San Francisco Market

08 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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Greening Up Your Home

06 Jan 2011
Our FurnitureOur Home Accessories posted by Nan Tofanelli

I know that when the Christmas tree and all of the twinkle lights get put away for the season, our home looks sadly bare. Not that bare is necessarily bad.

It's a great time to clean under and behind things. But without the promise yet of spring, it is easy to go into winter shock. (Winter shock is when you sit around in front of the fire and eat all of the left-over sweets that everyone gave you for Christmas while reading whatever sale catalogs managed to make it into your mailbox. You don't really need any of those fabulous looking cashmere sweaters in pumice or iceberg but the price is good and maybe you can wear a size too small next year?) 

An alternative that I find to cure winter shock is to "green" up my home. Remember how nice the evergreen tree looked? That is what you are lacking. Get yourself to your local, plant friendly store and invest in some living organisms of the kind exemplified by trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, and mosses, typically growing in a permanent site, absorbing water and inorganic substances through its roots and synthesizing nutrients in its leaves by photosynthesis using the green pigment chlorophyl.


Kumquat tree with phaleonopsis orchid.

Bird's Nest ferns.

African Violet and faux bird's nest.

Japanese Maple in one of our antique Chinese pots.

Phaleonopsis orchid in Chinese chest.

Faux Fern in blue & white pottery.

They will look good but require some work, thereby forcing you off the sofa and working to water and feed them instead of feeding yourself those two week old Russian tea cakes! No more Winter Shock!

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