As I stroll down Delores St., I notice the little house that once housed a Chocolate shop, has a new sign and a fresh new look.
The sign announces that this is now The Soiled Doves Bath House.
The house with its rolled shingle roof has that familiar fairytale quality.
The door is invitingly open
and the proprietress, Betsy Durnell, is inside stocking and working on her artful displays. She has created an adorable little shop packed full of wonderfully scented candles , soaps, salts and lotions.
Betsy has a little time to talk. This shop is her second career. For many years she was a licensed life and disability agent who sold health insurance.Now she is focusing on a different aspect of health.
She moved her shop from Danville, California several years ago into this shop which she repaired, polished, painted, and cleaned. The many windows sparkle and the little staircase leads to a small balcony. She is quite passionate about Carmel and about her products.
She carries LaBouquitiere,LadyPrimrose,
Bella Vita/Carmel-by -the Sea Soap Co.
and Shelley Kyle to name a few.
I love all the vintage pieces she has used as display cabinets .
I start to collect a few items. First a lavender-scented shea butter soap made by Mistral. Mistral is in Provence, France and use locally grown plants to obtain the essential oils and fragrances.
Then on to Lady Primrose for a small wand with perfume on one end and lip gloss on the other. Several women from Dallas worked with a French perfumer to again produce fragrance recipes that date back to the 1600′s.
But my favorite things in the shop are the Christening Gowns that Betsy finds at antique markets through out the U.S. , many of which came from England.
Many young families are finding their way into her shop for gowns that will pass down to each of their children. In each, she sews a ribbon stitched with the child’s name and Christening date. Very charming.
Every square inch of this shop is well designed.
Another customer enters, so I excuse myself and take my treasures home.
Later that evening , Bill and I have dinner with Melissa – a Carmel friend. When she orders hot water with lemon and honey for her drink, I decide to give it a try. She tells me to squeeze the lemon well because the essential oils are good for my skin. When I ask her where she got that tip, we find we both know Betsy Darnell of The Soiled Doves Bath House. She is one of Melissa’s new friends.
There is only one Soiled Doves Bath House, it is located in the heart of Carmel-by-the Sea and was nominated for business of the year in 2010.
But it was not nominated by the dog community.