With careers in antiques, floristry and fashion that span decades, Anthony Hart and Kevin Berkahn bring a wealth of experience, expertise and sophistication to Lorenz & Z, purveyors of premium furniture, furnishings and flowers on Carlton Gore Road. The pair are keen to impart some good old fashioned customer service, too.
“I get a kick out of my customers’ satisfaction,” says general manager Anthony, who was born in London but has lived in Auckland for more than 30 years, previously dealing in antiques. “When they sit in a plush chair that just surrounds them and they fall in love with it, that gives me a lot of joy. I also believe in offering good value to our customers, and that is why we have so many regulars.”
The sprawling, airy space brims with pieces that action on styles that span the globe, and eras. Classical music plays in the background. Anthony motions to an opulent, hand carved mirror that boasts “an 18th century George II design”; dining chairs with Versace-like patterns, draped in Italian fabric and Italian silk; an expansive, curved contemporary sofa decked in cobalt blue leather set to solid ebony wood that “takes six men to lift”; and a beguiling standing lamp, each bulb cradled in delicate glass petals. “That design would cost €3,000 in Europe,” Anthony says. “We sell it for $1,000.”
Anthony travels regularly to European fairs to note the latest trends, work out the designs and fabrics, then send them to be made, with a few tweaks, in China. “There’s made in China, and then there’s made in China,” he says. He promotes classic designs from France, England and Italy. All the pieces are unique, many are handmade, and a bespoke service is available. New to Lorenz & Z is a range of rich wallpaper from Europe and the States that feels as though it could carpet a floor.
To the front of the store is the expansive ‘Garden’, where Kevin sits among countless vases of vibrant, colourful blooms. But these flowers are artificial, and boy do you have to get close — touch them, even — to realise. “People can’t afford real flowers like they used to, they are just so expensive, and times are changing,” says Kevin as he wraps a bow around a bouquet. “It’s like everything, there are good fakes and bad ones. Our supplier also supplies Harrods in London and New York’s Bloomingdales, so if they have them, they must be good.” Being a legendary bridal designer, recognised with a Member of the Order, means Kevin, of course, knows a thing or two about flowers, too. Kevin’s wife passed away suddenly three years ago, so aside from some consultancy work, has been pretty much out of the game since. He’s happy to be back, offering services such as free flower arranging classes with a delivery option to come.
“I’m really enjoying it,” beams Kevin. “When you have been dealing with the public for more than 50 years, you miss it. My business has always been helping people.”
He and Anthony sure make a great team.
Lorenz & Z
96E Carlton Gore Rd, Newmarket | 09 524 8231
Open 7 Days 10am-5pm