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Mary Jo Bowling

Your Guide to Decoding SF's Secret Victorian Symbols

Early San Francisco residents didn’t have Instagram and Facebook, but it turns out that presenting ourselves to the world as we wish to be (known today as "insta-shaming") is an age-old practice. But in the Victorian era, people posted in a more personal and enduring way: They updated their status by building it onto their homes. The motifs that they included on their houses spoke of their social standing, their net worth, and even their superstitions.

A First Look at San Francisco's Transbay District

With assurances of architectural beauty, community-encouraging measures, and easy transportation, is the planned Transbay District too good to be true?

This Revolutionary Moment in SF History is Really a Case of Déjà Vu

Talking in Circles

In the late 1960s, there was another kind of bus war being waged in San Francisco. Each weekday, the working women who lived on the Westside boarded Muni to travel to the Financial District for their jobs as bank tellers, secretaries, and salesclerks. When they looked out the windows of the 6 Parnassus bus as it drove along Haight Street, what they saw put their conservative pantyhose in an intractable twist.

Ken Fulk Channels 1970s Icons in Beverly Hills

Local design luminary Ken Fulk channeled Halston and Andy Warhol when decorating a room in the L'Ermitage Beverly Hills. When asked to design the space for Suite 100, a promotion celebrating the city's centennial, Fulk responded in a decidedly groovy way.

SoMa Loft Trumpets the Pomp and Swank of New Orleans

As the saying goes, you can take the man out of New Orleans, but you can’t take New Orleans out of the man—or something like that. For Jon Gegenheimer, a financier who is Big Easy by birth and San Francisco by choice, melding the two cities he loves into one space—his 1,200 square-foot, industrial SoMa loft—was a given.

Behold a Four-Day Design Miracle in Noe Valley

When interior designer Ian Stallings set out to furnish this Noe Valley house, he was facing the challenge of his career. His young clients had recently purchased the home and moved in with just a chair, a dining table, and a bed between them. After living in the empty rooms for a time, and undergoing a few false starts, they decided they wanted to get it done—fast.

SF's Most Successful Blacksmith Brings Style to Homes Across the Nation

Jefferson Mack is one of the most successful blacksmiths in the United States, and he should be, because this is not his first time at the anvil. In fact, it turns out that he’s been at it for a few hundred years, the last 20 in his high-ceilinged, industrial workshop in San Francisco’s Bayshore district.

Bay Area Starchitecture: Tech Companies Bring Revolutionary Design To New HQs

One of my favorite quotes about architecture is inscribed on the exterior wall of San Francisco’s already fabled The Battery. Speaking about the need to rebuild the British House of Commons after World War II air raids, Winston Churchill said, “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.” With that utterance, the British Bulldog distilled the essence of why architecture matters. Good buildings are not just pretty to look at; they can inspire collaboration and community. Because they work better, they make our lives better.

British Designer Tom Dixon Talks Chic Lighting, SF Techies, and His New Book

British designer Tom Dixon swept into town last week, landing at Arkitektura Assembly (a design series presented by modern furniture emporium Arkitektura) to promote his book, Tom Dixon: Dixonary. In it, the creator of super-popular light fixtures such as the Beat Light, the Mirror Ball, the Void Light, and the mega-hit Copper Shade, details his creative process. We chatted with Dixon about design, the lives of techies, and the future.

Two Design PR Mavens Join Forces In a Stylish New Office That Feels Like Home

For many years, Krista Coupar (Coupar Consulting) and Lisa Davis (Lisa Davis PR) have been advising top interior designers on public relations, branding, and marketing matters. But last year, after deciding to join forces and share office space in the San Francisco Design Center's Galleria, the pair decided it was time to do more than just talk about the subject. To create their stylish new office, they channeled their inner designers for something that's equal parts work space and gathering spot.

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