carat peridot, about to be set in a ring of Endlich’s own design.

Pavé Fine Jewelry Design, 1778 Fourth St., Berkeley, (510) 559-7885;


Fit it in

Life is already a marathon—who needs a 26-miler? 24-Hour Fitness has just opened a branch of their innovative Fit-Lite gyms on Solano Avenue in Berkeley, designed for folks with little time on their hands, but who want to get a regular full-body workout. The gym’s “loop” combines a series of 24 core, cardio and strength stations, all timed for 65 seconds each. “The entire circuit takes about 30 minutes including cool down,” says club manager Alex Lara (who had the patience of Job when taking an out-of-shape reporter through the loop). “Every third station is a cardio machine to ensure you maintain a high heart rate,” he adds.

Each new client goes through an intake assessment to review his or her exercise history, fitness goals and any health/joint concerns. A certified trainer demonstrates how to set up the equipment at each station safely in order to target the designated muscle group. Trainers are also available at all times to “tweak” the workout as one’s fitness level improves, or to accommodate any difficulties that may arise. Unlike some other circuits, Fit-Lite has both hydraulic resistance and weight-stacked machines to help increased endurance, strength and flexibility over time. That’s why you’ll find people from all fitness levels—from new moms to tri-athletes—working out alongside one another, each getting the workout targeted to his or her needs.

Fit-Lite by 24-Hour Fitness, 1775 Solano Ave., Berkeley, (510) 524-4583;


Chez Panache

Grace Shocron spent three years searching for just the right space for Panache, her new day spa, and finally found it in North Berkeley. “I wanted to create something quiet and elegant to provide higher-end service,” she says. “The greatest appeal was that it was in this location.” Panache offers a menu of haircuts and color, manicures and pedicures and aesthetician services including facials and waxing.

Shocron, a hair stylist for more than 25 years, selected environmentally friendly products to offer her health-conscious clientele, including Eminence, a line of organic skin-care products, and Zoya, a line of nail enamels without toluene, formaldehyde or DBP. The Goldwell hair colors, with anti-oxidants and UV protection, are “pure pigments and very stable,” she adds.

The shop’s Asian-inspired decor pays homage to the area’s green-minded sensibilities with recycled materials throughout, including Italian floors tile and ceiling decorations. Be sure to check out the elegant bathroom.

Panache the Spa, 1539 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, (510) 841-5555;


Giving green

Maureen O’Neil was strongly influenced by Spain’s “green revolution” while teaching English there in 2001. When she returned to the United States, she enrolled in the Sustainable Business Practices program at San Francisco State’s Business School and ultimately decided to combine environmentalism with her love of craft.

The Treehouse, her new gift shop and gallery in the Elmwood, features sustainably manufactured organic, handmade and fair-trade home, personal care and gift items, many of which are from recycled materials.

Duane Scherr’s playful pendulum clocks sway alongside birdhouses and hummingbird feeders of recycled and reclaimed wood and glass. Handbags of recycled leather jackets are contrasted with Kate Durkin’s cotton and canvas purses, their gentle designs echoed on the store’s walls. The jewelry case features lots of quirky pieces like pendants from early-20th-century French children’s books, earrings and necklaces from old typewriter keys and brass pendants fashioned from 2000-year-old Roman glass.

The Treehouse even has coasters and keychains made from recycled highway signs (“The artist has a contract with the Rhode Island Dept. of Transportation,” O’Neil explains) and chip bowls made from old Crosby, Stills and Nash vinyl LPs.

For the babies there are hand-knitted elephants, giraffes and bears, organic cotton clothing and blankets. For older kids, The Treehouse sells kits to sow sunflowers and make chocolate.

One percent of all sales goes to environmental causes.

The Treehouse, 2935 College Ave., Berkeley, (510) 204-9292;

Faces of the East Bay