Market Day #2

10 Jan 2011
posted by Sara Tofanelli-Barroso

After a good nights rest at the brand new Intercontinental Hotel (2 nights courtesy of a rep, Randi) a block from the Moscone Center, we decided to hop in the car and drive to South Park.  Has anyone been there?  It’s this little neighborhood, almost directly under the entrance to the Bay Bridge, quasi hidden from the casual observer and a visual feast for the Euro-lover. 

South Park encompasses a one-way street that loops around peaceful center park.  We arrived close to 9am and saw a few people out.  Mostly fathers pushing babies (to give mom a break) and some dog owners out with their dogs. 

Our main mission in visiting this area was to visit the prominent restaurant “The Butler and the Chef” which is a breakfast and lunch cafe famous for their yummy food. 


We forgot to take pictures of our breakfasts (or maybe we were too hungry to wait) but the buckwheat crepe Parisienne and the Eggs Benedict on olive bread were delightful.  Robin ordered the croque monsieur which was amazing.  She reminded us that it’s the same dish that Meryl Streep made for Steve Martin in It’s Complicated…and who doesn’t want to eat French food after watching that?

The feeling and design of the restaurant (and the park) were as if you just walked down from the  Eifel Tower and found your own hidden Parisian bistro, far away from tourists.  It was tres magnific! 

Although the weather was terribly cold (and apparently stores in SF don’t have heaters) we still took a walk around the neighborhood to enjoy the architecture (and to walk our breakfasts off a bit).

Up next... a bit of research and development (and ideally some forced heat).

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San Francisco Market

07 Jan 2011
Our FurnitureOur Home AccessoriesOur Stories posted by Sara Tofanelli-Barroso

Nan and I came down to the city today to go to the pre-show of the SF International Gift Fair.  We left Chico when it was still foggy and enjoyed the mysterious views of the county roads before the intrigue faded away.

We missed our I-505 turn-off but still made it to Berkeley on time to pick up Robin, who was joining us for the weekend to offer her advice in finding the best pieces for our showroom.

Crossing the bridge... to market....
and to our delight, running in to fellow Chicoan and past Nantucketonian, Joni German. Joni was at the show promoting her company, Old River Road, which is always a hit with big names such as Williams Sonoma. We sell her wonderful French inspired blackboards at NH.  After chatting at bit about her new product (which will be out soon), we headed off to find Scott. 

Scott ,who is our Chinese antique connection, goes to China at least once a month in the search of unique pieces to bring home to us.  All of his pieces are immersed in tradition and history... and Scott knows the details of every last found object.  We're excited to show you images of all of the cool pieces we're getting in but it'll have to wait for another post.  We're beat and have a long day ahead of us tomorrow. 

- Sara

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Our Projects posted by Sara Tofanelli-Barroso

Last Sunday at 4pm, the quasi finale of a relaxing 3 day weekend, just 2 hours before dinner was to be served and in the middle of a wearisome argument about how we can solve our kitchen and bath issues (with my father mediating), John and my mom decided to start right away to un-complicate our living space.

One of John’s biggest frustrations is that we had toys in every room in our house.  I didn’t think it was that awful but I could understand his annoyance.  Of course, any time I cleaned up the toys they’d be played with and all over the house 2 minutes later… a never-ending mess.  And as anyone with a small home knows, there’s no room for clutter.  With small homes less is better…Ideally, keeping the design aesthetics to a simplistic minimum.

So it began.  Our room was the biggest so the boys should enjoy it and fill it with their beds and their toys.  Their room was the smallest.  John and I don’t really need a lot of space in our bedroom… maybe just enough for a night stand and a laundry basket.  So why not make the switch?

This was their room before.



As you can see it was small but it worked.  However, we had a train table set up as a coffee table in the office, a few Ikea storage bins for cars, crafts and random toy parts also in the office, a firehouse and police station in the boys room and the legos that Luca received from Santa hadn't yet found a home (other than the dining table).  So here's a glimpse at the semi-final project...

To obtain more space we decided to close off one of the 4 doors in this room (yes, both rooms have 4 doors!).  It's behind the white bookcase and it lead through my closet to our new bedroom. It's been an adjustment not being able to use it but we should've done it years ago for the space we've gained.  

And it was such an eventful evening (and possibly traumatic for Rocco) that he needed to sleep with his brother. Such troopers!

I'll post pictures of how our room transformed soon!

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