Almanac

Community - July 2, 2014

In business: ParkGate showcases vibrant lifestyle

by Jane Knoerle

With its fresh approach to home decor, ParkGate Home is a lively addition to downtown Menlo Park's home furnishings scene.

Opened last fall next to Kepler's and Borrone's, ParkGate showcases the talents of its co-owners, Cathy Ettel and Laura Pohlen. Ms. Ettel worked at Traditions on Santa Cruz Avenue for 18 years. Ms. Pohlen has had an interior design business at her home in Atherton. Longtime friends, both have degrees in business and interior design.

Instead of staid clusters of sofas, chairs and tables sometimes found in furniture stores, ParkGate displays its wares in inviting showrooms that change often. "We just did three rooms this morning," says Ms. Ettel. Recently, the front room featured white upholstered outdoor furniture accented with cobalt blue, yellow and coral accessories.

Vignettes in the 4,500-square-foot store might include real-looking hydrangeas and roses in a glass vase atop coffee-table books, or an accent table ready to hold summer drinks.

ParkGate's customers come from all over the Bay Area and range from young marrieds to down-sizing seniors. The store's owners are professionals who can completely furnish an Atherton mansion or are willing to offer savvy advice for a few accessories to brighten up your home.

Accessories — throw pillows, lamps, flowers, books — are important at Park Gate, says Ms. Ettel. "We travel a great deal and find individual items you will never see in other stores," she says.

Need help? Not sure what you want or need in furnishings? ParkGate will do a home visit at $165 an hour. After seeing a room, it's much easier to find the right pieces, says Ms. Pohlen.

Since opening last October, ParkGate has attracted many visitors wandering over after lunch at Borrone's or book-browsing at Kepler's. They love the store's fresh approach to home furnishings and artistic use of color.

Located at 1010 El Camino Real, ParkGate is adding to Menlo Park's reputation as an important destination for home decor. It is open Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 pm., and closed Sunday.

Go to parkgatehome.com for more information.

This is one of a series of stories about new home decorating businesses in downtown Menlo Park.

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