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Home&Garden San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate.com | Sunday, October 3, 2010 | Section L
Photos by Paul Chinn / The Chronicle
When the decor obsessed need an inspiration fix, traditionally it has come in the form of a magazine or photo-rich website. These days, add to the list one whimsical craft-centric decor and fashion emporium, some smartly styled catalogs and idea-packed blogs by interior designers.
Anthropologie’s Amber Van Weerden (left) and Rachel Robertson team up to create the S.F. store’s eye-catching displays, including a knotted portrait (background).
By Chantal Lamers SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICL E
Show and tell time for crafts Re-create Anthropologie’s playful displays at home
Well before the idea of crafting homespun art and objects from castoffs went mainstream, the artists at Anthropologie, a national chain that sells clothing, accessories and home decor, have been toying with ways to metamorphose bottle caps, plastic bags and empty water bottles. “This philosophy comes from the organic need to re-imagine and reinterpret what is already part of our environment,” says Karen Heilbronner, Anthropologie’s visual director, in Philadelphia. “We are always working with our presentations in a state of evolution, and that lends itself naturally to the reuse and redevelopment of existing material.” At the heart of each of the company’s projects — changed seasonally — is an air of playfulness, a bit of intrigue and a whole lot of surprise.
To make these yarn tassels and two other Anthropologie projects, see Page L4.
Decor continues on L4
Decor companies take a page from magazines By Anh-Minh Le
Sacramento interior designer Katie Denham chonicled her kitchen remodel on her blog.
Spilling their creativity on the ’net By Anh-Minh Le S P ECI AL TO THE CHRONICLE
Earlier this year, during a talk at the Williams-Sonoma Home store in Palo Alto, Grant K. Gibson discussed his recent selection to Elle Decor’s list of up-and-coming interior designers. He attributed the honor to one specific thing. It wasn’t a high-profile celebrity client or a well-con-
nected publicist (Gibson doesn’t work with one). It was his blog, he said, that caught the magazine editor’s eye and led to his inclusion on the coveted list. “I blog to show clients a behind-the-curtain kind of look at what I do,” said Gibson (grantkgibson.blogspot.com). In addition to design, he covers his travels, cooking adventures, shopping excursions
and general observations around San Francisco. In an age when companies are hiring people whose sole responsibility is to manage blogs, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, it’s no surprise that social media has also infiltrated the interior design industry. Designers are using blogs as a tool to gain more exposure and connect with a Blogs continues on L5
Like many interior-design fanatics whose homes are continuously evolving, San Francisco’s Jeanine Hays maintains an inspiration board where she keeps track of beautiful rooms and objects that she comes across. “I’m a very visual person,” said the creative director and founder of Aphrochic (aphrochicshop.com). “Images on an inspiration board help me think through my design ideas.” Just a few years ago, that board might have been filled with tear sheets from magazines such as Domino and Metropolitan Home. But these days, with those publications shuttered, Hays has found a surprising new source for inspiration: product catalogs. A review of a recent batch that arrived in the mail reveals that they are no longer just pages and pages of products shot against a plain
SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
DwellStudio goes moody with a modern Cubist wool blanket over a vintage chair.
white background. There are now vignettes and interior photos that rival those in the glossies. “I absolutely love this shift in catalogs,” Hays said. “Retailers are finding a way to engage the readers with their product — not only by showing how they would actually fit into a real home but by showing them in the home Catalogs continues on L5
L4 | Sunday, October 3, 2010 | San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate.com
Photos by Paul Chinn / The Chronicle
Amber Van Weerden makes tassels using card stock, yarn, trim and a glue gun at Anthropologie. She enjoys surprising customers with unexpected creations.
Catching the eye and imagination
Tassels Festive, full of texture and a cinch to construct, these tassels can be clustered on a bedpost or doorknob or used in a holiday decor project. Materials
Decor from page L1
With the upswing in do-ityourself decor, the shop’s enviable exhibits are garnering more curious, how-can-I-dothat gazes. Rachel T. Robertson, senior display coordinator, designs and creates window and interior displays and fixtures for the Market Street store. “I think our customers really value that touch of the hand, appreciate what we create and often want to create it themselves.” Robertson, 44, often teams on projects with Amber Van Weerden, 31, senior visual manager, who’s been at Anthropologie for eight years. Whether it’s birds out of newspaper and trash bags or sculpted paper polar bears, Van Weerden says, a display made out of something clever or unexpected can inspire or make a person smile. “I think that our customers are treated to a little escape from the rest of the world when they walk into the store.” Both women were raised in creative households. “I grew up with a mother who has great taste,” says Van Weer-
den. “We used to search flea markets in Holland for amazing furniture and collected colored glass for our house.” Later, while studying cultural anthropology at San Francisco State Univeristy, she worked at the Mission District shop Gypsy Honeymoon, which her mother once owned. Robertson’s dad was an artist and designer and her mother an avid sewer and knitter who “taught me both when I was young,” she says. After earning a degree in fine art from University of Wisconsin-Madison, she began designing displays for Urban Outfitters. She landed at Anthropologie three years ago but continues to create collages, draw, knit and sew (www.ra chelrobertson.com). She recently had a show of collages at Hello by Candystore Collective in Pacific Heights. We couldn’t resist asking the two to show us how to recreate some of their eye-catching fixtures. We chose three projects at three skill levels that can be layered creatively in a number of decor styles.
1 Card stock 1 Hot glue gun and scissors 1 Yarn or string 1 Upholstery trim 1 The designers hang the tassel with strips of discarded silk, but you can use string or pieces of colorful fabric.
1 Beads (optional) Instructions
1. Use the card stock to create a cone shape and glue the seam into place. 2. Starting from the tip of the cone, wrap the cone with yarn, securing with hot glue along the way. 3. Secure trim along the bottom of the cone with hot glue. 4. Pull string through the top of cone and add beads if desired.
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Knotted portrait Re-create just about any image — scaled up or down — using scraps of knotted fabric. If replicating a portrait is too daunting, try a simple seascape or create your own abstract piece. Materials
Copper screen tapestry Size this gleaming installation to your taste. Drape it along a wall or dangle it from the ceiling in a sunlit room. Materials
1 Fabric strips to match col-
1 Roll of 3-ounce copper
ors in image
1 Pencil and ruler
1 1⁄8-inch hole punch 1 Steel wool 1 Vinegar 1 Cardboard and tagboard 1 Magazine images and
1 Projector (optional) 1 Painter’s canvas or board 1 Hot glue gun Instructions
1. Rip fabric into strips about 3 to 4 inches wide and 24 inches long. Tie each into a knot.
1 24-gauge copper wire 1 Wire cutters
2. Draw a grid over your image.
1. Cut copper flashing into squares. (Size depends on preference. Squares pictured are about 2 by 2 inches.)
3. Draw a large grid on the canvas or board and sketch the image out with pencil (alternatively, use a projector to enlarge the image and then trace it onto the canvas). 4. Start by gluing the knots to the center of the canvas. Refer to the gridded image.
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2. Punch a hole in each of the four corners.
5. The next day, remove pieces of copper and air-dry over a piece of cardboard.
3. Distress surface of each square with steel wool.
6. Extra credit: To break up the copper pieces and add
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4. Soak pieces of copper overnight in vinegar. Adding a piece of steel wool to the vinegar will create a rich patina.
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some color, glue magazine images to tagboard and punch holes in each corner. 7. Lay out squares in desired design and size. 8. Thread 4-inch pieces of wire through each hole. Attach rows together by twisting wires looped through each square.
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DIY projects with Anthropologie in the San Francisco Chronicle