Tail of the Yak is the combination of a street market with a variety of handmade goods and foods set inside a Mexican church decorated for a Catholic holiday.
A retablo and mirrored fruit, say no more.
Long ago, I read about a small house in Oakland, California owned by Alice Erb. Immediately, I was drawn in by the mirrored fruit on the mantel, the swagged garlands and the retablos. These quirky objects pulled at my heartstrings. Ms. Erb traveled the world filling her home with treasures from these adventures.
She also filled up a store, Tail of the Yak in Berkeley, California. Numerous publications have taunted me through the years with their descriptions of this fabulous place. It seemed to have everything that I find irresistible. My daughter studies in the area which gave me the opportunity to visit at long last.
A basic white box transformed.
The physical store is typical of any other with its central door between two large windows and a basic interior. That is where similarities end. Walking inside feels like wandering into an overseas street market. To the left is a counter strewn with foil-wrapped chocolates, the colors of macaroons. Milagros are displayed en mass on the wall behind. Jewelry cases are full of glittering Georgian pieces and Mexican silver earrings. To the right are stacks of Mexican embroidered shirts and glistening Venetian goblets overseen by a large santos in her most glorious paper regalia. Beyond are straw garlands of circles or stars that one might see at a German Christmas market, pastel-hued candles, ribbon, Mexican glassware and calligraphy necessities.
The inspiration of birds.
Birds are a beloved theme within the store. A pair of living white doves coo and purr creating a soothing symphony within their large wooden cage. Inanimate tributes to them are all around in the form of velvety millinery miniatures, flat cutouts that fan out to puffy-breasted paper specimens, and cards.
Co-owner Lauren McIntosh, designs wonderfully whimsical printed cards and notebooks. While Tail of the Yak does not have an online shop, the paper products are for sale at www.minnieolga.com.
Now that I have been to this magical space I cannot wait to return. Tail of the Yak is one of those stores where dreams swirl. There wasn’t anything inside that wasn’t intriguing or something that I would not want. In fact, I wanted to move every bit of it into my own home to recreate that feeling of fantasy, freedom and delight. How did I leave without buying those adorable paper birds or the embroidered Indian trim or…?
To read more about Alice Erb’s Oakland home, which is actually part of a compound, see here. California Cottages is where I first read about Erb. It is a charming book full of romantic stylish cottages that make you wonder why people build these large homes of today.
Casa V Interiors can add some fantasy and delight into your home.