Home Design That’s Relaxed, Individual, and Well-Crafted

Here’s how some of the area’s hippest home decor purveyors pinpoint local cool — and share what’s hot in home goods.


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Photo courtesy Laleh Latini, SOBU

Defining East Bay style is no easy task. How could it be? The East Bay is home to one of the most diverse populations in the nation, with a delightful variety of cultures to match. Though this is no doubt a strength, it’s bound to throw a wrench in any attempt to characterize a singular East Bay vibe in home decor. Here’s how some of the area’s hippest home decor purveyors pinpoint local cool — and share what’s hot in home goods.

Big on Understatement

For Laleh Latini, co-owner of SOBU in Rockridge, East Bay style is notable for its understatement. “There’s a really casual — but still stylish — sensibility in both fashion and design here. Pretension and too much flash are generally frowned upon.” That vibe is evident in the SOBU furniture line, most of which is designed in house. These pieces incorporate Forest Stewardship Council-certified lumber, reclaimed woods, and natural fabrics. According to Latini, the best-selling reclaimed teak rocker embodies the SOBU ethos to a tee. The chair’s relaxed form makes for a comfortable seat, and it’s sold at a reasonable price, too. SOBU, 5451 College Ave., Oakland, 510-823-0903, SobuSobu.com

 

Uniquely Soulful

Johnelle Mancha, lead designer and owner of Mignonne Decor in Berkeley, said the open mindedness and appreciation for the arts of Bay Area residents inspire her customers’ love of “soulful” goods. “Pretty much all [of our] pieces are one of a kind,” she said. “It’s almost like each piece is waiting for [its] rightful owner to walk through the door.” Mancha brings in carefully curated vintage furnishings, showcases artistic additions such as art and literature journal Unvael, and adds ceramics from Berkeley brands Luvhaus and Totem to the Mignonne mix. Mignonne Décor, 2447 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, 510-388-5830, MignonneDecor.com

Mixing It Up

Monica Reskala, co-owner of Turtle & Hare, has noticed that the East Bay’s diversity is not limited to its people, remarking, “The area has a rich history in Victorian, Craftsman, mid-century, and modern [house] styles.” Couple that with the diversity of the local population, and you end up with an exciting juxtaposition indeed. One thing that unites Turtle & Hare’s customers, no matter their background or home style, is their appreciation of artisanship. “Our customers seek us out for unique, finely crafted furnishings,” said Reskala. “Over the last 15 years, there’s been a craft renaissance and a growing appreciation for things that resonate deeply and have a timeless quality.” All of the wood used in the Turtle & Hare furniture is locally sourced and native to California, and the pieces are constructed using techniques based on traditional Japanese carpentry. Turtle & Hare, 478 25th St., Oakland, 510-747-9877, TurtleAndHare.net

No Fuss

For Maison d’Etre’s Patty Brun, the East Bay is defined by its total lack of fuss. “Individual styles vary, of course, and Oakland itself — and certainly the greater Bay Area — [has] a diverse cast, but consistent in what people respond to is a feeling of integrity, simplicity, functionality, [and] authenticity, [as well as] an organic sensibility in design and appearance.” This Rockridge shop defines itself as a kind of general store for the home, selling things as sundry as kitchen and bath goods, bedding, lighting, and furniture. Brun said customers at the moment seem to be smitten with Chilewich doormats, Abyss towels, and Graf Lantz felt coasters. Maison d’Etre, 5640 College Ave., Oakland, 510-658-2801, MaisondEtre.com

 

A Capital View

The local environment plays a key role in determining what people want in their window treatments. “Because of the beautiful views of the bay and hills, we find that our customers are looking for shades that adjust the amount of light while still retaining the view,” said Tibby Lerner of Emeryville’s Marsh Interiors. Owner Ed Marsh added, “One of the styles we recommend for people with a great view is the screen shade. You can see the different percentages of openness here in the showroom to help you decide what’s right for your home.” Marsh Interiors, 3850 San Pablo Ave., No. 104, Emeryville, 510-547-7540, MarshInteriors.com

Web hed: Home Design That’s Relaxed, Individual, and Well-Crafted

Web deck: Here’s how some of the area’s hippest home decor purveyors pinpoint local cool — and share what’s hot in home goods.

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