Thursday, July 12, 2007

Retail Therapy: San Francisco Style

One of the best things about being an under- ... uh, self-employed freelance writer is that, every once in awhile, you can play hookie without having to feign illness to your boss -- or, indeed, explain yourself to anyone.

Yesterday was one of those days. (Plus, the kids are off at sleepaway camp this week, and for the first time in 12-plus years of motherhood, I hardly know what to do with myself.) So with the whole day stretched before me, I decided that it felt like a San Francisco-shopping kind of day.

(And, lest you get the wrong idea, let it be known that while I am an insatiable shopper, I'm not a particularly voracious buyer -- please see the note about being a self-employed freelance writer, above. Yesterday was no different -- and after 10 hours spent zipping around town, I came home with just two $5 bundles from the SF Flower Mart, above and below, and one $5 vintage metal marquee letter from Swallowtail, right.)

But I did snap lots of pictures along the way. A photographic diary of the day:

I started with an extended tour of the mindblowing San Francisco Flower Mart. (Shown above and below is the space occupied by McLellan Botanicals, where you'll find hundreds of orchids and pots in a variety of gorgeous hues.)

Housed in a series of warehouses the size of airplane hangers, the Mart is home to dozens of wholesale florists. Here you'll find just about anything your flower- and foliage-loving heart could ever desire -- and all for unbelievably reasonable prices, even if you don't posses one of the Mart's coveted wholesale-buyer badges.

I've never been much of a flower person, but I am a bit obsessed with foliage. Leaves, pods, branches, stems, fronds, vines, succulents, and even vegetables -- I love their earthy strangeness, their sculptural forms, and the irresistible tactile treat of them. (For an extended love letter to foliage, click on over to read "Beyond Bouquets," an article I wrote on the subject for HGTV.)

A selection of the offerings at Coast Wholesale, a repository of all things dried and forever-lasting, as well as wonderfully colorful modern pots and planters.

More non-flower goods at the Mart.

The Greenworks showroom, where I snagged a giant bunch of fruiting pistachio branches.

Then it was off to Russian Hill, Pacific Heights, and the Fillmore, where I popped in to Swallowtail, Interior Visions, Past Perfect, and Jonathan Adler after grabbing a quick bite to eat at a French boulangerie on Polk Street.

Butterfly man, $90 at Swallowtail.

Super-swanky polished-nickel lamp at Interior Visions. (If only I had an extra $495, it would be mine.)

Ah, Jonathan Adler. J'adore!

Next came Hayes Valley, where I drooled over the colorful textiles and luscious lacquerware at Lotus Bleu, ogled the alabaster at Alabaster, fondled the Marimekko at Scandinavian Details, poked my head in at Propeller, lusted mightily over a pair of vintage blue opaline-glass lamps at Nancy Boy (already sold, much to my dismay), massaged the rusted metal at Zonal, and died a little bit over the enormous pendant lights at Rose and Radish.

Alabaster's refined wares.

Fanny the French bulldog, at Alabaster.

The small but sublime Lotus Bleu.

One of the lamps that got away, and a collection of German modernist ceramics, at Nancy Boy.

Nicolette Brunklaus's ginormous pendants at Rose and Radish. (Photo courtesy of Rose and Radish.)

A quick pit-stop at the Holly Park playground in Bernal Heights for a caffeine refuel and catch-up session with my lovely and talented friend Anne and her two gowajuss babies was followed by a frantic rush down Valencia Street in the Mission before everything closed up.

I did manage to hit the wonderfully weird Paxton Gate (right), the equally weird and wonderful X21, the pirate store at 826 Valencia, and Candy Store in time. But sadly, Den, the Apartment, and Therapy were closed when I arrived at their doors. Next time. (Photo above courtesy of Paxton Gate.)

The basement at X21, full of the bizarre and the beautiful.

Art by Annie Galvin (aka Wexford Girl), at Candy Store. (Photo courtesy of Annie Galvin.)

I capped off the excursion with cocktails and a Thai dinner with Nick before heading home with my feet sore, but my shopping urge more than satisfied. All in all, it was a stellar day.

Now, back to work ...


katiedid said...

This is my idea of a fantastic day! The kind I dream about, and the reason I,too, dream of being self-employed.;) You lucky thing!
Hey...did you know that X21 started in Sactown? But, alas, he headed off to better stomping grounds...our loss, your gain and all that.

Camilla said...

i love this day - and posting! when i have time in sf, i like to do the same but don't think i've ever covered so much groud! keep up the awesome posts and sf tips!

Guy Michael Davis said...

If you like branches and stuff you should check out for the canopy.


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