Issuu on Google+

44

7 X 7. CO M

STYLING BY ROSY STRAZZERI-FRIDMAN

TK

PPOSITES

ATTRACT

The merchandising at Hudson Grace tends towards the lived-in homey look, with products piled on top of one another in a casualmeets-chic presentation.

HE’S A MODERN MINIMALIST. SHE’S AN ECLECTIC COLLECTOR. BUT FOR DESIGNER FRIENDS MONELLE TOTAH AND GARY M c NATTON, A SHARED LOVE OF HOME AND ENTERTAINING MAKES FOR PERFECT KISMET IN THEIR PRESIDIO HEIGHTS STORE,

HUDSON GRACE. BY LEILANI MARIE LABONG P H OTO G RA P H Y BY M AU RA M c E VOY

N

othing says love and friendship like a good old-fashioned leveling tool. At least Gary McNatton thinks so. The co-proprietor of the Presidio Heights design shop Hudson Grace gifted one such gizmo to his best friend and business partner, Monelle Totah, to help her straighten the menagerie of flea-market food art hanging in the dining room of her Marina flat. “Hello, I live in the city!” she says. “There are buses that rumble by my house and shake things up.” Not that McNatton doesn’t appreciate a little lived-in charm. Though you might not know it from looking at his stark St. Helena home. But at Hudson Grace, which opened last fall, the painstakingly curated inventory is “hardly lined up like soldiers on a shelf like at Crate & Barrel,” says McNatton, a former senior vice president at Gap Inc. From chunky hand-woven baskets to overstuffed linen pillows and everyday trattoria

glasses, products at Hudson Grace are effortlessly nestled, layered, and stacked, evoking the unmistakable undone-ness of home. Not surprisingly, the shop’s soulful tableau is more in sync with Totah’s personal style. A Louisiana native, she’s a die-hard collector of all things artisanal and timeworn, and she’s cultivated an enchanting look over a lifetime of flea market reconnaissance. That is not to mention her

7 X 7. CO M

45


“IN A WAY, I’M THE

ULTIMATE CONSUMER,” SHE SAYS. “I DON’T JUST DESIGN

WITH BEAUTY AND PRACTICALITY IN MIND.

I BUY THAT WAY, TOO.”

A collection of covetable antiques and rare vintage finds may seem off-limits, but Totah welcomes—and encourages—guests to interact with the beautiful things in her home.

46

7 X 7. CO M

TOTAH

—M O N E L L E TOTA H

22 years as director and VP of design at WilliamsSonoma Home. “In a way, I’m the ultimate consumer,” she says. “I don’t just design with beauty and practicality in mind. I buy that way, too.” As such, nothing is off limits in Totah’s home, a haven of European eclecticism. She unapologetically displays her collections, intending them to be used rather than just admired. For her regular dinner parties, she doesn’t hesitate to serve shrimp-and-chicken-sausage gumbo in one of her vintage silver soup tureens. And she always lights the candles on her fireplace mantle with matches sparked on one of her rare glassand-silver match strikers. Highly collectible, black terracotta pieces by Astier de Villatte hold things like fruit and cheese. And the coffee table books? They’re actually reading material. “I love when my guests enjoy my home to the fullest,” says Totah. “That wouldn’t be possible if they were too afraid to touch things.” At Hudson Grace, such interactions are also encouraged. And quite often, they can’t be helped. After all, who could resist reaching out to feel the storied texture of a wooden cutting board from turn-of-the-century France? Colorful linen napkins, rumpled just so, reward outstretched fingers with a supple, worn-in feel. And HG’s privatelabel dinnerware—handcrafted by European artisans using archival molds—is indulgent in its heft, size, and sometimes catawampus shape. Take, for example, one of the oversized dinner plates, originally designed by McNatton and Totah for Banana Republic in the mid-1990s. “It’s got that soft, undulating edge, that curve, that organic feel,” says McNatton. “Think of the silhouette as an object’s personality, the shape of its presence in your life and your home.” Such attention to form isn’t just quixotic, it’s exacting—driving Totah and McNatton’s natural

7 X 7. CO M

47


“WHEN WE’RE

ON THE HUNT, IT’S LIKE WE’RE

SATISFYING

A HUNGER.” — GA RY Mc N AT TON

Totah’s European design sensibilities are exemplified in a brasserie-style kitchen with industrial metal accents. She and McNatton have employed European artisans to create handmade private-label dinnerware for Hudson Grace.

48

7 X 7. CO M

TK CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: EDOUARD ROSCHI; COURTESY OF LE LABO; COURTESY OF UNIQLO; COURTESY OF JIMMY CHOO; COURTESY OF MULBERRY

Layers of white linens hang beneath a single sink, framed with patinated metal trinkets.

scavenger instincts to flare up on their far-flung buying trips. “When we’re on the hunt, it’s like we’re satisfying a hunger,” McNatton says. On a recent jaunt to Paris, the duo unearthed curvaceous antique cake stands and full-figured vintage wine bottles, among other treasures, at a flea market. McNatton is rapturous about these simple yet formidable shapes. In the naturally modern Wine Country home he shares with his partner of 23 years, Michael Bodziner (a partner at Gensler who also designed HG’s Sacramento Street space), such profiles are even more striking in an edited setting. “The simplicity helps quiet my mind,” says the Kentucky native. His marble kitchen island is the site of many baking triumphs; its sleek surface hosting the ingredients for a three-layer chocolate cake, painstakingly measured and organized for one heck of a mise en place. Armchairs from the 1950s (sourced at Erin Martin’s St. Helena showroom) are as boxy as midcentury furniture gets, but their cowhide coverings provide an organic foil to the clean, modernist lines. Inside a living room cabinet is a wealth of white plaster oddities, from lips to eyes to feet, hinting at McNatton’s wild side. “I collect things, too. I just keep them behind closed doors,” he says. Out in the open are black-and-white photographs depicting architecture (a 1940s image of the Guggenheim

Fit for a queen: a gilded gallery adds color to a blanched bedscape.

Antiques mingle with contemporary shapes for a perfectly balanced bedroom tableau.

7 X 7. CO M

49


McNATTON

50

7 X 7. CO M

TK

A little bit French country, a little bit San Francisco: Totah’s characteristic clustered objects and mismatched flea market art lend personality to the dining room.

TK

A blank slate by comparison, Gary McNatton and Michael Bodziner’s St. Helena abode is an exercise in pristine modern minimalism.

7 X 7. CO M

51


“I COLLECT THINGS, TOO.

I JUST KEEP THEM

BEHIND

CLOSED DOORS.”

Even a casual collection gets the McNatton treatment, seen in pristine stacks of art, design, and cookbooks in the office.

A cable throw in the guest bedroom evokes the cozy offerings McNatton helps procure for Hudson Grace.

—GARY McNATTON

52

7 X 7. CO M

TK

McNatton prefers spare and edited to overwhelming layers: “The simplicity helps quiet my mind,” he explains. But that’s not to say he doesn’t have his own collections of intrigue hiding just out of sight.

TK CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: EDOUARD ROSCHI; COURTESY OF LE LABO; COURTESY OF UNIQLO; COURTESY OF JIMMY CHOO; COURTESY OF MULBERRY

Rustic meets modern in the dining room, with a hefty table, trim chairs, and architectural photos of the Guggenheim Museum.

Sourced from Erin Martin’s St. Helena showroom, a pair of midcentury modern armchairs is upholstered in hide for the flavor of Wine Country.

Museum) and anatomy (a nude portrait by Herb Ritts)— an edgy counterpoint to the home’s rustic wide-plank oak floors and antlers galore. The picture frames lean against the wall in a casual arrangement that requires no precision instrument. Apparently, what’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander. “What can I say?” McNatton laughs. “Mo and I are always learning from each other.” 7 X 7. CO M

53


“MO AND I ARE ALWAYS LEARNING FROM EACH OTHER.”

— GARY Mc NATTO N

54

7 X 7. CO M

TK

Exposed ceiling beams are about the only waft of country left in the polished kitchen, where McNatton perfects his threelayer chocolate cake.

TK

Antlers abound by the sleek outdoor fireplace. One bejeweled set offers a subtle, quirky wink in McNatton’s otherwise immaculate scene.

7 X 7. CO M

55


Opposites Attract