Located in the Scottsdale Airpark, this relatively new shop is owned by Khanittha and Balint Kocsis and started out as an eBay selling experiment of their private collection of mostly Chinese and Thai antique items. The couple was so successful that their personal collecting passion ballooned into a full-scale antique business that will soon be moving to even bigger digs.
Beautifully carved wooden screens, old and new Chinese ceramics, pottery, jade carvings and lacquered pieces, dazzling antique Buddhas from Thailand and Cambodia, offering tables, old doors and intricate window panels, gorgeous ethnic silks and embroideries -- these are just a few of the items Echoes of Asia offers up to the lover of Asian antiques and artifacts. We're especially appreciative of the fact that each carefully selected piece on display is accompanied by a tag that identifies the piece as new or old, its approximate date of creation, and its place of origin. Add to all this the owners' sincere eagerness to share with any customer or window shopper their considerable knowledge about what they are selling and you get a little bit of Beijing and Bangkok right here in Salt River City.
d.a.'s has gorgeous Heywood-Wakefield, yes. But the shop also has stunning, one-of-a-kind pieces, like the pristine 1940s-era Paul László hutch we saw on a recent visit. All apple green enamel and art deco curves, you could imagine Ava Gardner keeping her liquor in it. There was a 1950s-era end table designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and a cubist-influenced watercolor of the New York skyline circa 1930 by an uncelebrated but accomplished artist.
Alvarez says he sells more of his retro cool gear on eBay than he does to locals. "People here don't seem to know modern is cool," he says.
Now they will, Dave.
What drew us to the store originally was its collection of what appeared to be African animal and death masks (turns out they're Indonesian, but they're still cool). We had just bought a house, and the previous owner had left zebra wallpaper in one of the bedrooms. At first we were horrified, and then we decided to just go with it. We set out in search of decorations. Boy, did we find what we were looking for at Black Market! If you're into masks, you'll get your rocks off perusing the bulkheads of this place. There are many varieties of authentic wooden ones, and they're cheap. For under $20, you can put an elephant's face on your wall, or a zebra's or a giraffe's or a leopard's. For those into the macabre, there is a variety of skull masks.
We bought beautiful rocks for our planters, masks for our walls, and wooden wind chimes that are music to everyone's ears.
Eclectica is famous for its exotic merchandise. On last inspection, it was selling a stuffed pirate swinging down from a rope, red phone booths straight out of Piccadilly Circus, a mint-condition standup bass, gigantic Alice in Wonderland chairs, three-foot-high statues of Elvis, and that's just the beginning. The funky lamp selections at both Cupid's and Eclectica are out of this world.
Another store on the row that will usually have something unique is J&K Furniture. We bought some glass-topped metallic coffee and end tables there, and the place always has great prices on couches and beds. (Last time we visited, there was a canopy bed big enough for Henry VIII to have slept on.) Here's a perk: Right in the center of Furniture Row is Fuel Motorsport Café and Bar, an interesting place to stop for a cold one on a hot day of furniture-store hopping.
Maybe they will after we tell them that Diane Ribbon is the place to get the goods to rhinestone a cell phone. They might have some trouble convincing Mom to venture to the somewhat sketchy, industrial 'hood where the huge craft warehouse is located, but as soon as mother and daughter see the goods inside -- enough ribbon to put SAS to shame, enough craft gear to make Michaels blush -- we promise the two will be rushing back to see Diane at every opportunity.
Beads Galore finally outgrew the funky industrial warehouse space it thrived in for years and now has moved to a sprawling retail store next to REI in Tempe. What it hasn't changed at the new location is its big open bins overflowing with glass, porcelain and clay beads from Czechoslovakia, China, India and Peru, which you can pick through for tiny treasures. Go ahead, let those sparkly jewel-like orbs slip luxuriously through your fingers as you dig deep into a pile -- you can actually afford these babies. Prices for bin beads range anywhere from 4 to 8 cents a gram, so they're always in demand. In fact, one Saturday it became virtually impossible to bag a space at the gigantic bead troughs hogging up a huge area in the rear of the store. If we didn't know better, we'd have thought we had stumbled onto a gaggle of crazed miners panning for gold.