California Cool - Coup d'Etat, Sarlo & March

December 6, 2009 | 6 comments

One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to scout out interesting shops and architecturally-rich neighborhoods. Typically I do some research before my trip and line up a list of places to visit. A couple weeks ago I traveled to San Francisco and hit the jackpot.

I was super busy leading up to my trip so I didn't have time to properly research and prepare a list of places I'd want to visit. But I knew there would be plenty in San Francisco so I wasn't worried about being unprepared. After arriving in California I remembered that San Francisco has a design center - named, appropriately, the San Francisco Design Center (SFDC). SFDC is quite similar to ADAC in Atlanta with numerous showrooms that cater to the trade. However, unlike ADAC, SFDC is open to the public all the time. I browsed through several showrooms at SFDC and was able to get some insight about a few shops (located outside of SFDC) that were more individual and that carried the kind of unique pieces I really enjoy.

I was directed to Coup d’Etat, Sarlo and March. If you haven’t heard of these shops yet, let me introduce you. They are purveyors of some serious cool!

Coup d’Etat

The first of the three shops I visited was Coup d’Etat. This shop currates a masculine set of antiques and industrial finds from Europe. For those in Atlanta, the aesthetic is similar to Mark Sage’s Love Train Antiques. In fact, some of their pieces have been sourced from Mark himself. Their showroom is almost like an art gallery, where the art is very interesting and unique pieces of furniture.

I had the pleasure of meeting Tiffany and shop owner Darin Geise. Tiffany gave me a tour of the shop and even of their “storage closet” that was housing some of their newest finds that had yet to make it to the shop floor or 1stdibs.

The bench above stood out to me while I was in the shop. You can't see from this photo, but the cushion has a border done in a greek key pattern. Such a great piece!

Tiffany and Darin were both very friendly and even went as far as offering me a print out of an exclusive list of their own favorite places to shop in San Francisco.


After Coup d’Etat I proceeded to Sarlo. There I met the shop's namesake - owner Gabriella Sarlo. Gabriella collects a feminine set of antiques from France and other parts of Europe and mixes them with more modern pieces. I was so caught up in talking with Gabriella that, regretfully, I didn't get any pictures of the showroom. Suffice to say, it was full of amazing furniture.

I found so many things I liked at Sarlo. I even found something for myself that would fit in my carry-on luggage, an antique French crown that has been on my wishlist for awhile.

These table lamps fashioned from 19th century architectural iron fragments were one of my favorite things in the shop.

This French chandelier also caught my eye. It's hard to realize the scale of it from this picture, but it's huge in person. It would take a large room to do it justice. A conversation piece indeed.


Last, but most definitely not least was March. I had heard of March before my trip via the Remodelista blog. I didn't recall, however, that the shop was in San Francisco. I thought it was located somewhere in wine country. I was excited when I learned that March was actually located in the city and I would get to visit.

While at March I enjoyed a long conversation with shopkeeper Melissa. She gave me detailed information about each of the one-of-a-kind pieces in the store that I was drawn to. Melissa also generously gave me information about the paint colors used in the shop. It has a wonderful neutral palette of whites and grays that I love.

One of my favorite pieces was this Maison Jenson daybed, an antique reproduction from the 1940s. The scale of it stood out to me as I'm tall and I like large furniture. I also liked the waxed linen it was reupholstered in.

Beside the daybed was this antique tree sculpture from France made of iron. It's such an astonishing piece that the shop owners will not sell it. It is a permanent fixture. It's clear when you see it in person why they simply cannot let go of it.

I equally enjoyed this bench at the entrance of the shop. It too was reupholstered in linen, one of my favorite materials.

These amazing side tables are misleading. The iron has the patina of age, but they're actually sculpted pieces of art from the 1990s by French artist Mattia Bonetti.

As a final note, I thought I'd point out that March curates an impressive collection of photography books.

If you're going to be (or live) in the area, I highly recommend checking out these shops. You won't be disappointed. All three shops have virtual showrooms on 1stdibs as well.


Anonymous said...

What wonderful find - these are great sources. I wish I had this list with me on my last trip to S.F. The lamps from the architectural details are perfection.

TSL said...

Gorgeous photos, calm sophistication. Thank you.

Doug Davis said...

wonderful! that window at March is amazing.

I am going to SF in the spring, these are going on my list!

Things That Inspire said...

One of my designer friends said that California style and California designers represent perhaps the best of purely American style (or a truly American interpretation of decor). So many of the great high end American furniture companies come out of LA and San Francisco - it is great to see a glimpse of stores that illustrate what my designer friend was saying. Great post!

James said...

@laurelstreet: The lamps were fantastic. There were even a couple more of the fragments that had yet to be turned into lamps that could be used in another way.

@doug: The window totally reminds me of the opening at the top of Random pendant light by Mooi.

@Things That Inspire: I can see where your designer friend is coming from. So much inspiration out there and I only got to visit half of the stores I intended to. I really wanted to get out to Erin Martin's showroom in wine county, but I simply didn't have enough time.

vignette design said...

Love those pendant lights! I love Coup d'Etat too. Can't wait to visit the others. Hard to keep up with it all. I'm in San Francisco Area and the Wine Country both! Stop by my blog and say hi! --Delores

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