November 12, 2013Posted by Andrea Seifert
There’s nothing better than sitting down with a cup of tea, sipped in that one-of-a-kind antique porcelain cup from a Parisian flea market, and reminiscing over langorous days enjoying multiple croissants and café au laits. Or snuggling up on the couch, reclining against those well-worn Ikat-print cushions, bought for a song in Indonesia 10 years ago when you actually looked good in a bikini….but I digress. When it comes to feathering my nest, I love nothing more than collecting unique pieces from far-flung places. My home is an ongoing project that is continuously garnished with a sprinkling of Moroccan this and a splash of Peruvian that. Read on for fabulous ’round-the-world retail outlets showcasing the artisanal and the unique.
This wondrous den of oddities, taxidermy, garden tools, artwork, housewares and jewelry is an absolute marvel. Stepping into the store, one imagines this is what would happen if the homes of Charles Darwin and Tim Burton ever mated. I always visit when I’m in SF, and spend hours browsing tomes on science and botany, inspecting fossils, minerals, framed insects and butterflies, and wishing that I had a house filled with exotic stuff like this. The team behind Paxton Gate also offer landscape design services, specializing in unique plants, hanging gardens, stonework and fine carpentry. I’m seriously contemplating a move to the Bay Area just so I can have my place done up by these guys.
The General Store
Owner Shelly Hayashi’s treasure trove of gently used, warmly loved, beautifully preserved architectural accents and fine furniture is sure to soften the most die-hard modernists. The General Store has plenty of brass buttons, glass doorknobs, and richly leathered armchairs to turn any old house into a mansion worthy of the Peak. So what exactly am I coveting? A brass table lamp, Fritz Hansen Golden Egg Chair, Jacques Adnet 1960s chairs, Albertus Swanepoel hats, Charlotte Perriand Les Arcs chair, Gage Street canvas bag by TK Garment Supply and a vintage kids booster seat. Am I being greedy?
Miguel’s Gallery and Imports
It’s hard to miss the grand, adobe-esque gates of Miguel’s Gallery and Imports. Behind them, you’ll find a vast expanse of artisan work: talavera ceramics from Mexico in every hue, carved stone planters from Bali, Buddha statues the world over. The property itself goes back and back, each corner revealing a new hand-carved wall hanging or a different metal-worked artefact, all of which you will ooh and ahh over. And while the sheer amount of stock is staggering, somehow this place manages to be so thoughtfully put together, so obviously well cared-for, that you can’t help but linger longer than you meant to.
I Like Birds
I Like Birds is a curious shop, but if you’re a bit of a bowerbird you’ll find this treasure chest irresistible. Owner Tamara Turnbull is a florist by trade and an avid collector of new, rare, and vintage homewares from all over Australia and the rest of the world. She especially likes scouring flea markets to source anything from old apothecary jars to pharmaceutical glass bottles to rolling pins that have seen better days, and all are perfect for decorating. Dress up your home, office, and garden with her quirky finds. And let’s not forgot the name of the shop. There are lots and lots of bird products. Hitchcock heaven.
Antique Textile Company
The colors, the patterns, the incredible craftsmanship! It’s hard to know where to look in the Antique Textile Company, a little shop crammed with a spectacular collection of fabrics ranging from the late 18th century to the 1930s. Owners Christopher and Matthew are the types who suffer every time they part with a piece, like a particularly poignant and masterful embroidery from 1796 that was made and signed by a 10-year-old child. I understand why they can’t let this go. Make sure to give yourself time to really explore here, and feel free to chat to the proprietors, they’ll be happy to share their insights.