It takes a special eye to be able to walk into an empty warehouse and fall in love with the potential.
That's what co-founding partners Kim Rodosky and Kim Johnson, of interior design boutique 503 Found, did when they saw the wide-open warehouse that once sold animal hides years ago in Newport Beach's Cannery Village.
Set among the harbor on a narrow cobblestone street lined with antique shops, galleries and waterfront restaurants, the eclectic furnishing store that opened in May has been preserved and curated with a collection of the latest home decor finds from Paris, New York and Los Angeles.
Add custom and original pieces from Orange County to the list.
"It's all about supporting independent people," Rodosky said. "The more local, the better."
There's the ceramics display created by a local woman who works down the street. A chair, made by a woodworker who lives above a neighboring coffee shop, is showcased in the front of the store. Face sculptures made by an Orange County resident decorated a side table. A local seamstress turned blankets into pillows.
Rodosky, who described herself as 503 Found's visionary creative, and Johnson, who is known by the staff as the retail maven, travel throughout the United States visiting growing manufacturers. They showcase 40 vendors in the design house. The two also chose to blend an assortment of European pieces throughout the collection by displaying lighting fixtures crafted in the Netherlands, a hutch from Italy and 1882 Ltd Standard Ware and Bone China Crockery from London.
Brands include Julian Chichester's furniture, Vancouver-based Zoë Pawlak's rugs and barn-style doors by Lucas Risé.
"We look for something really well made and that you could tell that someone put their passion in it," Rodosky said.
Joining the mix is Deborah Allen, the shop's artist-in-residence.
Rodosky and Allen met when the two collaborated on a home project. The two discussed Rodosky's vision of an interior furnishings store brimming with custom and original works. Would Allen be interested in carving out a studio space in the warehouse?
Canvases, some finished, some works in progress, cover Allen's art studio nestled in the corner of the store. The rendering artist, who has experience in architectural detail, works daily on her collection of paintings, commissioned pieces and design concepts.
Allen's latest works, showcasing acrylic with a watercolor technique, often influence the in-house collection. Because she has many friends who are artists, she said she invites them to the studio to create new pieces for the store.
"We have the same aesthetic and taste," Rodosky said of Allen's design style.
Beyond the shared passion for design and innovative style, friendships, old and new, are at the heart in developing the business.
Rodosky — a Newport Beach-based designer, wife and mother of six — met Johnson — a wife and mother of four — about 10 ago when their eldest children were 5.
"I would not have jumped into this without Kim," Rodosky said.
"We complement each other in terms of business," Johnson added.
Today, the children make deliveries and coffee runs.
The duo works to keep the shop fresh through design and creative advisors.
They recently hired a seasonal designer, who is experienced in party planning and design, for consultation services. Floral arrangements, handpicked and assembled by one of the store's employees, are a decorative touch changed weekly and the business is preparing for the holidays by planning vignettes with decorations, gifts, scarves and small accessories.
For now, a constant display change-up — rearranged pillows, artwork and furniture — showcases the latest merchandise.
"We go out of our way for unique finds," Rodosky said when she glanced at an old saddlebag from Afghanistan on the sofa. "It's a big old mix."
If You Go
What: 503 Found
Where: 503 31st St., Newport Beach
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, appointment only Sundays
Information: (949) 943-2351