July 27th, 2014
We totally love our city. And what’s not to love? Every element of San Francisco makes us fall more and more in love… the Giants, the restaurants, and even the hills (can you say buns of steel?!). Pretty much, San Francisco is the best boyfriend ever. It also happens to be a true design and architecture destination! From classic Victorian homes to the lively Castro to the bustling Chinatown, San Francisco is definitely a diverse city, which is also represented through its eclectic design styles. To celebrate the unique nature that is San Francisco, we’re pairing up with The San Francisco Chronicle to take a deeper look at the bohemian nature of The City, as well as its mix & match inspired design. Oh, and we’re also giving away a bunch of stuff :).
What? Tell you more? Well ok. We’ve paired up with the Chronicle and their newly launched Sunday Lifestyle section to offer you an amazing opportunity to win $300 to shop Chairish, a 6-month Sunday delivery subscription to The Chronicle and a 6-month digital subscription to SFChronicle.com! We’re already jealous of the winner. Enter to win here.
But now you may be thinking, “sure I can buy a bunch of cool stuff, but how do I style it at home?” Fortunately, The Chronicle’s home design columnist, Paige Porter Fischer is here to help. As a seasoned editor and art director for big magazines like Better Homes & Gardens and Sunset magazine, we got a chance to pick her brain about all things San Francisco and design. She’s also picked her favorite SF goodies on Chairish for you to shop AND she’s shared ways to style these one-of-a-kind finds. Read on for more about San Francisco style and design tips + tricks!
Chairish: What do you think makes San Francisco stand out as a marketplace for boho and mix/match inspired design?
Paige: San Francisco is certainly a melting pot of folks from just about every walk of life one can imagine, but the diversity isn’t just about the population—it’s also about the design aesthetic. I think a few things contribute to the boho vibe here, and so much of it has to do with San Francisco’s reputation as a place where people can come to be themselves. People don’t move here to fall in line with trends; they come here to start their own. San Franciscans are an entrepreneurial, creative bunch, and they’re unafraid to express their personal styles. I love the dichotomy of design here—the historical houses filled with modern furnishings, the warehouse lofts decorated with oversize antiques. Anybody can pick a theme and shop an edited look out of a catalogue. But mixing and matching is so much more fun: A farmhouse table surrounded by Hans Wegner’s wishbone chairs; a wingback chair upholstered in Indian block print fabric; a Chesterfield sofa paired with a Lucite coffee table. Bohemian design exists in places where individuality is celebrated. And therein lies the beauty of the Bay Area.
Chairish: What are your favorite design destinations in SF for inspiration?
Paige: You can’t go far in this city without being stimulated. I have a large map of the city at home, and my husband and I often choose neighborhoods to check out or rediscover. Architecturally, I can go anywhere and be inspired—by the intricate craftsmanship of buildings, by paint colors on houses and doors, by tiny gardens packed with color and texture. As far as public spaces go, I enjoy all of the museums here, namely the De Young, MOMA, and The Palace of the Legion of Honor. As far as outside spaces, I cannot get enough of the Japanese Tea Gardens. I go there when I need a little break from the chaos of the city—it’s an oasis in the middle of Golden Gate Park that, for me, inspires a thousand Instagram photos. I love walking up and down Hayes Street in Hayes Valley, 18th and Valencia Streets in the Mission, Sacramento Street in Presidio Heights, and Divisadero in NOPA. The creativity of window displays, the constant evolution of restaurant design, and the people-watching are all endlessly inspiring.
Chairish: Which is more important, style or comfort, or can they live harmoniously?
Paige: I think it’s a shame if style and comfort don’t live harmoniously. I have scouted many homes that were impeccably built and decorated, and very photogenic to say the least, but there wasn’t a lot of life in them. They didn’t feel comfortable—or give off signs that they were lived in and loved. The homes I’ve written about that really spoke to me are the ones that truly represent the tastes of the people who inhabit them. You walk in and think, this home fits this family. They feel comfortable here, and they feel confident about their style and their design choices.
I always say that the most enviable person in the room at a dinner party isn’t necessarily the most beautiful or the best dressed, but rather the most confident. The person who commands the room is the person who is most comfortable in his or her skin. The same is so often true for design. I love it when people have confidence to break the rules a little bit, to experiment, to buck trends and buy things they love. I know a designer who had a thing for vintage western paintings. No one told her to buy them. They weren’t on trend; they just spoke to her. When she grouped them together on a wall, they told a story. It was her style, and it became this great design moment in her home and really relaxed her family’s living space.
Chairish: How do you see the mishmash of cultures and types of people (of San Francisco) expressed through design?
Paige: The funny thing about my job is that I’m paid to be a sort of voyeur. I get to peek inside so many people’s homes, all over this city. And even though stereotypes exist about certain neighborhoods, I have found that those presuppositions don’t exactly hold true design-wise. Of course there are more modern lofts and industrial spaces in Dogpatch and SOMA, and more Victorian and traditional houses in Presidio Heights and Pacific Heights. It’s impossible to deny there are certain genres of design that exist in certain zip codes, and that’s why Sue Fisher King and Hudson Grace do well on Sacramento Street and Viracocha and The Apartment thrive in the Mission. But what keeps the design scene interesting, again, is the mix: the hipster couple you’d expect to find in the Mission who actually live in the Outer Sunset and roast coffee beans in their popcorn maker and fill their Edwardian with mid-century modern flea market finds. Or the family who just moved back from being ex-pats in Singapore and outfitted their Pacific Heights Victorian with a perfect mix of Asian and Southern antiques. It is that element of surprise—the expect-the-unexpected vibe—that makes San Francisco bohemian to me.
Chairish: How did you choose the 40 pieces for Chairish? What were you looking for when you browsed the site for this collection— what were you immediately drawn to?
Paige: A good friend in the design world once told me to look for pieces that could have multiple lives—in other words, be put to many uses in many rooms. I am drawn to furniture that could function in different, unexpected ways. And I’m a big fan of objects that are conversation pieces in a house—from fun lighting and accessories to artwork. No one wants to show up at a party wearing the same dress as someone else. And that’s how I feel about decorating. You don’t want the room out of a catalogue that anyone could have. You want a room that tells a story. One-of-a-kind objects become the characters.
Chairish: Who has taught you the most about style?
Paige: I’d have to say Michael Walters. He’s a stylist I first met almost ten years ago, and he’s been on almost every set I’ve worked on in San Francisco. Stylists are the unsung heroes of magazines. They add the extra layer of personality or sophistication to a room if it’s not quite there yet, or edit what’s already in a room to keep things from looking cluttered or busy on camera. They have the difficult job of working very, very hard to look as if they were never there—as if the way we shoot a room is the way we found it. Michael has this extraordinary eye, and he can see a few low-res photos of a house that I’ve scouted and bring a truck load of options that are so fitting and perfect for the location the homeowner ends up begging to keep it all in the end. He’s a design magician. Plus, he’s just the most stylish guy I know—and effortlessly so. I rarely buy anything for my house—or my husband—unless I run it by him first.
Continue on for more style tips from Paige…
Brass is the new black these days, and this classic desk lamp has a fun updated wire shade. I love it.
Throws are to sofas what scarves are to men and women. These simple accessories can transform a sofa or chair. I love the classic look of this grey herringbone.
Sometimes, a room needs a little bit of color. These Chinese lacquered side tables are such a great shade of red—almost a neutral red—and would look great flanking a sofa or bed. They boast great storage, and I love the fretwork on the bottom shelf.
July 24th, 2014
You don’t need to spend time with the husband and wife team that owns Neato Vintage, Jesse and Caitlin, to know how highly they value having a great sense of humor. You can totally pick this up just by scrolling through their blog, which showcases a feed of new arrivals accompanied by witty one liners. Case in point: “A lovely pair of Paul McCobb dressers are visiting the shop, careful— they might follow you home.”
To be with Jesse and Caitlin is not only to experience firsthand their playful nature; it’s to see how much they love one another and their work. In their Humboldt Park storefront, they told me how a mutual passion for “the old, awesome, unique and obscure” united them. Further explaining the urge to seek out, collect and resell pre-owned and vintage items, Jesse describes how his father was himself a collector, and how he grew up wandering the flea markets with dear old dad.
The store is filled with a thoughtful mix of timeless, functional wooden Mid-Century pieces and decor to make any space instantly have a unique and collected feel. Oh yes, and it is proudly patrolled by Mischka The Cat (often featured snoozing comfortably on the blog). Ultimately, this mix reflects quite accurately Caitlin and Jesse’s personalities. It is clear that along with a willingness to be cheeky and have fun, a sincerity about and reverence for the history and impact of furniture design goes hand-in-hand for these two. Below, they speak directly to any collector’s soul when describing their favorite vacation and force us to admit that Pixar has gone beyond nailing ageless humor, but also must have some animators that double as design lovers.
July 21st, 2014
Here at Chairish, we’re really excited to be launching a special collection that’s near and dear to our hearts. The Holiday House Hamptons designer sale features drool-worthy items from local design luminaries Iris Dankner, Elizabeth Dow, Scott Formby, Jen Going, Ford Huniford, Eugenia Au Kim, Campion Platt and Elsa Soyars. The best part? A portion of the proceeds will be donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Living room designed by Iris Dankner. Photo: Rikki Snyder Photography
The Holiday House Hamptons is a designer show house presented by HC&G (Hamptons Cottages & Gardens), that was started by Holiday House founder and breast cancer survivor, Iris Dankner. When Iris was first diagnosed with breast cancer sixteen years ago, she noticed that there was a lack of high profile interior design events in the New York City area benefiting women’s issues. Inspiration struck and she combined her two passions— interior design and fundraising for breast cancer research. We were so inspired by Iris and knew we had be involved in her event. This partnership gives the Chairish community an opportunity to support this great cause, while shopping for amazing decor.
Living room designed by Iris Dankner. Photo: Rikki Snyder Photography
From founder Iris Dankner:
"We are thrilled to partner with Chairish for our Holiday House Hamptons designer sale. Vintage lovers across the country can shop participating designers’ pieces online, and Chairish is donating the proceeds to a cause near to my heart, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation."
Living room designed by Iris Dankner. Photo: Rikki Snyder Photography
What’s also special about the Holiday House Hamptons is that each designer styled their room around a special moment in their life or a holiday, making the event an opportunity to celebrate life as well as fight breast cancer.
The Living Room: Ford Huniford. Photo: Paul Domzal at Edge Media
The Bungalow Guest Room: Jen Going. Photo: Paul Domzal at Edge Media
The Study: Elizabeth Dow Home. Photo: Paul Domzal at Edge Media
The Poolhouse Lounge: Scott Formby. Photo: Rikki Snyder Photography
The Outdoor Patio Dining Area: Eugenia Au Kim. Photo: Paul Domzal at Edge Media
The Bedroom: Elsa Soyars. Photo: Paul Domzal at Edge Media
Which room is your favorite? Love them all? You can see the rooms in person, shop the limited pieces on Chairish, or pick up the August issue of HC&G featuring all the designers’ rooms from the Holiday House Hamptons.
July 20th, 2014
There is really only one word to describe Jason and Rob Colosi-McCann’s Chicago store Inside Home. That word is lovely. Outfitted largely with pieces in serene shades of cream, champagne and grey with warm flashes of bronze and brass throughout, it truly is a refined, elegant space to behold. Another appealing thing about Inside Home? The inventory consists of a superb mix of vintage, new and custom pieces, with some sparkly eye candy in the form of jewelry thrown in as a delicious bonus. What’s a girl to do but fall in love?
Good taste is easy to spot, and just visiting Inside Home is proof that these two have it. But when they name their favorite designers and what current brands they admire, this becomes even more clear. They cite Milo Baughman as a hero and claim that ultra chic and anything-but-trendy brands like Holly Hunt and Caste inspire them. They believe in mixing the old and the new to create seamless and cohesive interiors. The cherry on top is that they also offer their own line of custom-made upholstered goods, so one can literally design the piece of her dreams, picking every finish from wood-stain to fabric to cushion composition. What more could any shopper want, I ask you?!
They respect the simplicity and restraint of the Mid-Century style, but can’t help but be drawn to the glam that defines the Hollywood Regency look. To which I say: I hear that!!Together with their adorable son, they hosted me in their store and nailed defining the two essentials every designer can’t live without.
July 16th, 2014
Selling vintage furniture + thinking about interior design all day = happiness. It’s a simple equation, but for Kim Tanner it was the only solution to the age old question we all ask ourselves at some point: what do I want to do with my life? According to Kim, one day she asked herself this exact question, knowing that whatever she did, each day had to be filled with joyful, fulfilling work. That was that- Strangelovely was born.
She opened up shop in 2011 in a space she shares with another gal you may have heard of on this very blog- Marianne of Savoy Flea. Now you might be thinking, what gives, aren’t those two competitors? Not quite. After meeting at the Chicago Vintage Bazaar, they became close friends and discussed how one huge obstacle every furniture collector must tackle is finding a space big enough to hold everything.
Realizing that they would have an easier time finding such a space together, they started the search as a team. Now they both have the space needed to sell and restore (Marianne specializes in paint refinishing, while Kim does the re-upholstering). Plus, who doesn’t love to work with a friend close by!? They can do everything from host events to gossip with each another under one roof, but as independent stores. So cool. Below, Kim talks shop and the single most important factor to consider when shopping for furniture if you live in Chicago.
July 14th, 2014
Here at Chairish, we understand the deep dedication people have to their pooches. But VERN + VERA owner Eric Silverstrim’s love goes way beyond belly rubs and Milk Bones. He not only named his dream store after them, he can sum up his whole business mission statement with them as the basis!
What on earth does that mean, you say? Well, it’s not as literal as you think, but the dogs do have very different personalities, and one is black while the other is white. But it’s more about Eric’s belief that great interior design is about a duality and an opposition between “masculine and feminine, colorful and monochromatic, or sculptural and streamlined. It’s the tension in those contrasts that creates compelling environments.” Hear, hear! He is also a firm believer that Mid-Century pieces will stand the test of time to not only be stylish and relevant forever, but that their fine craftsmanship makes them destined to hold up for years.
Read on to learn more about Eric’s journey into furniture sales, which is about so much more than a 9-5; it’s his destiny and the only thing he’d ever want to do!
July 11th, 2014
Another theme she’s super into: curating a mix that heavily features Mid-Century Modern furniture and décor together with “the high and low, the fun and the serious, vintage and handmade.” She and Mike are also committed to exposing Chicago talent by featuring two local artists each month in store as part of Chicago Arts District 2nd Friday. Read on to learn more about Tiffany and her business- and let me just say, we’re all blessed that she stuck with the retail thing, as Chicago could have been short one terrific store had she let her travel bug bite get to her…
July 8th, 2014
Talk about a store that really does it all. Whether you need to buy or rent vintage furniture, get your digs styled-out, refinish an antique with the perfect hand-selected hue of paint or have someone search for something wildly specific so you don’t have to, well, the search stops here. The Savoy Flea is your Chicago shopping destination and Marianne De Ley is the lady to help you. This buying, renting, styling and advising happens by appointment only in the Chicago superstore, but two weekends a month, the warehouse opens for a “studio sale.”
For De Ley, the obsession with collecting started early— she describes how when she was young, her grandfather was tasked with babysitting her and that in order to get her “out of his hair,” he’d give her a small sum to shop with at the thrift store across the street. This “naturally turned me into a treasure-seeking junkie,” says De Ley. It was only a matter of time before her home was so overflowing with the fruits of her labor that opening a store to share and sell some of it was the only logical next step. Read on to learn who she would choose to kick-back with given the chance to time travel, and why “paint it black” could be counted as her second motto.
July 5th, 2014
Dorothy Coyle and Mary Beth Herr are a match made in heaven, lucky for anyone in Chicago who needs a local home décor consignment destination. With her background in PR and as the former Director of Tourism for the City of Chicago, Dot brings a whole lotta promotional skills to the table and knows what people want in a shopping destination. Mary Beth, with her experience in both special event (ahem, with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs) and residential design (with local pro Bertha Shapiro), has the decor and interior chops. They are the Sonny and Cher of furniture store owners. Below, they talk shop with us.
June 28th, 2014
There is such a thing as a proud local, and then there are people whose fierce loyalty to their neighborhood defines them and what they do. Such is the latter case for Claire Tibbs, who both lives and runs a business in the Humboldt Park area of Chicago. The wonderful store she owns is even named after the ‘hood. She’s as committed to sourcing the vintage furniture and décor she stocks locally as she is to selling art, jewelry and pieces hand-crafted by people that live close by.
It all started after having lived in Humboldt Park for several years: Claire decided she wanted to do more than just dwell, she wanted to invest in the community in a more permanent and meaningful way. Humboldt House became a way for Claire, a studio art major, to combine her love for fine objects in every shape and size with her love for her self-proclaimed new hometown.
One word I can’t help but use to describe Claire is fearless; from her willingness to plant her flag and start a business in a neighborhood that is without a doubt still up-and-coming and a bit rough around the edges, to her intriguing definition of what makes for a good vacation. Below, she fills in our Questionnaire Extraordinaire- I just adore her answer to how she would use the gift of time-travel. Hint: it’s not that different from what she’s doing now. It’s pretty much what makes her an exemplary store owner and human being in general.