If you follow us on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter, you know that we’re kind of in love with San Francisco — the home of Pottery Barn Headquarters. It’s hard not to love this city — great food, amazing design and wonderful people. Victoria Smith of SFGirlByBay can certainly relate — her passion for the city of San Francisco and her sophisticated style is part of why we chose her for our Designer Spotlight this month.
Victoria’s collected an incredible stockpile of must-do, must-see, must-taste, must-try activities after 20 years in the City by the Bay. Read on to learn about why she loves San Francisco — plus, get a glimpse inside her gorgeous Bay Area home.
PB: What do you think makes San Francisco different from any other city?
VS: Mainly the stunning Victorian architecture and geography of the city. I think most people think we’re nuts to live in such a hilly place. And I also think our proximity to nature makes us very fortunate. You can be fine dining in the city one minute, and take a 20 minute drive and be in Golden Gate Park, Crissy Field, or Lands End seeing the best and most stunning that nature has to offer.
PB: What made you fall in love with San Francisco?
VS: I used to come here every summer as a kid with my family on road trips from Los Angeles. I just thought it was the most magical, free and colorful place I’d ever seen. When I grew tired of life in Los Angeles I moved here (twenty years ago) and felt instantly at home.
PB: What’s one thing people might not like about San Francisco, but you love?
VS: I think some people may find the weather cold and chilly, but I just find it refreshing. There’s beauty in the fog, and as a photographer it covers the atmosphere like a giant diffuser, creating the most perfect light to shoot in.
PB: How would you describe quintessential San Francisco style? Is that changing at all?
VS: I’m not sure there’s just one definitive style. I think what’s so great about San Francisco is that anything goes, and the most interesting people and spaces are those with a unique look all their own. I think there’s trends, and there’s a “hipster” look, but the most creative people have sort of their own signature style that’s completely unique to them.
PB: Where are some of your favorite places to get design inspiration in the city?
VS: I like walking around the city, by neighborhood depending on my mood. Each neighborhood has a unique personality and I’m mostly drawn to the older neighborhoods — like the Mission and its colorful corner stores and alleyways taken over by graffiti, like Clarion Alley. But I also love wandering around the pretty pastel row houses and surf shops in the Sunset District on a foggy day. Chinatown can be crazy and colorful when it lights up at dusk, too. The whole city holds a lot of inspiration for me.
Lunch spot: Bar Tartine
Place for a girl’s night out: Royal Cuckoo
Local date night: Foreign Cinema
Kitschy tourist spot: Bimbo’s
Place to think and wander: Fort Funston
Secret about your city (secret spot, little known fact, etc.): There’s a great tree swing at Billy Goat Park at the end of 30th Street in Glen Park. If you hike up the hill from 30th and Beacon Street you’ll see the swing up on the only tall tree in the park. Climb up there for the best view of Noe Valley, the Mission and Downtown beyond. It’s fantastic.
Plus, see more of Victoria’s style and San Francisco adventures on her blog, SFGirlByBay and her book, See San Francisco: Through The Lens of SFGirlByBay.