Fountains bring sounds of serenity | October 12, 2012 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

- October 12, 2012

Fountains bring sounds of serenity

Finish off your yard with works of stone

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

The first thing Linda Bourland asks people looking for a new fountain is, "What do you want it to sound like?"

"I always say we sell sound," Bourland said last week among the tinkling treasures at Serenity Stoneworks on Main Street. "That's what makes a fountain peaceful -- and exciting."

Some fountains have a gentle pouring sound. Others sound like rain.

Often folks want to buy a fountain to mask another sound, such as traffic, Bourland said. It won't really mask it, she explained, but the ear does go first to the closest sound.

Serenity Stoneworks is located in the spacious rear yard of a house built in 1937 by Joe and Edith Macer, who pictured the lower front room as a place of business. Its purple awnings are distinctive on the south end of Main Street. The venue has been rented out to various businesses, but often in the last 10 years the back patio has been used for gatherings such as afternoon teas and showers.

Bourland, a Pleasanton resident, liked fountains and her husband Larry was a sales rep for a fountain company five-and-a-half years ago when she discovered the outdoor site. She immediately envisioned it as a perfect display area for outdoor furnishings.

"We'd saved money to renovate our kitchen," she said. "But my kids were older, and this place happened upon us."

The kitchen project was put on hold, and Linda and Larry moved fountains and statuary onto the premises. For a while she rented the front office space to a guitar studio and later a photographer since all she really needed was the back yard.

Having the array of fountains, statuary and outdoor furniture on display helps customers visualize them in their own home settings. They usually place their orders from the many catalogs, with Linda's guidance.

"We call Linda the 'fountain whisperer,'" McKain said. "She's really excellent at what she does."

Amid the fountains are nestled angels, turtles, benches and a Buddha garden with images ranging from six inches to massive.

Some of the fountains are traditional with three tiers off the ground. A few are wall fountains, and yet others twist and undulate in creative shapes.

"I love the modern style but there is no sound," Bourland said.

Her fountains all come from companies in California that can deliver within four to six weeks. Fountains, statuary and benches are formed in molds made by Italian artisans from the Lucca region. They are poured instate, she said, because otherwise shipping would be prohibitive, and the fountains are hand-finished.

"You can set them up yourself 90% of the time," she said.

Linda's sister Nancy McKain now runs her business, The Bracelet Bar, in the front of the house. To draw Serenity customers in the winter when people aren't focused on their yards, Linda opened Serenity Gifts upstairs.

During the spring, summer and fall, the outdoor premises can be rented for events.

"We've had several weddings," Bourland said. "At one baby shower they floated little rubber ducks in all the fountains."

A 150-year-old pepper tree provides shade and a lovely backdrop to the outdoor setting, which can help people see the possibilities of their own back yards, where a water fountain or other stonework can add up to relaxation and peace: serenity.


Posted by Patrick, a resident of Pleasanton Village
on Oct 15, 2012 at 7:44 am

Shopping at Serenity Stoneworks and the Bracelet Bar was a pleasure and a lot of fun. Linda and Nancy are so fun to deal with and the prices are excellent. What a great environment and excellent customer service. Awesome to shop and buy from local dealers.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2012 at 8:09 am

Yes, I agree with you Patrick, it's like visiting family when you shop at Serenity Stoneworks - they laugh and chat with you like they've know you for years - very rare in customer service these days. And by the way Linda and Nancy, I absolutely love the new Serenity @ Home store newly opened upstairs. Can't wait to start my Xmas shopping!

Posted by Shopaholic, a resident of Foothill High School
on Oct 15, 2012 at 11:16 am

Love this store! Not very often do you get to feel welcome when you go shopping - they take time to help you make the right choices - nothing's too much trouble for them - well worth taking a visit if you have never been before. Also the back yard where they have the fountains is simply lovely - just need an excuse now for a party so I can rent it out for the evening.

Posted by Les Young, a resident of Danbury Park
on Oct 16, 2012 at 9:24 am

What a great place and wonderful people. We moved from Pleasanton a year ago, and this is one of the businesses we really miss. Finding a fountain here in Palm Springs wasn't the fun event it was at Serenity and not having the guidance of Linda and Larry was an issue they were a great resource and very helpful!!

Posted by Serious Shopper, a resident of Country Fair
on Oct 16, 2012 at 10:14 am

As a commited shopper at Domus for many years in the past, I decided
to drop in on the "doomed "store on Main Street, I was appauld by the
so called " discounts " on items that were so highly priced that I could not contain my anger. No wonder the store is closing , they are now and have been since the new opening become very high priced store.

Yes, people in Pleasanton have extra money to throw around , and if you've got it, then flaunt it by going in and pricing most of the items that are left on the shelves. Come on now, these are not discounts, in fact, perhaps they raised the prices and told you it was a discount.

Shame on the present owner and those that work there, I would be most embarressed to stand there and tell you that it's a discounted item when in reality it not. No wonder their parking lot is empty most of the time, the only time it's full is on the week ends and people going to Dick's for breakfast.

Bad Bad influence on Pleasanton as business goes. what a disappontment on our community and the stores surrounding such a
store known widely as Domus. we don't need their kind in our community.

Posted by Shopaholic, a resident of Foothill High School
on Oct 16, 2012 at 12:04 pm

@Serious Shopper - not sure why you chose to post your grievances about Domus on a forum that was talking about Serenity Stoneworks. You'll find affordable product at SS especially if looking for a fountain - they do not oversell anything - I shopped around - they are by far reasonable in their prices - I hope they stay a long time down town - they (SS and the Bracelet Bar) are an asset to downtown Pleasanton - you just have to walk a block down from Tullys which not many people seem to do, to find this wonderful store.

Posted by Bob, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 17, 2012 at 7:57 am

This article is nothing more than self-serving advertising with fake testimonials. Shame on the Weekly for presenting it as a News item. Its 'Bull' and nothing more.

Posted by Susan, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 18, 2012 at 7:54 am

If I'm not mistaken this write-up for Serenity had a full page in last week's PW - so not quite sure why Bob thinks it's wrong to talk about it here on the forum. The PW inteviewed the owners and ran the article. So what if the customers say what they think and how much they enjoy visiting these stores - why should that bother Bob so much?