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Local Design Files: The Summit Café

Back when I spent my time as the ultimate freelancer, I was exhibit A at the local Mission café, sipping away on a cup of tea gone cold and crumbing up my periphery with half-munched pastries. I had on my list of requirements for an adopted workspace an offering of reliable wifi Internet, electric outlets to power my laptop, and a decent tea selection. Café culture is at a height in the Mission district, and those available outlets were hard to find, so I welcomed The Summit with arms outstretched. And I didn't hesitate to contact proprietor Desi Danganan to find out how The Summit separates itself from the pack.

The Marimekko Shop to Open in SF

Marimekko, the most joy-inducing textile on the planet, is setting up shop in two Crate & Barrel stores in California next month. And, if you can't wait to get your design jollies on, an online shop opened just hours ago. Marimekko and Crate & Barrel are not exactly strangers, as the contemporary retailer has been selling the Finnish design house's ubiquitious poppy print for years.

Two-Day Sale at The Curiosity Shoppe

March Madness isn’t just for ballers anymore. My collector pals Lauren Smith and Derek Fagerstrom over at The Curiosity Shoppe, the spot to find clever DIY kits, limited-edition homewares, and handmade gifts are gearing up for their own playoffs. Enter code marchmadness at checkout for 20% off your order, today (3/30) and tomorrow (3/31) only!

Roll & Mix: A 3-in-1 Pizza-Making-Space-Saver

Kitchen space, especially for most city dwellers, can fill up awfully quick. Unfortunately, many multi-purpose kitchen accessories tend to be burdensome and are often an eye-sore. But the new Roll & Mix by designer Marcial Ahsayane packs three culinary tools (the rolling pin, pestle, and olive oil bottle) into one sleek and contemporary product.

Dining Design Diary: The Construction of Central Kitchen

I'm pretty much an old pro at writing about the completed interiors of restaurants, so when one of the owners of San Francisco's Flour + Water approached me and suggested I check out the empty,  dilapidated old structure that he and his team are about to turn into the latest addition to their foodie family, Central Kitchen, I knew a different kind of story was in order.

While Flour + Water has been widely celebrated for its marriage of classic Italian and Bay Area culinary traditions, we were especially taken with its design—an atypical, somewhat rustic and slightly whimsical expression from Paxton Gate owner Sean Quigley.

Sneak Peak: Sir Francis Drake Hotel Renovation

The iconic Sir Francis Drake hotel just off Union Square in San Francisco is undergoing a renovation and I was hired to capture the new design.  The outside is staying the same—both the Gothic Revival exterior and the welcoming Beefeater-style doorman who greets you as you enter.

I'm relieved that they're keeping the Beefeaters.  Where else can you get a fully festooned doorman in a red velvet outfit and matching cap to help you unload a car full of camera equipment?!

Treasure Island Gets a Flea Market

Spring's the time for home revamps, and what better place to find one-of-a-kind spruce-ups than at flea markets. There's now another one to add to your Alameda/Alemany/Candlestick rotation: this time on -- how appropriate -- Treasure Island. The inaugural Treasure Island Flea is this Memorial Day weekend, and will feature hundreds of exhibitors spanning everything from shabby chic gems to up-cycled goods. The markets will continue on the last weekend of every month, rain or shine.

Dining Design Diary: Nombe

The seriousness of the San Francisco food scene is expressed by restaurants seemingly one-upping each other on every aspect of the dining experience: We use local produce…We grow our veggies on our roof! Our bar was custom made in Italy…Our plates were hand-thrown in Korea to custom fit each item onthe menu! We have art from a local painter on the walls…We have an artist creating art behind you as you eat!

Best-Designed Restaurant in SF? Looking at the Oldies But Goodies

Voting just kicked off for California Home+Design's latest reader poll: The Best-Designed Restaurant in SF. Readers nominated 23 spots around the city that they thought deserved the title, and now people are casting their votes on the site through January 30.

According to the nominations that I sorted through, the latest additions to the local dining scene are fresh in everyone’s minds, and may give some clues to who will take the title (25 Lusk, Bar Agricole, Benu). But to me, the best thing about this contest (and the ones that are coming up each month for the rest of the year) are that, in a culture obsessed with the newest things, there are some great reminders of the places that may not be new, but are none the less still worth some attention.

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