Curiosity killed the cat, the old proverb says. But there is nothing more satisfying than shopping at Curious, which offers exclusive woodcraft.
Bryce Toney opened the Pier Avenue store, which offers a mix of beachy and retro-chic furniture with modern pieces, in May 2009. The gift and home design shop is a reflection of Toney's "aloha" spirit and the eclectic, laidback culture of a beach city.
"We picked the name [Curious] because we wanted something to make people think," Toney said. "I like the word-- it provokes thought."
Having grown up on the island of Kauai, Toney's handcraft furniture pieces and furnishings mirror Hawaiian style by blending tropical prints and colors with willowy drapery and bamboo.
Toney first moved to Hermosa Beach in 1980 and previously owned two home furnishing stores along Pier Avenue. When he briefly moved back to Kauai, he renewed his love for carpentry. Toney said that living on a tropical island, where the environment is cherished, opened his eyes to sustainability.
Four years later, Toney was ready for a new shoreline and returned to Hermosa Beach. He used his furniture design skills and his knowledge of recycling to conceptualize Curious.
Toney handcrafts or refurbishes all of the pieces sold in the store. Every inch is covered with his custom-made vanities and shelves that hold items including aromatic candles and humorous books and greeting cards with sayings such as "There's nothing a glass of wine and a flat iron can't fix."
Sometimes Toney's handcrafted coffee tables, bookshelves, nightstands and even a vintage bicycle can be seen sitting outside the store. Electric blue desks, vintage lamps and nautical home furnishings fill the store window, inviting window shoppers explore.
"I wanted to create an environment here that's cozy, kind of like my house," Toney said. "It actually looks like my house."
At Curious, items are marked with prices that already include the sales tax to make it easier for customers. He got the idea from a store in his hometown, Hanalei, HI, where prices are rounded up by the quarter and include sales tax.
"It makes the store interesting," Toney said. "I don't think you can have just the right stuff. It takes a little bit of cultivating personality for the store."
For more Hermosa Beach style, check out our photos of street fashion around town on Facebook. The photo album is updated weekly, so please "tag" familiar faces.