Abode by Garage Collective – all that makes a home “a home”


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

When one thinks of home, the scenario usually involves amazing food and comfortable, stylish home essentials. Abode by Garage Collective incorporates all that and more. When they recently opened their doors in the Old Pottery Place in the HIP District, they provided a one-stop destination for shoppers.

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Abode by Garage Collective is in the Old Pottery Place

Locals may be familiar with the name Garage Collective, which was founded by Kristin Lewis in 2015. The story of how Abode by Garage Collective, ended up in its new location, is one of creativity and resilience. After moving seven times from its inception in a garage (the relocations included a store across from Surf & Sand Resort, a POD and a shop on Thalia) and weathering two floods, Garage Collective morphed into Abode by Garage Collective.

Garage Collective brought co-owners Kristin Lewis and Jaime Saunders together. “I’m a designer and frequently bought from Garage Collective,” Saunders said.

“Our mover jokes around that he’s moved us four times in one year,” Lewis said.

Now in their current location, Lewis and Saunders have partnered with Samantha (Sam) Breit of Salt Horse to not only offer the latest in unique home décor but also provide curated fresh seasonal produce and provisions.

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Co-owners (L-R) Kristin Lewis and Jaime Saunders partnered with Sam Breit of Salt Horse to create Abode by Garage Collective

“Partnering with two local women who share such a beautiful aesthetic for our community and one that complements The Salt Horse so perfectly is a dream come true,” Breit said. “I am looking forward to all that we will do together in the years to come!”

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Sam Breit of Salt Horse at her previous location in September 2023

“Sam approached us because her lease was up, she was looking for a new location and found this one, so we terminated our lease and moved here,” said Lewis. “It happened very fast. This is great location. Jaime and I were blown away. I have another job in real estate and manage a retail shopping center, so we scoped this out and paid attention before we signed the lease. There is so much foot traffic here – the space is magical, and the other businesses have been very welcoming.”

Why the name Abode by Garage Collective? “When Kristin and I partnered,” Saunders said, “we felt it was the time for rebranding. We wanted to do something fresh, so it’s not confused with our online store on Instagram, but we wanted to hold on to the history of Garage Collective.”

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Dazzling array of food products from Salt Horse. Breit brings to the table not only the best seasonal produce and unusual products, but she also offers farm boxes.

History of Garage Collective

To delve into the history, one must go back nine years when Lewis opened the Garage Collective.

“I opened my first space in 2015,” Lewis said. “I had kids, and I was working full time, but I needed something for myself. I began refinishing furniture in the garage, and I started a blog.

Soon she came across something that altered the course of her life.

“I read the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. It changed my life. It focused on being creative and not letting fear of failure hold you back. It basically said that we’re all meant to be creative and have passions and hobbies. After I read the book, I thought, I’m going to do it, I’m going to open a store, and if it fails at least I tried, instead of looking back and wondering ‘what if.’”

“When I started in the garage, it was a project. There were five or six women, and everyone was creative and had a different passion or something they were good at. It was never intended to be a business,” Lewis said. “We would just have pop-ups in the garage and sell different little things and then it turned into opening the first collective store and it grew from there.”

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Unique items from artisans

Saunders and Lewis have carried that vision into Abode by Garage Collective.

“The collective is still part of what we do,” Lewis said. “We house local creatives to enable them to have their store in our store because retail is expensive, so we share in the cost and the marketing.”

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 (L-R) Jaime Saunders, staff member Lily Young, staff member Kristen Durman and Kristin Lewis

Thanks to an impressive list of collective woman-run businesses: KRT Vintage, Madouk Collection, Gracefully Jewelry, Plants for Olive Us and Velvet Bones, the home goods in their space are rare – and eclectic – finds (such as Moroccan rugs and vintage fabric pillows) that blend to feel like home – a home you would want to inhabit.

Both Lewis and Saunders know the area and what shoppers want. Lewis was born and raised here, and Saunders moved here 20 years ago when she met her husband – playing volleyball. Each has a full- time career, Lewis is in real estate and Saunders has a design business – with families at home. Lewis has sons Blake (11 years old) and 13-year-old Weston. Saunders has a son, Hudson, who is a senior at LBHS and a daughter Morgan who works at the shop.

Although they have other careers, Lewis and Saunders admit they’ve been in the store 12 days in a row. However, they have a great staff – Kirsten Durman, Lily Young, Morgan, Faith and Abigail.

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Pillows and other one-of-a-kind home décor items

Many of their customers have followed them around from their first location and the news of their move has spread by “word of mouth.” “We have a large Instagram following,” Lewis said. “Others have discovered us by just walking by. Jaime and I are really involved in the community, so just letting our groups know has helped.”

It’s not an exaggeration to describe Abode by Garage Collective as a one-stop shop. It’s a destination for both extraordinary home essentials and curated produce and food – a one stop shopping that includes, dips and fresh salsa, fresh squeezed juice, and La Palma bean and cheese burritos.

As an extra bonus, they offer free parking (in the parking structure off Brooks Street) with validation.

So, stop by and say, “Hello” and shop the wonderful décor and food at Abode. Get some chocolates at Chocolate Soldier, buy a book at Laguna Beach Books, grab a seat on the patio and enjoy the atmosphere that is the Old Pottery Place.

Now that Abode by Garage Collective is part of the mix, it’s another reason to visit.

Abode by Garage Collective is located at 1200 S. Coast Highway, Ste. 106, Laguna Beach. Call 949.715.0868.

Follow them on Instagram @the.garage.collective.

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