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Restoration Hardware's Reinvention

These past few years have seen many big-name home and design retailers bite the dust, and many more come thisclose to suffering the same fate. After a big drop in numbers, Restoration Hardware first closed some stores, then went through a buyout and subsequent restructuring.There have been rumblings for a while about the retail chain's new brand strategy, but with the recently released fall catalog we finally get a glimpse at what's changed with the Corte Madera-based furnishings company.

Terrarium Hunting @ Paxton Gate

Terrariums have blown up into a major trend in home gardening over the past few years, with everyone from the New York Times to Martha Stewart (erm, not to mention Jeffery Tambor) taking a crack at them. It's no wonder they're so well loved; terrariums are a cinch to put together, need little maintenance, and can be made in just about any vessel you like. These days they come in all shapes and sizes, from elegant apothecary jars to recycled spaghetti sauce containers. But my new favorite is the Wardian case. Read more. . . .

Tile Deals and Steals at the South Bay's Fireclay Tile

Nothing looks quite as good as high-style design that was snagged for a low price.Bargain lovers in need of tile should head to San Jose starting Monday for great deals on Fireclay Tile. The South Bay company is hosting their annual Boneyard Blowout from August 23 to September 4. The event, beloved by design fans and deal seekers alike, features tiles (all manufactured with recycled materials and sustainable practices) at 50 percent off retail price. Read more...

Craigslist Deal of the Week: $1445 Corona Heights 1 Bdrm

We usually harp on about apartments that are centrally located, but the main appeal of this week's Craigslist Deal is in the fact that it's ever so slightly removed.

Not that you'll be on the outskirts of the city mind you, it's just that, tucked away behind Buena Vista Park and next to Corona Heights Playground, this one bedroom unit feels like a quiet little oasis in the center of town.

Midcentury Furniture Heaven: Oakland's Lot 49

Have you checked out Oakland's Lot 49 yet? It's a midcentury furniture-lover's paradise. Owners Perry Lucina and John Birdsall scour flea markets, antique shops and estate sales for design gems begging for a little TLC, like this Danish Modern side table. In addition to restored pieces, Lucina now offers his own line of fabric, pillows, graphic art and even dishware at the 600-square-foot shop. If you're apartment's in need of a dose of midcentury class, we recommend hopping on over there.

Blue Sky! It's Finally Here!

It's really, finally, truly here! SoCal folks might be over the warm weather by this point in summer, but those of us in the city of San Francisco are all severely depleted in Vitamin D thanks to a thick layer of fog that hasn't moved from overhead since somewhere around the Fourth of July.

But this past weekend brought the first chip in what seemed like an impenetrable white sky–so dingy white, in fact, that it looked like someone forgot to draw it in. Thankfully that tiny chip turned into a larger crack, and before I had time to dig my sunglasses out of storage the sun was visible and real light (not from a heat lamp!) was streaming through. It seems as if a spell has been broken, as we're going on two whole days of clear blue skies in a row. In honor of its return, I've rounded up some of my favorite finds inspired by the bright blue air up there.

What's Your Favorite Local Etsy Store?

Etsy is my happy place. I've been known to spend hours getting lost in the site's goodies (slash, pretending I live in the site).

Anyway...I'm a fan and especially love that it promotes local artists and craftsmen. For our November Design issue, we'd like to highlight your favorite Bay Area Etsy store.

So send us your favorites, along with a short paragraph of why you're obsessed with the store. We'll put the submissions up for voting on August 25th and let you decide which store to dedicate a page to in the November issue (with professional photographers and stuff).

Point Reyes-based Coyuchi Makes Cozy, Organic Bedding

Apologies, but I'm a little slow on the uptake this week. I'll blame it on a busy weekend that culminated on Sunday with hours of rocking out at Outside Lands. It was fun, but my residual tiredness might be proof positive that I'm getting too old to be burning the candle at both ends.

Craigslist Deal of the Week: $1775 Sunny Richmond 1 Bedroom

A lot of people rag on the Outer Avenues. Whatever. The fewer people who know of all the hidden badass spots out there, the better. Take this week's Craigslist Deal for example, located at 29th and Geary in the Outer Richmond. Sure, you could live in the Mission and spend the better part of your weekend in line waiting for a scoop of ice cream to take back to cramped Dolores Park, but doesn't it sound way better to step out your front door and walk to the Legion of Honor, Baker Beach, Sea Cliff, the Presidio, or, of course, glorious Gold Gate Park?

The Bloomingdale's Catalog Gets the Golden Gate Park Treatment

Stow Lake is, hands down, one of my favorite sections of Golden Gate Park. Ever been? It's tucked a little off the main road and far enough into the park to not get a slew of visitors, and it's gorgeous–truly a little oasis of calm in the city. It's a great for a casual walk on a nice day, which is just what I was in the middle of doing a few months back when I stumbled upon a photo shoot. Normally I pass those by–there are a surprising number going on throughout the park on weekdays–but this one featured home decor, so naturally I had to investigate.

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