Brothers Thompson and Beau Lange, two Carmel natives, have been running their shops since opening "The Grove" Homescapes in Pacific Grove in 1996. The brothers are perhaps best known throughout Monterey County for their old commercials promoting themselves as the brothers who "travel the world so you don't have to."
The travel bug is so intense, in fact, that Thompson, a fitness buff, has run marathon races in each of the seven continents. And, along the way, the brothers usually return to Carmel with new intriguing products for their shops.
Meanwhile, Homescapes is now located in a stunning 12,000 square-foot space in the former Saks Fifth Avenue Men's store in Carmel Plaza.
"It's a big space," says Thompson. "But it's very pretty, and was built very 'green,'" with high-efficiency lighting and green construction materials. Homescapes' design - by local architects and contractors - has earned it a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification.
"We even have waterfalls and a 'living wall,' a 12 feet by 12 feet wall that is completely filled with plants," says Thompson. Living plants, including orchids, in the store are part of the Langes' "sister" store, Homescapes Home & Garden in the Barnyard.
"We have carried orchids since we opened our first store," explains Thompson. "They're locally grown, and we have a list of customers who want to be notified when the orchids are in. Or they will call us and ask us to find a specific orchid, like a yellow Miltonia, and we do it.
"We're not just a furniture store," Thompson continues. "We sell accessories, soaps, candles, artwork, cards - even women's scarves." Homescapes Carmel's large interior allows for many different groupings of furniture - an inviting table with chairs set for dinner, a large teak Indonesian or Japanese cabinet set off by paintings or a sofa with colorful pillows beside a Turkish coffee table filled with beautiful candles.
Paintings and sculpture by local artists, large "water jars" by local artist John Chappell and artisan Susan McCurtney's table-top water fountains bubble throughout Homescapes Carmel, providing a peaceful, almost spa-like atmosphere to the store.
Both Beau and Thompson Lange attribute a large part of their success to their staff and commitment to customer service.
"Carmel has different seasons," says Thompson. "Some are good for tourists, but some, like Christmas time, are good for the locals. We have a great local following, and we carry a lot of gift items." Homescapes also offers gift wrapping.
"Our staff has been with us a long time, too," says Thompson. "Leland Slarrow's Mom worked for us, and he started sweeping out the store when he was 15. He's 31 now, and still with us.
"His Mom taught him all about plants," Thompson adds. "We have people who bring in their sick, dying plants and ask Leland for his help. He can tell you anything about plants." The Lange's own mother works occasionally in their Barnyard garden store, while their "little sis" Keri Marion maintains Homescapes' fascinating website.
"We both went to kindergarten in the old Carmel Woods School on Dolores in Carmel," says Beau. "We attended Carmel middle school and high school."
The "big idea" for a lifestyle store was conceived while the brothers were away at college. Thompson says that they wanted to launch their store in "what we hoped would be our 'friendly' home turf." Happily, their idea - and their store - has flourished in Carmel.
Homescapes Carmel is located on the Garden level of Carmel Plaza, Carmel; phone 624-6499; website, homescapescarmel.com.