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Designing Minds: New Stores, Cover Scores, and a lot of Plaid

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With game-changing technology companies, burgeoning real estate prices, and a fast-changing landscape, San Francisco has been in the dead center of the cultural crosshairs for years. It seems like the city's top designers are also in the national and international spotlight more than ever before. Case in point: The October issue of House Beautiful. With local designers as the subject of three out of a total of five features, the publication could have renamed itself House Bay Area for the month. Interior designer Benjamin Dhong has the cover with his personal Wine Country home, and it's a beauty.


Dhong is known for a luxe look that taps into a Greek Revival aesthetic, and that's exactly what he channeled in his weekend retreat. The twist is that he combined flea-market finds and hand-me-downs with items from Cost Plus and CB2. Dhong says he looked for the "junkiest" pieces of wood at the lumberyard in lieu of high-end moldings. "I'm not a design snob," he says in the article. Those are humble words for a stellar, mostly white home. Our favorite? Artwork crafted from a piece of wood cut into a cloud shape and covered with iconic Fornasetti wallpaper.

A photo posted by KENFULK (@kenfulk) on

Other local designers in the issue include the much-written about Ken Fulk, who scored a 10-page feature by creating HB's Kitchen of the Year in New Orleans (its centerpiece is a pink-hued island) and Caitlin Moran, whose elegant home for a San Francisco family of five is profiled.

Three high-end designers are reaching out to consumers with off-the-shelf offerings. Make no mistake, these aren't inexpensive, mass-produced items, but they aren't exclusively to-the-trade either.


Jay Jeffers has partnered with Arteriors (a luxe home goods powerhouse) to produce a collection that's focused on entertaining with everything you need to enjoy a cocktail. He's designed Art Deco-reminiscent cocktail shakers, serving trays, and ice buckets for the line. There's even a series of occasional tables that make a perfect spot to perch a glass. The collection is available on his website and soon will be offered in Jay Jeffers–The Store, his atelier that was once known as Cavalier.


Scot Meacham Wood's love of tartan prints is so well known, the designer is called the "Man in Plaid." No surprise his new venture, SMW Home is all about the checks. The designer says he was inspired by the Scottish countryside and his Southern heritage to create the line of mad-for-plaid of fabrics, trim, furniture, and home accessories.


↑Coming soon: Jonathan Rachman is a designer who has a way of infusing old-school items with a modern sensibility. This collected aesthetic will be on view when he opens the doors to J. Rachman, the store. In the new Market Street space, his design offices will be fronted by a retail venture featuring the designer's collaborations with Massimo Tevarotto (leather accessories), Margot Larkin (hand-painted glassware), and Bolt Textiles (fabrics with a Balinese-meets-Left-Bank style). Doors are set to open in November, but preorders are accepted through Rachman's office.


↑In to-the-trade news: Jeff Holt, Peter West, and designer Kathleen Navarra, the team behind the San Francisco Design Center Showroom Hewn, have launched the next generation of the business. HewnX will feature a more transitional style (classic with a modern twist). "We always had these kinds of pieces in the mix at Hewn," says Holt. "But this showroom will be dedicated to them." Pieces from local designers such as Gary Hutton will be featured.

· How a Generic '80s Home Got a Wine Country Makeover [House Beautiful]