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Home Dream Home
Edited by: Nina Martin; Interviews by: Joanne Furio, Stephanie Simons, Elizabeth Varnell, | December 28, 2007
The ultimate Bay Area self-help guide to fulfilling your interior fantasies
The best of right now
“I go to Limn to get an overview of what’s happening in furniture and design. The expansive showrooms go on and on. There’s a strong connection between modern furniture and art, so I love the on-site art gallery, which has regular shows of works that complement the furniture. Events there always draw a big crowd of local designers and design appreciators.”
290 Townsend St., S.F., 415-543-5466, www.limn.com
“Propeller is a smallish store with a well-curated collection from local and independent designers. It’s nice to be able to take in everything at once and gravitate toward what catches your eye. It’s like the home-design equivalent of a show at Great American Music Hall versus the Fillmore—just as enjoyable, but more intimate and surprising. There’s always something you haven’t seen everywhere else.” PAUL DONALD
555 Hayes St., S.F., 415-701-7767, www.propellermodern.com
Heirlooms in the making
“Not only does this cabinetmaker create gorgeous, handcrafted, Asian- and Craftsman-inspired furniture of the highest quality, but it’s also been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council for its use of sustainable, responsibly harvested wood.” ZEM JOAQUIN
2830 Seventh St., Berkeley, 510-549-2854, www.berkeleymills.com
Just in from Milan
Hiiko Modern Furniture
“This North Bay gem has a wonderful collection of modern furniture, mostly Italian imports. I especially love the sleek, contemporary bookcases and great modern desks.” JEAN LARETTE 711 e. Francisco Blvd., San Rafael, 415-453-1600, www.hiiko.com
True works of art
“This shop has samples of furniture by some of the best craftsmen and artists from around the U.S. All of it is handmade and absolutely gorgeous. You can commission pieces like the ones on display or work with the very helpful staff to design your own unique variations.” SUE JOHNSON 407 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 707-431-0111, www.dovetailcollection.com
And don’t forget:
This Bay Area design icon is best known for artisan-made outdoor furniture and enormous terracotta pots. But the Berkeley flagship store also carries some of the most stunning dining tables around—stone slabs mounted on hand-forged metal; Moroccan tables paved with chartreuse tiles; sturdy, contemporary teak. Also check out Ted Boerner’s diminutive club chair, perfect for normal-size people who live in tight spaces.
1836 Fourth St., Berkeley, 510-548-4545, www.thegardener.com
Ruby Living Design
Well-made, midrange furniture and accessories are the big draws at this SoMa emporium, including sofas by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Emma Gardner’s eye-catching rugs, and bedroom pieces from Italy’s Baronet.
180 townsend st., s.f., 415-541-9206, www.rubyliving.com
Vintage and antiques
The grand tour
Drum & Co.
“A delightful source for decorative English and
Continental antique pieces.There’s always a jewel of an accessory to find in Johnny Drum’s shop, and I’m particularly fond of him.” [The selection of painted four-panel screens and chinoiserie tables is especially fine.] SUZANNE TUCKER
151 Vermont St., ste. 8, S.F., 415-551-1538, www.drumandco.com
Elegance to spare
“This shop has a wonderful mix of furniture housed in a minimal yet welcoming showroom. Clean, simple, organic design is what owner Sam Hamilton seeks. Natural materials and fibers predominate—rustic wood, stoneware—along with compelling leather and metal pieces by Jacques Adnet and other works by great 20th-century designers. Melissa Emergui, the engaging store manager, is always on hand to help you find your next treasure.” ED HARDY
3075 Sacramento St., S.F., 415-931-7433
Deal of the century
“Funky but fabulous furniture at really reasonable prices. Owner Greg Favors is laid-back but knows his stuff and can help with virtually anything. He made many of my custom couches—most people couldn’t work with natural rubber fill—and he reupholstered my flea market finds in environmentally sensitive fabrics that I supplied.” ZEM JOAQUIN
2179 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, 510-843-3565, www.troutfarm.biz
C. Mariani Antiques & Restoration
“Claudio Mariani specializes in Italian antiques, including a lot of wonderful painted pieces. He also does repairs and reproductions.” SUZANNA ALLEN gallery and workshop: 1301 Harrison St., S.F., 415-541-7868; boutique: 499 Jackson St., S.F.; www.cmarianiantiques.com
Classics from the East
Evelyn’s Antique Chinese Furniture
“We use a lot of Chinese furniture in our work; it’s very timeless. This place on Hayes Street looks small from the outside, but there’s a big warehouse out back full of interesting pieces. Anything that isn’t in perfect shape, they will fix up for you.” [You can also commission custom pieces.] SUZANNA ALLEN 381 Hayes St., S.F., 415-255-1815, www.evelynantique.com
Rue de Grenelle
“I had the pleasure of shopping with owner Claude Hubert last fall in France. He personally selects every piece in his store. Walking into his shop is like walking into his chateau in the Loire Valley. If his antiques could talk, each would have a wonderful story to tell.” KENDALL WILKINSON 499 Carolina St., S.F., 415-503-1556, ruedegrenelleantiques.1stdobs.com
The finest pedigrees
“This is a wonderful source of antique European furniture from the 18th and early 19th centuries as well as pieces with provenance, such as a 12-panel coromandel lacquered screen, circa 1714, that was purchased from the estate of Mrs. Sheldon Cooper [Patricia Tobin of the de Young family].” SUZANNE TUCKER
560 Jackson St., S.F., 415-781-4034, www.sanfranciscoantiquedealers.com/robertdomergue
Italian for connoisseurs
Foster-Gwin Period Antiques
“Superlative Italian antiques. Collier Gwin is a passionate collector who truly loves his trade. He is very knowledgeable about the provenance of the rare pieces in his lovely shop and hunts down the best of the best.” SUZANNE TUCKER
38 Hotaling Place, S.F., 415-397-4986, www.fostergwin.com
Flea market fabulous
“Chock-full of vintage and repurposed 20th-century prizes. Don’t be fooled by the size of this store. This little bastion of beautiful furniture and accessories rarely disappoints.”
ZEM JOAQUIN 2217 Polk St., S.F., 415-567-1555
La belle France
“This SoMa showroom specializes in French furniture, lighting, and antiques from 17th century to Art Deco. Owner Laurent Rebuffel goes all over France to scour for antiques, so he has a large selection and his prices are quite reasonable. He also knows the history of each piece well. If you’re looking to furnish a house in the French manner, this is like one-stop shopping.” FEDERICO DE VERA
963 Harrison St., S.F., 415-543-3515, www.habite.com
That one superlative piece
“One year he might be heavily into Portuguese antiques, then maybe it’s Italian or Art Deco. He is the best source for Venetian chandeliers in San Francisco.” SUZANNE TUCKER
“The real secret about Ed Hardy is that not everything is expensive. The selection is impeccable, and if you choose wisely, it’s actually less expensive than buying from Paris, London, or Rome.” FEDERICO DE VERA
188 HENRY ADAMS ST., S.F., 415-626-6300. WWW.EDHARDYSF.COM
“This small place has a surprising selection of Craftsman antiques and reproductions, including furniture, lighting, ceramics, and accessories. Owner Lee Jester is a decorator who can help pull together a few things or redo a whole room. The service is super—when I’m looking at a shop, that’s really important.” SUE JOHNSON
3048 Claremont Ave., Berkeley, 510-655-6503, www.craftsmanhome.com
Therien & Co.
“Unique Swedish, Danish, and Portuguese antique pieces of the highest quality. Their consistent eye and exceptional finds make
both the San Francisco and L.A. stores among my favorite stops.” SUZANNE TUCKER
411 Vermont St., S.F., 415-956-8850, www.therien.com
And don’t forget:
This posh store epitomizes Hollywood style in the grand old days, with pieces by Jacques Adnet, Jean Royere, and Samuel Marx. A true connoisseur, Storck selects furniture and objects that are modern yet glamorous, marrying easily with this city’s lingering Victorian sensibility and its tougher contemporary edge.
295 Kansas St., S.F., 415-863-1777, benjaminstorckltd.1stdibs.com
To-die-for midcentury furniture displayed like fine art. Owners Roth Martin and Steven Volpe have an unerring eye, favoring great French and American designers from the 1930s through the ’80s. Decorative objects in bronze, shagreen, bone, and exotic woods are equally inspiring.
48 Gold St., S.F., 415-433-2233, www.hedgegallery.com
An impressive selection of antique tansu and other Japanese furniture, painted screens, vintage kimonos, and decorative objects, most made between 1870 and the 1930s. The store receives a container shipment of treasures every few weeks, so the stock changes quickly. For quality this high, prices are shockingly reasonable. 1420 Sutter St., S.F., 415-929-8278, www.kikuimports.com
Co-owners Michael De Angelis and Samuel Genthner specialize in high-quality midcentury-modern items, snatched up from the best estate sales and auctions and given a fresh coat of fabulousness. The prizes include Sciolari chandeliers from the ’60s, chrome chandeliers from the ’70s, and Danish modern and Hollywood Regency furniture. Plans are to open a second store near the Design Center for the priciest pieces, leaving the Mission store to carry the more moderate wares.
572 Valencia St., S.F., 415-861-9800
Meet our dream team
Suzanna Allen and Lauren Daley are interior designers with the Wiseman Group in San Francisco.
Steve Const is an associate partner with the San Francisco architecture firm Kuth/Ranieri.
Federico de Vera is a collector of glass, art, and exquisite objects and the owner of the de Vera boutiques in San Francisco and New York.
Charles Denning is a leading Bay Area cabinetmaker. Paul Donald is a graphic designer and the owner of Branch, a San Francisco shop devoted to locally and sustainably made home furnishings and housewares.
Kay Evans is the author of Bay Area by Design, a home decor resource guide. She has been an interior designer for 30 years.
Ed Hardy, one of the Bay Area’s foremost antiquarians, is the founder of Ed Hardy San Francisco, which carries pieces from the 17th through 20th centuries.
Zem Joaquin, House and Garden’s intrepid green editor and the founder of Ecofabulous.com, was born on Joan Baez’s commune in Palo Alto.
Sue Johnson sells custom lamps and shades at her shop on Berkeley’s Solano Avenue.
Jean Larette is the founder of her self-named interior design firm, based in Marin.
Olle Lundberg is a San Francisco architect whose recent projects include the Slanted Door in the Ferry Building.
Gabriella Sarlo is an antiques aficionado and a co-owner of the San Francisco furniture and accessories store Sarlo Wick.
Sheri Sheridan owns Swallowtail, which sells vintage furniture and accessories, and is a co-founder of Disfigure, a San Francisco firm that designs furniture and commercial interiors.
Benjamin Storck, an obsessed collector of midcentury-modern furniture, owns stores in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Suzanne Tucker is a principal of the Tucker & Marks interior design firm and a protégé of local design legend Michael Taylor.
Steven Volpe, the globe-trotting founder of his own interior design firm, is a co-owner of Hedge Gallery, a San Francisco shop specializing in midcentury furniture.
Kendall Wilkinson is an interior designer and owner of the Presidio Heights home boutique Threshold.
Kenneth Wingard, creator of contemporary furniture and accessories, has two shops in San Francisco.
Working the Design Center
The San Francisco Design Center is a natural starting point for anyone thinking of refreshing or redoing their place: three buildings with more than 100 showrooms and 2,000 of the world’s top home furnishings manufacturers, plus dozens of other shops in the surrounding district. But if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, or you’re in the just-fantasizing stage, you’ll need some inside tips, since the vast majority of showrooms are open to the trade only (you must be a design pro or a client).
Sign on for a designer-led tour. It’s a great way for first-timers to familiarize themselves with the center without getting overwhelmed. To schedule, call 415-490-5888 or fill out the form at www.sfdesigncenter.com/designer/scheduletour.html. Tours are complimentary, though donations (to the nonprofit Philanthropy by Design) are strongly encouraged.
Hire a designer by the hour. The Design Center has a number of decorators affiliated with its Design Studio (portfolios are available for browsing online) who can help you work with trade-only retailers even if your project is quite small. Other options: get a recommendation from a friend or find a decorator through the American Society of Interior Designers (www.asid.org).
Use a professional buyer. If you find something you love at a trade-only retailer, a buying service can fill out the paperwork so you get the designer discount without actually having to hire one. If you need more help than that, services like Access Decor (415-565-7115, www.accessdecor.com), Buy Design (415-626-4944), and Just Buy (415-626-5730) can act as a personal shopper for everything from furniture to fabric and tile. Though they have offices at the Design Center, they also shop off-premises, and some will even help sell your old stuff—all at a fraction of the cost of a full-service designer.
Hit the sample sale and Artwalk. Held twice a year (the next one is Thanksgiving weekend, November 24–25), the sample sale is a bargain hunter’s fantasy, so get there early. Admission is $6. Look for discount coupons in the Chronicle Datebook section. The summer Artwalk, celebrating the center’s 35th anniversary, is a self-guided tour; call for details.
Dress sharp. The Design Center is not a sweatshirt-and-Nikes kind of place. Save them for Home Depot. 101 Henry Adams St., s.f., 415-490-5800, www.sfdesigncenter.com
The new new zing
“It’s one of my first stops when I’m looking for anything for my apartment. They have a great collection in a wide variety of categories, including a new furniture showroom. They also turn up high-quality dead stock manufactured years ago, like midcentury Japanese lacquerware in unexpected colors. I found a beautiful Merida rug there for my bedroom. It’s made from strands of twisted paper that have been woven together, and the texture feels great underfoot. You get what you pay for: products that cost more often make up for it in longevity, both structurally and aesthetically. After eight years, that rug still looks new.”
PAUL DONALDStore: 1905 Fillmore St., S.F., 415-776-2100; showroom: 2410 California St., S.F., 415-776-9002; www.zincdetails.com
Flair for the dramatic
“This recent arrival from Los Angeles always has unusual objects that I would personally love to have in my home and shops. It’s very much the L.A. aesthetic, with an eye for the dramatic, but very tasteful. There’s also an attractive line of limited-edition lamps, furniture, and objects cast in bronze.” FEDERICO DE VERA 2021 17th st., s.f., 415-934-9228, www.Blackmancruz.com
To your health
“Everyone I’ve ever sent to Spring becomes obsessed with it. From bamboo bowls and organic bedding to air purifiers and phosphate-free detergents, this beautiful store makes eco-shopping easy and invigorating.” ZEM JOAQUIN 2162 Polk St., S.F., 415-673-2065, www.astorecalledspring.com
Worth a road trip
Artists & Farmers
“Much of what I know about design I learned from Jil Hales, so it’s no surprise she’s opened the chicest accessory store this side of London. The eclectic Artists & Farmers is at the old Healdsburg Opera House site, next to her acclaimed restaurant and event space, Barndiva. What I appreciate most is that ‘reclaimed’ is the recurring theme here in a mix of things that includes fine hemp tablecloths, wood bowls, and French market knives.” ZEM JOAQUIN
237 Center St., Healdsburg, 707-431-7404, www.artistsandfarmers.com
A punch of color
“Designer Kendall Wilkinson does a great job pulling together the right mix of antiques and modern accessories without fear of color. It’s hard to leave this chic and spacious shop without a great gift for a friend or something for yourself.”SUZANNE TUCKER 3419 Sacramento St., S.F., 415-409-1966, www.threshold
That special something
“This place has the best collection of well-priced gifts—bone dishes, sculptural silvered trees for display, many interesting pieces with an Asian flavor. One side of the store is devoted to owner Diana Rudsten’s artistic displays. She is quite the character, with exquisite taste.” JEAN LARETTE
316 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, 415-485-5061
Tongue in chic
“I really like his lacquerware, especially the tables and chairs in pretty colors like robin-egg blue and creamy white. These pieces, along with his Hollywood Regency-style lamps, have a modern edge yet work so well with antiques.” SHERI SHERIDAN 2133 fillmore st., s.f.,
Wonderful and weird
“This amazing store, which carries incredible French decorative objects, art, and furnishings, is so inspirational for me! The owner, Bill Haskell, has the eye of an artist, with a style I absolutely adore—he actually inspired me to open my own store. Some of the treasures I’ve found there include antique doll heads, glass boxes with eyeballs, and other obscure French artifacts. I’ve never walked out without buying something.” SHERI SHERIDAN 1522 grant ave., s.f.,
In the classic style
Colarik van Doorn
“Antique dealer Paul Colarik and interior designer Jay van Doorn share a discerning eye for the unique, elegant, and classical. Their passions include American and Continental silver pieces, neoclassical decorative early engravings, and beautiful Tiffany aesthetic movement pieces. You might find a stunning Cartier sterling and jade Art Deco cigarette box, antique collections of French shadow-boxed beetles, an array of grand tour souvenirs, or maybe a selection of architectural model staircases.”
gabriella sarlo email@example.com
And don’t forget:
Ken Wingard’s aesthetic might be described as Mod Squad groovy. His witty “mo-bi-le-o” is a cross between a wall hanging and a sequined Edie Sedgwick minidress. Other great finds include sleek ceramic vases, starburst clocks and mirrors, and floor cushions in go-go-boot white pleather.
2127 Union St., S.F., 415-345-1999; 2319 Market St., S.F., 415-431-6900; www.kennethwingard.com
This Hayes Valley design mecca carries the city’s broadest selection of Heath ceramics (those gorgeous Slanted Door plates and bowls you’re tempted to tuck, cellophane noodles and all, into your purse). The luminous, Yves Béhar–designed space is the perfect showcase for furniture and objects from such modern icons as Herman Miller, Kartell, Vitra, and Alessi.
401 hayes St., S.F., 415-552-1717, store.shop-friend-sf.com
This scrupulously edited, eclectic shop is all French vanilla and extradark chocolate. It’s a great source of glam vintage furniture, antique globes, and ceramics in every conceivable shade of cream. The lighting selection includes translucent alabaster lamps, ivory silk lanterns from Paris, and handblown Murano glass sconces and chandeliers.
597 Hayes St., S.F., 415-558-0482, www.alabastersf.com
Designer Myra Hoefer has renamed her tiny wine country shop (formerly 21st Arrondissement), but she carries the same great mix of accessories and furniture picked up during her frequent forays to France.
309 healdsburg ave., healdsburg, 707-433-2166
Ecofriendly home design is made so inviting here that you’ll wonder why anyone would choose any other kind. The finds include whimsical hemp cushions, vases and tableware from glass that’s been recycled using wind power, mod-looking pillows in reclaimed ultrasuede, even luxe Swiss towels from 100 percent beechwood fibers (superabsorbent and sustainably harvested, of course).
245 s. van ness ave., ste. 304, S.F., 415-341-1824, www.branchhome.com
Best in showplace
“Visiting this huge SoMa showroom is so illuminating! Founded in the 1930s, it’s become one of the Bay Area’s largest assemblages of decorative and architectural lighting fixtures. It also stocks a huge assortment of bulbs and other lighting accessories. There’s even free parking across the street.” KAY EVANS
1585 Folsom St., S.F., 415-863-2020, www.citylightssf.com
Mass, not crass
“This website makes shopping for lighting so easy. The variety is amazing—everything from contemporary designs by the likes of Thomas O’Brien to very traditional Ye Olde English. The finishes, especially, are a lot better than what you find in many mass-produced lines.” LAUREN DALEY
If Chanel did lamp shades
Le Bella Copia
“This is my absolute favorite source for the most beautiful custom lamp shades. They are all hand done with great attention to detail. I go to them for the simplest shades, perhaps something in laminated silk or paper, as well as much more complicated pieces—say, a couture shade with a narrower box pleat at the top and a wider one at the bottom and butterfly origami pleating along the edge.” SUZANNE TUCKER 255 Kansas St., Ste. 320, S.F., 415-255-0452
“When Alan Edwards was ready for retirement, he sold his lamp shade manufacturing business in the Los Angeles area and headed north. But his wife wanted him to keep busy, so he opened this small, friendly shop. He does lamp repair and rewiring, but most of his business is still in lamp shades, with several thousand on hand, plus swatches of fabric and trims to order a custom shade if you don’t find the perfect one in stock. His family has over 60 years of experience and connections in the industry, so chances are he can find whatever you’re looking for. But don’t just bring in the old shade—bring the lamp!” KAY EVANS 120 Second Ave., San Mateo,
Shades of Maybeck
Sue Johnson Custom Lamps and Shades
“Sue is a lamp designer who’s operated out of a small shop in Berkeley for 30 years. She and her talented staff can figure out how to turn any treasured item, be it a rare Chinese figure or Grandma’s favorite vase, into a lamp and then design the perfect shade to go with it. They carry a big selection of Craftsman-inspired shades in mica and parchment paper that they can tint any color, often using a sponge technique that gives an unusual, richly textured look.” KAY EVANS
1745 Solano Ave., Berkeley, 510-527-2623, www.suejohnson
“I have found Victor Lighting, in the Bayshore district, to be the best for my eclectic lighting needs. They can repair, rewire, or modify any lamp. They have tons of experience, and I think they secretly love the challenge of an odd or difficult request. Example: I brought in a midcentury-modern chandelier with broken crystals. They were able to find the unusual, six-inch-long crystal prisms to repair it.”
SHERI SHERIDAN 2166 Palou Ave., S.F., 415-285-1280
Dogfork Lamp Arts
“I just had Michael Donnelly and his staff restore a Gio Ponti chandelier, and I have to say they did an incredible job. I’ve worked with them for a while, and I’m always amazed by the quality of their work and service. This is definitely the premier source in the city for lamp restoration of all kinds, vintage and new. They also design one-of-a-kind pieces, and they even have parking.” BENJAMIN STORCK 2129 Harrison St., S.F., 415-699-6733, firstname.lastname@example.org
And don’t forget:
Mainly known for its ultra-modern furniture, this well-edited store also carries up-to-the-minute European chandeliers, sconces, and lamps displayed in room-like settings. Not as big as some other Bay Area design shrines, but not as intimidating, either, with salespeople who know when to help you and when to leave you alone.
560 ninth St., S.F., 415-565-7200, www.arksf.com
This spiffed-up sibling to Berkeley’s beloved Ohmega Salvage specializes in vintage and reproduction lighting from the Victorian through Art Deco eras. Pair dozens of glass shades with metal fittings in a handful of finishes. There’s also a good selection of forged metal curtain rods, hard-to-find wooden medicine cabinets, and made-to-order Craftsman-style doors.
2204 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, 510-843-3636,
Tony Kitz Oriental Carpets
“This Pacific Heights shop is a wonderful and reliable source for decorative vintage Moroccan rugs, Baktiaris, Oushaks, and others. He has a great eye for choosing high-quality carpets with striking designs. There’s also a good selection of vintage African tribal, Asian, and Persian textiles.” SUZANNE TUCKER
2843 Clay St., S.F., 415-346-2100, www.tonykitzrugs.com
The finest antiques
Peter Pap Oriental Rugs
“Peter is an internationally known connoisseur of the finest collectible antique rugs, from Agras to Sultanabads and my favorite, Khotans. And he’s a great guy, to boot—extraordinarily helpful, with a wonderful temperament, and completely trustworthy.” SUZANNE TUCKER
470 Jackson St., S.F., 415-956-3300, www.peterpap.com
“This is a good, all-around source for quality, basic carpeting, with a large selection, fair prices, and a helpful staff.” SUZANNA ALLEN
3301 Geary Blvd., S.F., 415-752-6620, www.abbeycarpet.com
And don’t forget:
Medallion Rug Gallery
Three showrooms house a huge collection of mainly new rugs made by traditional craftsmen in Iran, India, Pakistan, and China. This family-run business also carries new rugs in the Euro-grand tradition and a just-launched line of highly graphic pieces by Marin designer Jean Larette.
323 University Ave., Palo Alto, 800-300-7847, www.medallionrug.com
This airy Hayes Valley shop features one-of-a-kind Iranian felted-wool rugs in fresh colors and striking, contemporary designs. You can collaborate with owners Melina and Dodd Raissnia to create your own pattern or borrow one of their creations to see how it works in your home and your life.
535 Octavia blvd., S.F., 415-255-9940, www.peaceindustry.com
Retrospect Fine Furniture
“Cornelius Ross, who opened this shop in 1991, comes from a family of artisans—they ran the now-defunct Ross Upholstery on Fillmore. He does a lot of 20th-century pieces and is very accommodating when it comes to one’s own design—he once built a large living room set for me from scratch.” FEDERICO DE VERA
1649 Market St. (lower level), S.F., 415-863-7414, www.retrospectfurniture.com
“This Mission district shop will do a great job with straightforward projects, like refurbishing an old sofa. But we’ve also tapped them to develop custom furniture, upholstered wall panels—pretty eccentric stuff. Upholstery isn’t just covering something with a piece of fabric. There are also technical and practical issues. Is it going to be a pristine piece that sits in the corner and won’t be touched very often, or will your family and kids give it a lot of use? How can you fabricate it so it holds up better? These guys can point out the benefits and drawbacks of a particular fabric or talk about how one style of seam might be more comfortable or lasts longer than another. They are very creative, very involved in all the details.” Steve const
2750 19th St., S.F., 415-648-6161, www.fitzgeraldcompany.com
Endless swatches, friendly service
Kay Chesterfield Company
“This place is an Oakland institution; I’ve been collaborating with them so long they practically feel like family. They are quick, efficient, and a pleasure to work with, and their selection of fabric is so large that you’re guaranteed to find just the right thing, whether you’re redoing a midcentury-modern chair or a Victorian granny heirloom. Kay Chesterfield made my signature Louis chairs, which are covered in a graffiti camo fabric that’s printed with lines from the Declaration of Independence. Those chairs have been so popular that I’ve had an additional 75 made.” SHERI SHERIDAN
6365 Coliseum Way, Oakland, 510-533-5565, www.reupholster.com
Fit for a king
Belmar Upholstery Corp.
Markus Miretsky learned the art of upholstery from his grandfather, a Ukrainian master who restored some of the furnishings at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. Before coming to the U.S., he did the furniture restoration for Peter the Great’s original home in Kiev. Not surprisingly, he and his wife, Bella, and daughter, Ilona, provide a level of service that is positively courtly.
“They work closely with each client to achieve his or her vision, down to the most nuanced details. One of my favorite Markus projects was a chic pair of 1940s Italian upholstered armchairs with ebonized wishbone frames and brass terminals. I was delighted with the tailored result.” ED HARDY
2525 16th St., 2nd floor, S.F., 415-621-7447, www.belmarcompany.com
With all the trimmings
Horner & Co.
“Sherrie Horner’s workroom produces the most exquisite custom draperies. The sky’s the limit. She’s organized to the max, so that once you’ve given her a job, you can forget about it. She thinks of everything, looks at the job from every angle and detail. Her workshop is so immaculate—everything is in perfect rows and in containers with nothing out of place—I couldn’t believe it the first time I saw it!” SUZANNE TUCKER
699 Monterey Blvd., S.F.,
Roman Shades by Werner Menard
“Not only does Werner do great roman shades and other window coverings, I love his upholstery work. I recently brought him a 19th-century French daybed, and he covered it in white silk with bubblegum pink bolsters, giving it a totally fresh and modern new look.” GABRIELLA SARLO
450 Ninth St., S.F., 415-864-6452, www.romanshadesbymenard.com
Like mom ’n’ pop
Art Shade Shop
“I love going to this quirky little shop—it’s like walking back in time. Owner Christine Vidali is sweet and patient and will walk you through all of your window-shade options. They make everything right there, so you can create a custom shade at prices that are much better than at one of the bigger generic shade places. I ordered their shades for one room in my house and have gone back five times—I think I’m finally out of windows.”
698 14th st., s.f., 415-431-5074
The Lotus Collection
“Kathleen Taylor, with her background in art history at Mills College, is one of the leading sources of antique textiles in the U.S. She also has a second gallery devoted to fine contemporary rugs. Taylor and her staff are constantly on the hunt for Asian and European wall hangings, pillows, and other textiles, including hand-printed Fortuny panels from the 1920s. Some of the most striking pieces are her ceremonial weavings and embroideries from Africa.” KAY EVANS
432 JACKSON ST. (RUGS) AND 445 JACKSON ST. (TEXTILES), S.F., 415-398-2116/415-398-8115, WWW.KTAYLOR-LOTUS.COM
Dintiman Design Associates
“Robin Dintiman makes fabulous hand-printed fabrics—silks, linens, cottons—and she is an excellent source for custom-dyed chenilles. She can make any custom color we need. A delight to work with, she’s a true craftsperson, passionate about printing, design, and a handmade look. She strives to produce a product you can’t find anywhere else.” SUZANNE TUCKER
409 Petaluma Blvd. S., Petaluma, 707-766-8326, www.dintimandesign.com
Linens and bedding
Little Luxuries Haute Home “Crisp, clean, and classic are the words I would use to describe this little shop a couple of blocks from my own store. I use Haute Home to dress out all my clients’ bathrooms, guest rooms, kitchens, and dining rooms. Everyone on the staff is so knowledgeable, and the linens are of the highest quality. Using linen napkins every day is such a simple indulgence, and it is also a very environmentally friendly thing to do. I always suggest that my clients make nice linens a part of their daily living.”
3234 Sacramento St., S.F., 415-674-0560
The elegant bed
High Cotton Living
“This home-furnishings shop in North Berkeley stocks top brands of American and European linens [often at great sale prices!], as well as furniture and lighting by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and others.” SUZANNA ALLEN
1820 Solano ave., berkeley, 510-526-4770, www.highcottonliving.com
Never out of style
“The owner of the Union Square shop is very accommodating and helpful. The merchandise is of excellent quality, and they carry the same lines for a long time, so that, for example, if a pillowcase gets stained and you want to replace it with an identical set in a couple of years, they can get the exact same thing.” LAUREN DALEY
340 Sutter St., S.F., 415-392-2813, www.scheuerlinens.com
And don’t forget:
Sue Fisher King
This meticulously edited boutique is known for Anichini linens and Carrara towels as well as French porcelain, stainless steel and silver-plated flatware, Murano glass, and candles. Owner Sue Fisher King culls her treasures during her frequent travels in Europe. Her beautiful table settings and objects will inspire you to rearrange your flat and put out your best china.
3067 Sacramento St., S.F.,
Faux your amusement
Willem Racké Studio
“Willem and his resident artists are the crème de la crème of faux finishers. If you need someone who can wood grain the powder room, put a mural on your ceiling, or Venetian plaster the living room, this is your guy!” KENneth WINGARD
“He’s fantastic at painting faux inlay. One of his masterpieces for us was a 5-by-5-foot bathroom done entirely in a faux tortoiseshell—he almost went blind! That bathroom was copied by many people, which, as they say, is the highest form of flattery.” SUZANNE TUCKER
1811 Folsom St., S.F., 415-252-1341, www.willemrackestudio.com
Light finishes, glorious touches
“Hands-down, her workshop creates some of the most highly refined light glazes and strie finishes anywhere. Her line of beautiful cabinet pulls, finials, and curtain rods sets her apart from the rest.”
365 Tehama St., S.F., 415-243-9746, www.elisastancil.com
Nikolas Weinstein Studios
Among glassmakers, Nik Weinstein ranks as a superstar. His lighting installations and sculptural pieces can be found in private residences from San Francisco to Berlin. He also does more traditional restorations.
“I have drawn on his staff’s superior glass-blowing techniques when elements of glass are in need of replacement [for example, on an 18th-century rococo-style Spanish mirror that had been damaged]. Nik understands the dynamics of glass and the engineering necessary for its successful interaction with other materials, which makes for creative custom applications. He also has his own creative and ethereal line of vases and other objects [available at Gump’s].” ED HARDY
1649 Valencia St., S.F.,
SF Silver Glass & Mirror
“Owner Rosa Martinez is a gem! I have brought her damaged mirrored furniture and she has worked her magic, bringing the pieces back to life with the workmanship of a true artisan. When you walk in the door, you feel as though you are walking back in time. Customer service like in
the good old days.”
2401 Bush St., S.F., 415-931-3188, www.SFsilverglass.com
That rare find
“I use Paige Glass for tabletops, antique mirror replacement, and any specialty glass I may require. They have an old-world pride in craftsmanship and attention to service that I just love. Once I brought in a 19th-century Venetian mirror that was accidentally broken in my store. A couple of the pieces were broken, which dropped the value from $7,500 to worthless. Since that kind of authentic glass is so hard to find, the owner, Ken Paige, and I thought the mirror was probably a lost cause. But he offered to keep it around just in case. And as luck would have it, he ended up finding the exact pieces in Italy at a flea market!”
1531 Mission St., S.F., 415-621-5266, www.paigeglass.com
Metalsmiths and sculptors
Flourishes from another era
“He’s a local gem. He does the most superb hand-forged metal work—handrails, doors, gates, and grilles—and absolutely exquisite bronze work that he designs as well as fabricates [mainly in a highly decorative style, with frequent Art Nouveau flourishes]. He is truly an artisan in every sense of the word.”
2801 Giant Rd., ste. 1, Richmond,
“Dave Holsonback and his team of craftspeople produce metalwork of the highest quality and design. They can make almost anything, from exquisite custom-cast bronze lamps [lighting fixtures are among their specialities] to decorative objects, railings, doors, and gates. They are also expert at producing or re-creating authentic patinas.”
45 Gilbert St., S.F., 415-553-4183, www.reification.com
Sweating the small stuff
Tony Orantes Adrian Burns
“A lot of metal shops don’t want to do smaller projects. Tony and Adrian, who both used to run my metal shop before going out on their own, will take those kinds of jobs—bathroom fixtures, custom sinks, even coat racks and door pulls—and do a nice job. Decorative work, handrails, stainless steel countertops, a piece of furniture, a dining room table, a frame to hold a wood slab—they can do almost anything.”
Orantes Architectural Metals, Inc., Building 672, Waterfront Ave., Mare Island, 707-562-3150, www.tonyorantes.com, Adrian Burns Fabrication,
591 Connecticut St., S.F., 415-533-9497
Romancing the stone
Manuel Palos Sculpture
“Manuel Palos is a local sculptor and craftsman whose work in marble, plaster, bronze, and other materials has garnered him international recognition. His company provides a range of services, including design, engineering, installation, and repair. He took part in the restoration work at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, and he created the urn finials on the piers and along the roofline of my showroom in San Francisco.” ED HARDY
1330 Donner Ave., S.F., 415-822-8034, www.manuelpalos.com
“Partners Chris Whitney and Tommy Hicks do any kind of architectural decorative metals: stair railings, fireplace surrounds, metal casework, entry gates, skylights, interior and exterior grilles. We go to them with any technical challenge and know we’re going to get a gorgeous piece—beautifully crafted and built to last. Like us, they favor contemporary projects. Chris is a good partner in design, working to keep the spirit of the piece intact if you have to make changes due to budget. He’s made a lot of our metal dreams come true.” STEVE CONST
1777 Yosemite Ave., S.F., 415-822-8565
For your Rembrandt
“This is without question the best custom framing shop in San Francisco, run by the very passionate and informed Heidi Knodle. She has framed museum-quality Old Master drawings for me, important paintings, as well as my teenage daughter’s artwork.” JEAN LARETTE
“They are great for antique frames and detailed custom work, such as the welded steel frames I prefer for photographs.” STEVEN VOLPE
840 Sansome St., S.F., 415-296-0400, www.cadre-sf.com
For your Arbus
Tamara Freedman specializes in photography, carefully toning her hand-finished wood frames to bring out the best in each image. “They have framed a lot of the work in our offices, including photos of our own projects done in sepia.” [The collector and gallery owner Jeffrey Fraenkel is another frequent customer.]
2131 Third St., S.F., 415-621-4661
For everything else
Sterling Art Services
“I’ve searched for good framers forever. They’re either too expensive or too cheap. These guys know what they’re doing, have great suggestions, and do an amazing job at a fair price. They’re really good with extralarge or weird pieces. They’re the ones who can figure out how to frame that antique kimono you bought on vacation.”
42 Norfolk St., S.F., 415-863-5800, www.steart.com
“Six years ago, I was looking for a unique bed frame to go with my new McRoskey Airflex mattress. A friend introduced me to local furniture designer Roy Mars. Not only was he interested in the bed’s form and structure, but he insisted on using sustainably harvested wood long before it became commonplace. Roy’s craftsmanship and attention to detail are second to none and his designs [though very contemporary], stand the test of time. To this day, people ask about my bed, which continues to be among my favorite possessions.” PAUL DONALD
The master copyist
“Mark Sommerfield has been designing furniture since 1987 and he is a master. He can copy any design or piece of furniture, or create one from an idea or picture in your mind. He also does sensitive and thoughtful retrofitting of antiques so they work in the modern world.” KAY EVANS
300 Kansas St., S.F., 415-552-9040, www.derapage.com
“Charles Denning and his small crew do a fantastic job on everything from kitchen cabinetry to oak-paneled libraries to store fixtures, including a lot of prototyping for Williams-Sonoma. They stand out in their ability to plan a project, working very hard on the front end so that installation is the smoothest part of the process. They tend to think I’m not detail-oriented enough, which is the kind of people I want working for me. You feel the skill that goes in their work just by moving a cabinet door.” steve const 25 dorman ave., S.F., 415-285-1311
Plays well with others
“When I needed custom built-in furniture for a (now-defunct) graphic design studio I used to share, my friend Adam introduced me to his bandmate, a Berkeley woodworker named Bernie Jungle. He took our basic design, improved on it,
and rendered it with exquisite craftsmanship—and he did it on time and within our budget. I really like working with independent designers. Not only is it a more personal way to do business, but it supports
the local economy in a very direct way.”
1001 pardee st., berkeley, 510-409-9082, email@example.com
J.A. Brass Polishing
“They’re my choice for doing custom metal finishes, nickel plating—anything that needs that a special finish. They’re particularly useful when something only comes in chrome or brass and you want a different look. Their pricing is very reasonable.” SUZANNE TUCKER
2635 land ave., sacramento, 916-922-0300, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nine lives for furniture
JAFE Custom Finishing
“They do all sorts of staining and finishing and are incredibly good with color. Refinishing old furniture is their strong point. They’ve restored a few pieces for me, including a really nice Arts and
Crafts oak table that was quarter-sawn and required a very specific treatment. They do a great job of matching or replicating an original finish.”
2425 17TH ST., S.F., 415-863-6196
A way with old floors
First, Last and Always Custom Wood Flooring “Deven Gadula can just work miracles with existing flooring. His respect for the material really comes through. We’ve done several ebonized floors recently, which are very challenging, especially in oak. At one project, we were trying to ebonize 4,500 square feet of oak that had been reworked several times in pretty unfortunate ways. There was a great deal of trial and error involved. The crew worked on their hands and knees for three weeks and did an impeccable job, evening out the existing colorations while bringing out the texture and richness of the wood. Deven has a wonderful showroom with a lot of different finishes
[he also installs floors from new and reclaimed wood]. He can tell you right away what’s possible.”
Shopping the chains
What’s worth checking out now?
Bloomingdale’s: decorative crystal bowls and vases; sumptuous bedding by Pratesi, Sferra Bros., and others
Container Store: everything to organize a closet
Crate & Barrel: slim-lined contemporary sofas; well-priced outdoor furniture; new ecofriendly line of indoor furniture and accessories in bamboo
Design Within Reach: modern classics, without the 50 years’ worth of nicks and scratches
Ikea: glass pendant lamps and other basic lighting; votives; bold cotton fabrics; frames to jazz up family photos & kids’ drawings—all at rock-bottom prices
Macy’s: huge selection of bedding and housewares; designer Barbara Barry’s furniture line for Baker
PB Teen: the coolest metal-locker-style furniture around, customizable in 10 colors, plus matching storage bins and baskets
Pottery Barn: tableware; picture frames; down pillows; coordinated paint line by Benjamin Moore
Restoration Hardware: swank silk curtains; sleek yet well-priced bathroom lighting and accessories
Room & Board: midcentury-style leather sofas; huge range of customized storage units, buffets, and dressers
Smith & Hawken: all-weather outdoor rugs; classic market umbrellas; the cushiest upholstered outdoor furniture
Target: exclusive lines by designers Thomas O’Brien, Victoria Hagen, Michael Graves, Todd Oldham, and Isaac Mizrahi
West Elm: midcentury-ish ceramics (happy colors, great prices)
Williams-Sonoma Home: well-built, generously scaled traditional pieces; luxurious bedding and towels