explore :: san francisco

Katie | March 27, 2013


Welcome to the third post in the newest confessions of design geek column; explore. Each month I will ask a fellow design blogger or someone otherwise tapped into the design scene to show us around their home city, letting us into some local design secrets on the way. The first post was from the lovely Igor, editor of Happy Interior Blog, who showed us around Munich, and last month writer Clare Howdle, showed us around Falmouth.

This month, we’re off to San Francisco. I met Cecily aka Cecyj on BlogTourNYC and was immediately struck by her sense of style, so who better to show us around her home town? So without further ado, over to Cecily…

Hello from San Francisco! My name is Cecily Brooks Mendell and I am an interior designer and life and style blogger over at cecyj.com. I’m honored to take you on a journey through some of my absolute favorite design, food and resting spots in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Inspiration for good design is everywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area. From Napa’s vineyards to San Francisco’s charm down to the Santa Cruz beaches, there’s really something for everyone.

Our residents are thoughtful about the environment and accustomed to impeccable presentation. After all, the pioneer of what is now called California Cuisine and the inventor of the concept of “presenting food” vs. “serving food” is Alice Waters, chef, author and owner of our beloved Berkeley restaurant, Chez Panisse.

San Francisco Bay Area residents are trained to not just see beauty but to live it. To explore “San Francisco” you must explore our bays, valleys, oceans and cross the bridges that make up our intimate community. Our first stop is a San Francisco caffeine must, Sightglass Coffee Company San Francisco. (Sightglass Coffee Company, 270 7th St, San Francisco, CA 94103, +1 415-861-1313)

Sight Glass Coffee

Design enthusiasts will love the rustic loft vibe. It’s hard not to appreciate how seriously they take their craft with their vintage coffee roaster beautifully displayed (and used!) at the front of the store.


With a coffee in hand, head over to Stuff on Valencia Street, a mid-century modern antique store with lots of treasures and oddities. I almost always stop by Stuff before a client installation for a missing piece of vintage décor or furniture. Stuff is made up of many different vintage dealers who showcase & sell their finds. (Stuff, 150 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 +1 415-864-2988)


Next stop is Cavalier Goods, the breathtaking high-end home décor store brought to life by the Jay Jeffers Group and creative director Michael Purdy. Cavalier Goods is the ultimate curated interior design destination for everything unique, coveted and extraordinary for the modern and fresh home. (Cavalier Goods, 1035 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94109 +1 415-440-7300)

Sue Fisher King

Time to head over to Sacramento Street, home to some of San Francisco’s very best design shops. Sue Fisher King is a laid back and very friendly boutique offering table linens, collectible china and perfectly elegant hostess gifts. (Sue Fisher King, 3067 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94115, +1 415-922-7276)


Right next door is March, another friendly design haute that will blow your mind with their fresh take on the “design boutique” experience with a dreamy outdoor garden area and impeccable placement of their kitchen, hearth, dining and home collection. (March, 3075 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94115, +1 415-931-7433)

The Ribbonerie

Next on the list is The Ribbonerie, one of my go-to stops because I love to give books as gifts and rather than wrap them in paper, I prefer to tie them up with ribbon. (The Ribbonerie, 3695 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94118, +1 415-626-6184)

Hungry? Time for lunch! The options are endless but here are a my top five spots in San Francisco…

1. A16 in the Marina District. Sit at the bar and order their famous Pork meatballs braised in tomato with basil and grana padano. (A16, 2355 Chestnut St San Francisco, CA 94123, +1 415-771-2216)

Street Food Park

2. Streat Food Park in SOMA. If you want something a little more urban, hit our South of Market (SOMA) Streat Food Park. It’s a garden of food trucks offering everything from Mexican Tamales to Indian Curry and everything in between. Lots of picnic seating. (Streat Food Park, 428 11th St San Francisco, CA 94103)


3. Perry’s in the San Francisco Design Center. Power lunch with all the design professionals. (Perry’s, 101 Henry Adams St, San Francisco, +1 415-552-5697)

4. Arlequin Café on Hayes Street. A charming café and centrally located around some amazing little design boutiques. Visit Plantation, Quatrine and Lotus Bleu after lunch. (Arlequin Café, 384 Hayes St, San Francisco, CA 94102, +1 415-626-1211)


5. The Ferry Building is home to the Bay’s best local, fresh and organic cheeses, wines, oysters and more. They host a Farmers Market every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday which is not to be missed. (The Ferry Building, 1 Sausalito – San Francisco Ferry Bldg, San Francisco, CA 94111, +1 415-983-8030)

Right, it’s time to “get out of town.” Take the Golden Gate Bridge to Larkspur (a short 16 miles north of the city) and stop at Farm House Urban by Serena Armstrong for a mix of vintage and new high-end residential furnishings and custom furniture. (Farmhouse Urban, 1012 Magnolia Ave. Larkspur, CA +1 415-464-8610)

Farm House Urban

If you’re still feeling adventurous jump back in the car and go grab dinner in Napa Valley’s cozy St. Helena. Eat at St. Helena’s newest addition, French Blue. (French Blue, 1429 Main Street, St. Helena, CA 94574, +1 707-968~9200)

French Blue

If you can’t muster up the energy to drive back to San Francisco, sleepover at Solage Calistoga and be sure to hit their fantastic spa in the morning. (Solage Calistoga, 755 Silverado Trail Calistoga, CA 94515, +1 707-226-0800)


If you’re looking for some “extra credit” here are my top three favorite places to find inspiration…

1. Manresa Beach with my family located just south of Santa Cruz (Watsonville, CA 95076, +1 831-761-1795 – 1.5 hours from San Francisco)

Extra Credit

2. San Francisco Flower Mart is open to the public on Monday-Saturday from 10:00AM-3:00PM. I’ve visited many flower marts and you won’t find a better variety or a more beautiful and sweet smelling selection. (San Francisco Flower Mart, 640 Brannan St San Francisco, CA 94107, +1 415-781-8410)

3. Steep Ravine Hiking Trail, Mt Tamalpais


Last is my list of interior designers in the San Francisco Bay Area that are worth noting. I know some of them personally, and count them as friends. Others, I’ve collaborated with. All of them I know to be humble talented members of the design community whose work will be talked about for years to come.

That’s all from me. Hope you enjoyed exploring San Francisco with me – and hope to see you over here soon!

Allison Bloom Design

With thanks to Cecily for all photography and to Dehn Bloom Design for the last image by John Merkl.

Further reading for the especially geeky:

Further Reading for the Especially Geeky ::

Founding Editor – Katie Treggiden

Having established confessions of a design geek in 2010, Katie Treggiden has gone on to a career in design journalism, writing for titles such as The Guardian, The Telegraph, Elle Decoration, Stylist, Design Milk and Ideal Home. In 2014, she launched Fiera, an independent magazine dedicated to discovering new talent at the world’s design fairs. Her second book, Makers of East London, was published in 2015.

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  • diana

    Really great Katie, as usual, and by the way you take very good photos. I think the church spires are sublime. Thanks for going on my behalf!

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