Category Archives: temescal

Clausen House ~ Nifty Thrifty

Clausen House, Clausen Thrift, Clausen Annex, oakland thrift stores

I love this little thrift shop… which isn’t so little anymore. The Clausen House Thrift Shop recently took over the space next door –  adding their Annex space, which is quite awesome, and at the same time alleviating some of the complaints about their original space.

I checked them out recently on Yelp and was surprised to see they only got 3 stars.  In looking over some of the lower ratings, it seems most complaints were about the crowded chaotic clutter of the original space.  One visitor wrote “This place needs a new face lift.”  Well, it’s gotten it.

Their primary space is still a funky thrift with hit or miss finds.  But then again, that’s half the fun of thrifting… you have to hunt for the treasures. But the space is much more open, organized, and inviting.  I was kind of blown away when I walked in a few weeks ago. “Wow… you guys have really spruced things up a bit!”

Amidst the requisite old records, teacups, and funky furniture, there’s a smorgasbord of stuff to peruse.  Right now they’ve got their costume stuff out front so it might be fun to stop by if you’re still struggling to figure out what you’re going to be for Halloween.  (Tomorrow’s post will feature another hot spot for costuming supplies.)

Their prices are extremely reasonable (in my opinion), and the best part is that the proceeds support the Clausen House, which works in Oakland and the greater East Bay to support people with disabilities.

At CLAUSEN HOUSE, we build self-confidence, teach everyday living skills, and encourage an optimal level of independence in people with developmental disabilities. These vibrant men and women discover opportunities for inclusion in the community while pursuing education, employment, and volunteer work with increasing command over their own lives.

It’s a great cause, and the thrift store itself is even utilized as a training facility for many of the adults served by Clausen House.

clausen thrift annex, oakland antique store, oakland thrift store

But my favorite thing is the new Annex (pictured above). I see the Annex as the upscale arm of this thrift enterprise.  It features primarily antique furniture and art, most of which is really quite lovely.  I purchased an antique Japanese print on silk, gorgeously framed in muted blues, grays, and silver.  I knew it would look perfect in my new kitchen, and the price was right.

I asked the employee about the expansion of their collection and he said the manager had started going to estate sales to acquire inventory, in addition to the regular stream of donations they receive (which are tax deductible by the way). They also accept consignments, splitting proceeds between consignee and the store.

I spotted this Ikki Matsumoto bird print immediately, because we have three of them in our home.  I wanted to round out our collection at four, but the price was a bit steep for me, but actually a very good value for one of his original signed prints.

Ikki is an internationally renowned artist. Born in Tokyo, he moved to the United States as a young adult to study art. He worked for many years as an illustrator and graphic designer in advertising, but eventually grew discontent. He and his wife moved to Sanibel Island, Florida to work on fine art and open their own gallery – this influence is seen in his many bird and fish prints. Other claims to fame include illustrating several editions of The Joy of Cooking, and painting an Easter egg for then First Lady Nancy Reagan – it’s now permanently stored in the Smithsonian Museum.

bird print, japanese bird prints, ikki

If you’re looking for a great place to buy reasonably priced art or antiques, I highly recommend the Annex. Or if you’re in the mode of purging rather than acquiring, consider taking your donations to Clausen Thrift. You’ll be supporting a great cause either way.

Clausen House Thrift & Annex
4834 Telegraph Avenue
Oakland, CA 94609

HOURS:   Mon-Fri 11am – 6pm, Sat/Sun 12pm – 5pm

Temescal, Telegraph & Traffic Boxes

I don’t know who did these… the interweb has nothing for me.  Perhaps my search terms are flawed… These were done by students at Peralta Elementary, which is situated just off the corner of Telegraph and Altatraz. (Thanks to Fragmentary Evidence for this info).

temescal public art, temescal art on traffic boxes

I’m assuming they were, at the very least, orchestrated by the Temescal Telegraph Business Improvement District, whose mission is to make the Temescal Telegraph commercial corridor a better place to live, work and shop.  They were installed at least a year ago, along with large flower filled planters that also run the length of Telegraph in Temescal.

telegraph temescal business improvement district, TBID

oakland utility boxes, temescal public art

Likely modeled after Emeryville’s Signs of the Times public art project (which I truly love… you can read more about it on my post Words By Roads ~ part III), these images certainly add a shiny happy people feeling to the corridor.

portraits of temescal, faces of temescal

oakland public art, telegraph temescal business corridor

public art traffic boxes, paintings on traffic signal boxes, temescal telegraph

I’m interested to know who produced the artwork.  Studio One? CCA? A local school? If anyone has info, please send in a comment.

A more recent project by City Canvas has been installed in the Uptown District, also on traffic signal boxes… (another post)

Temescal Public Art, telegraph temescal business improvement, telegraph corridor improvement

Oakland Traffic Signal Boxes, Public Art Temescal

The Mixing Bowl

I’ve recently spent some time in my old old hood of Temescal, so my next few posts will focus on the short stretch of Telegraph between 51st and 40th…

First up – The Mixing Bowl. Located on the same block as Betty’s Bakesale, Doña Tomás, and Pizzaiolo, this little gourmet cafe seems more in line with its upscale neighbors than its predecessor the Temescal Café.

mixing bowl temescal, mixing bowl cafe, mixing bowl oakland

I remember when the Temescal Cafe first opened… I lived just around the corner on Clarke at 49th. The only restaurant on the block was the Ethiopian Asmara, which is still there and celebrating their 25 year anniversary in just a couple of weeks.  G&G Hardware was still selling anything and everything hardware and houseware related… it was one of those old school hardware stores that carried all kinds of stuff, like kitchen appliances, bakeware, country mailboxes, and more.  Next door was a small fresh produce market, which was actually a wonderful thing to have in a walkable neighborhood like Temescal.  I can’t remember what else, but what I do remember, is there was nowhere walkable to grab a quick cup o’ joe.  The Temescal Café was going to be our salvation.

Or not. I tried tried tried to love the new cafe. But there were just too many funky things about it.  Their prices were certainly good, but the food was just ok, the art and decor a bit haphazard, and their service extremely inconsistent.  But enough about the old…

The Mixing Bowl opened a couple of years ago and though I no longer lived in Temescal, a friend did.  She groaned about the opening, complaining about the lack of wi-fi and how it just wasn’t the type of cafe she and her community wanted.  I had to disagree… I told her if she and her friends wanted an internet cafe, then they should open one.  The owners of The Mixing Bowl had a different agenda in mind, which I fully supported… food.

The team behind The Mixing Bowl, Grace Lee and Armando Koghan, are foodies. They care about food… the quality, the deliciousness, and ultimately the actual experience of eating it, which is why they opted for a wi-fi free zone, wanting to discourage a room full of people with attention solely glued to laptops. My friend found this maddening… I found it refreshing.

Grace Lee, temescal cafes

What’s also refreshing is their menu… it’s yummy California cafe fare to be sure – organic, local, sustainable – but with a strong Asian influence and some really interesting combinations. I particularly love their salads (Watermelon with pickled rind, shaved feta, and shiso vinaigrette… YUM!) and a popular favorite seems to be the Soba Noodle Salad (see Yelp below).

The sandwiches are equally good and reasonably priced given the healthy portions. Next time the line for Bakesale Betty’s (which I also love dearly) extends down the block, you may just want to pop into The Mixing Bowl for their Pulled Pork Sandwich or Korean Tacos… You won’t be sorry.

More recently the cafe has added a line of homemade country goods like pickled vegetables and jams.  Though I haven’t tried any yet, I will say the presentation is beautiful, as it is with everything here (check out their light fixtures fashioned out of antique mason jars… lovely!)

I’m also quite fond of the current art installation, which may be permanent as it seems to have been up for awhile now.  It features a series of large scale B&W historical photographs of the Temescal region and community from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. It’s fascinating…

For example, we’re informed that the men above are garbage collectors setting off to ride throughout the town picking up their payments from individual property owners with whom they’ve contracted. And further, that the whole business of trash collection in the early part of the 20th century was dominated by men from the Italian American community, specifically of Genovese descent (I am assuming these Genovesians are also responsible for the wonderful Genova delicatessen, a fixture in Temescal for 80 years! – but that will have to be another post…)

shared ground, Oakland Baseball Club

The installation was made possible through the support and resources of the Oakland History Room (a program of the Oakland Public Library), Temescal historian Ray Raineri, and Shared Ground founder and Temescal community artist Jeff Norman. To learn more about Temescal history and Shared Ground’s local projects, visit

More reading…

The Mixing Bowl on Yelp

The Mixing Bowl on SFGate

The Mixing Bowl on Oakbook

Not your basic lost dog…

Well I thought I’d be a bit more present after Labor Day, but this short week’s been cut even shorter by the need to attend a funeral, so in the interest of brevity (and cheering myself up) here are some unusual pet signs spotted around Oaktown recently…

lost chicken, unhappy chicken, funny lost pet signs, unusual lost pet signs

unusual pet signs, funny lost pet signs, bunny missing ear

unusual lost pet signs, unusual found pet signs

Hope to be back on a more regular schedule next week… please stay tuned.