We Wanna Be Friends With: Sean P. Quigley of Paxton Gate

We Wanna Be Friends With: Sean P. Quigley of Paxton Gate


Our city is chock-full of interesting people and wild personalities. Overwhelmed by the coolness? Every week we'll pick one standout local we'd love to be friends with to answer seven essential questions about their life in San Francisco.

Stepping into Paxton Gate on Valencia feels like you're walking into a life-sized Cabinet of Curiosities, but with a lot more fresh plants and a few pieces of stunning jewelry thrown in. Although the mix of taxidermy, art, vintage finds, and an outdoor garden all have an otherworldly, neo-Victorian vibe, the shop still feels lighthearted too. It's a spot we love to take out-of-towners–they get a kick out of the taxidermy "unicorn," and we get to show off how badass our city's boutique vibe really is. And the man behind it all? Owner and long-term Mission resident Sean Quigley.

Along with running Paxton Gate and its sister store Curiosities for Kids, he is also the principal designer of the design and building firm of the same name. His shop may be filled to the brim with treasures, but his design aesthetic is much more streamlined–focusing on clean lines and great use of interesting, reclaimed materials.

Sean's Paxton Gate design firm is the mastermind behind Flour + Water and Central Kitchen's stunning spaces, and there are more in the works. He just finished the lovely Le Marais Bakery on Chestnut, and recently broke ground on upcoming The Third Rail, the highly anticipated Dogpatch bar from the guys at Range.

We're always in awe of Sean's creative eye, both in what he stocks in his shops and how he designs spaces, and are excited to bring you his answers to our We Wanna Be Friends With Q&A!

1. What neighborhood do you currently call home? Would you ever move or are you happy in your 'hood?  

The Mission. I’ve lived and worked here for over 20 years and can’t imagine living anywhere else.

2. What's your hands-down, absolute favorite thing to eat in SF?

We’ve got too much good food here for a “hands-down” decision so I’ll keep it simple: One of my favorites is a brief walk to the Slow Club for their burger, love the balsamic onions, and a cocktail.   

3. What's your perfect night on the town?

Well, with a spirited four-year-old at home (that’s the nice way of putting it), an adult night out is great: Dinner and drinks with my wife at a place in the ‘hood and I’m happy.

4. When you need a low-key afternoon, where do you go for down time?

I don’t know if I can truly call it down time, at least physically, but Mission Cliffs and now Dogpatch Boulders are a great mental escape. 

5. What's your favorite place to go on a day trip from the city?

For a short trip I’d say Coyote Point Park. I like to hang out on the pebbly shore and watch the planes take off from the airport while my daughter plays in the water. Or you can walk the trails to the odd little CuriOddessy Science Museum. There’s also a pretty great playground. Or if I’ve got more time, Point Reyes and shucking your own oysters at Hog Island can’t be beat.

6. Quick-fire round:

Burrito or Burger?


Presidio or Golden Gate Park?

Golden Gate, endless variety: lakes, trails, archery, buffalos, you name it.

Bi-Rite or Mitchell's?

Humphry Slocombe, pretty sure that was one of the choices.

Bike or MUNI?

Bike, nearly every day.

Fort Mason or Dolores Park?


The Independent or the Fillmore?

The Independent but I can’t tell you when I was there last.

Baker Beach or Ocean Beach?

Beach? Are there beaches in San Francisco?

7. Three words that describe your life in SF?

Hectic, Healthy, Happy. 

Want More Sean?

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