The new residents of the luxury condos at 181 Fremont are about to take on a thrilling, if daunting, task: to personalize the interiors of their stylish new condominiums, each one designed by the renowned firm of Orlando Diaz-Azcuy. With floor-to-ceiling windows, spectacular views of San Francisco’s iconic skyline, and sumptuous interior finishes of oak, marble, and polished brass, Diaz-Azcuy’s design gives residents quite an elegant starting point.
But in a sea of styles and options, what’s the best approach to choosing furniture, antiques, linens, and barware? Fortunately, the “shop local” approach works very well in SoMa. This vibrant San Francisco neighborhood is home to many luxury boutiques and showrooms featuring everything a new homeowner needs to give their space its signature style.
Designers often recommend building a room around one or two key items, like an exceptional piece of furniture or work of art. With a distinctive focal point in place, all the other decisions about color and scale become easier—close to effortless. One of the best places to find a show-stopper in SoMa is Coup D’Etat on Rhode Island Street. In their 8,000-square-foot gallery, the Coup team regularly stages new arrangements of custom and vintage lighting and furniture—with unusual chandeliers and glamorous midcentury sofas particular favorites—and it’s the place to go for tufted sectionals by Harvey Probber that can help add structure and a sense of coziness to large open-plan residences. Coup also shows contemporary work by some of the hottest furniture designers working today. The “Powers of Ten” side table by Christopher Kreiling Studio is crafted from a colorful slice of natural hardstone, making it an instant conversation starter and a unique pop of pigmentation for the right space.
Not far from Coup D’Etat’s showroom is that of DZINE, offering an ultra-chic collection of contemporary furniture and accessories. DZINE’s Utah Street gallery is destined to attract those with a preference for modern, even futuristic, design that favors streamlined silhouettes and cutting-edge textures. Some of the colorful standouts include the Japanese designer Tomita Kazuhiko’s polyester resin-topped tables with patterns inspired by kimono fabric. The Spanish-born, Milan-based designer Patricia Urquiola is famous for her textile-inspired patterns, and her “Fishbone” table, designed for Moroso, has a vivid pattern that looks like sections of a knitted sweater.
Finding one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture is just the beginning, though: layering an interior with personal touches makes it welcoming and distinctive. For unique textiles from around the world, residents of 181 Fremont can scarcely do better than to visit St. Frank, which stocks carpets, quilts, and wall-hangings from North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and South America. The striking hues of woven blankets from Bolivia, a geometric indigo-dyed textile from Burkina Faso, or hand-appliqued cotton quilts from Uzbekistan look as fresh and modern as anything being made today, though some are decades and, in some cases, centuries old. St. Frank also features a lively assortment of barware, cookbooks, and housewarming gifts.
Food always seems to taste better when it’s served on beautiful dinnerware, and a set of handmade dishes from March SF on Sacramento Street can be the finishing touch on a new interior. March SF stocks the work of contemporary ceramic designers from Italy and Great Britain. Sue Paraskeva’s hand-thrown porcelain dishes look so delicate you might be afraid to touch them, but their mix of different clays makes them sturdy enough for everyday use. Meanwhile, the Bertozzi family, which has been making ceramics for generations, has partnered with March SF to produce colorful dinnerware with brightly colored stripes, perfect for drawing the eye to an exquisitely plated main course from the kitchen of a 181 Fremont residence.