Category Archives: We Love SF

January Designer Spotlight: Victoria Smith’s Favorite San Francisco Spots

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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. 
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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.

See Victoria’s full feature on 

victoria smith-25Plus, 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.


We Love SF: Newly Remodeled Outerlands Offers a Cozy Refuge for SF Surfers

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Known for its foggy days and proximity to the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco’s Sunset neighborhood is a bonafide surfer’s paradise set on the outskirts of the city. Outerlands, one of the neighborhood’s best known restaurants, was initially established as a refuge for surfers from the cold.


Over time, an innovative but comforting menu established Outerlands as a go-to restaurant throughout the entire city, and the tiny restaurant soon outgrew its limited square footage.


After a 5-month remodel, the restaurant has finally reopened. The larger space offers more seating and plenty of extra perks, but still maintains the same warm, rustic feel with reclaimed wood walls, rustic wood seating and bold wood and ceramic light fixtures.


An expanded bar provides 10 extra bar stools for customers and a new and improved cocktail menu.


Both small and large tables line the walls of the new space, offering 20 additional seats.


A larger kitchen now allows the staff to bake more of the restaurant’s infamous bread for the breakfast, brunch and lunch menu.


Owners David Muller and Lana Porcello designed the space themselves, combining their favorite parts of their beloved restaurant with extra square footage and selectively modern elements.

The next time you’re in San Francisco, visit the new Outerlands Restaurant at 4001 Judah Street.

Let’s Go Local: Pottery Barn Hosts Our First Ever Makers Market

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Let’s face it — you can find all sorts of beautiful things in a Pottery Barn store, but jewelry usually isn’t one of them. But on the night of May 29th, things were looking a little different in our Chestnut Street store in San Francisco.


For our first ever Makers Market, we worked with Square Market to host local, independent artisans to sell their handmade goods in our store and connect with the local community.


Handmade jewelry, iPad cases, leather totes and graphic prints were artfully placed on Pottery Barn furniture throughout the store.


The five local artisans — Honey & Bloom, Zelma Rose, Hellbent, DODOcase and Joshu+Vela — mixed and mingled with about 100 customers who couldn’t wait to learn more about their local artisan community.


It was so inspiring to see such talented work from our San Francisco community — stay tuned for more!


We Love SF: Genuine Soul Food and Live Jazz at 1300 Fillmore

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Even though 1300 Fillmore was designed with history in mind, it still has one foot firmly in the 21st century. Often noted as one of the best designed restaurants in San Francisco, the brainchild of David Lawrence and Monetta White manages to pay tribute to the Jazz Era of San Francisco’s Fillmore Street and the city’s current urban vibe all at once.


The restaurant consists of two distinct areas. Walk in the front door, and veer to the left, and you’ll be transported to a timeless jazz-style lounge. 1950s style leather furniture stands out against backlit black and white photos of jazz and blue legends.




Walk straight ahead past the hostess booth, and you’ll enter the more modern dining area (with plenty of jazz era undertones). A menu of authentic soul food and a live jazz band completes the experience.



Interior designer Colum McCartan designed the space to emulate what Lawrence and White love most about this neighborhood, this time period and this style of music. Custom furniture and light fixtures, warm wood and plush leather couches give the dining room the same relaxed but luxe vibe as the lounge and bar.



Next time you’re in San Francisco, visit 1300 Fillmore for live music, cocktails and genuine soul food. 

We Love SF: The Incredible Mosaic 16th Avenue Steps

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Nestled into the hillside in San Francisco’s foggy Sunset neighborhood, a brightly colored staircase stands out like a diamond in the rough. 163 mosaic tiled stairs lead from one block, up a steep incline to the next block. Where did this magical staircase come from?


In 2003, the residents of this quaint neighborhood around 16th and Moraga started working on an elaborate mosaic design inspired by the tiled Santa Teresa Steps in Rio de Janiero.


Two local artists, Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher led the design process, creating a colorful sea to sky design. Although the steps were originally built in 1926, the neighborhood wanted to do something special that would add vibrant color to where they live.

16th street paul

Over 300 people joined together to make the 163 mosaic riser panels, with over 200 sponsored tiles with names on them. A local tilesetting company set the panels into the staircases free of charge and tiled the step treads with a nonslip tile.


Now, this architectural gem draws visitors from all over the city, who want to climb from the fish-tiled steps at the bottom to the starry tiles at the top.

Next time you’re in San Francisco, visit the 16th Avenue steps at 16th Avenue between Moraga and Noriega.

See more of our favorite spots in SF.



We Love SF: Saint Frank Coffee

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As soon as you step in the front door, it’s clear that Saint Frank isn’t your average coffee shop. Nestled in a cozy storefront on Russian Hill’s charming Polk Street, Saint Frank’s clean and bright interior immediately beckons visitors inside.


Owner Kevin Bohlin had dreamt of owning a coffee shop for years before Saint Frank opened its doors. “I love the power and opportunity of coffee to facilitate connections between people, special experiences and culture,” he says.


Instead of the “fast food” mentality of chain coffee shops, Bohlin designed a space that revolves around the human side of coffee and would give people new expectations for what specialty coffee is all about.


Bohlin worked with friends Amanda Loper at David Baker Architects and Ian Dunn of Open Scope Studio to develop a design that would reflect his values and dreams for the business. The white quartz/silestone bar is the room’s focal point, and the diagonal white oak flooring and wainscoting draws the eye to this central workspace.


All of the big machines (water boilers, batch brewers, etc.) are stationed under the counter so that the space remains open and clean and emphasizes the relationship between the barista and the customer. “We don’t hide ourselves, our work, or our messes behind tall bars and equipment,” says Bohlin.

The next time you’re in San Francisco, visit Saint Frank at 2340 Polk Street.

All photos courtesy of Kevin Bohlin





We Love SF: Four Barrel Coffee Parklet

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Even though we’re known for our foggy summers, we love to soak up the sunshine whenever and wherever we can in San Francisco. But since so much is crammed into the 7-by-7 square miles of our city, outdoor space is hard to come by. Luckily, the city’s new Pavement to Parks initiative, where small outdoor seating areas and parks are temporarily built on the street, allows some of our favorite restaurants and cafes to take advantage of public space.


The Four Barrel Parklet in front of Four Barrel Coffee’s Valencia Street shop is one of our favorites. Designed and built in conjunction with Boor Bridges Architecture, the surprisingly elegant wood, metal and brick design combines extra seating and bike parking outside the always crowded café.


This particular parklet was one of the first in the city, and definitely doesn’t skimp on the design factor. A coffee bar provides sitting and standing room in the sunshine, while hanging bike racks allow patrons to store their bikes safely.


Not only does the parklet better Four Barrel’s business and provide a perfect spot to sip on their amazing coffee, but it also improves and beautifies the surrounding neighborhood. Go and visit the parklet at Four Barrel‘s Valencia location next time you’re in San Francisco!


Photography: SF Planning Department

Read about another of our favorite San Francisco parklets.

Bacon, Maple and Apple — Oh My! We Visit San Francisco’s Dynamo Donuts

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From cake pops, to cronuts, to crème brulee, to crazy ice cream flavors — we love taste testing all of the latest dessert trends here at Pottery Barn. The donut is no exception — talented pastry chefs around the country have elevated the humble donut to artisanal status with amazing flavors, toppings and infusions.


San Francisco based Dynamo Donuts is one of the leaders of this pack. We visited its Marina location, near Crissy Field and the Golden Gate Bridge, to taste some of their best flavors and learn about the story behind these beautiful pastries — pictured here on our Gabriella Cake Stand and Great White Cake Stand.


As soon as you pick up a Dynamo Donut, it’s clear that this isn’t your average Dunkin breakfast. Pastry chef Sara Spearin mixes flavors like molasses pear, chocolate rose, orange blossom and huckleberry into these delectable desserts.


Spearin, who has worked at some of San Francisco’s top restaurants, first started experimenting with donuts while on maternity leave in 2007. These cast iron fried concoctions were the first donuts she’d ever cooked for herself, but she fell in love with the possibilities.


A year later, she opened her first shop in San Francisco’s Mission District, selling her signature maple, apple, bacon donut (among many others) to the city’s hungry hordes, and later in the Marina. No matter what time of day, both locations are always slammed — lines spilling out the door and around the block. But as any well-versed San Francisco foodie could tell you, the wait is well worth it.

Next time you’re in San Francisco, visit Dynamo Donuts at its Mission or Marina location. 

We Explore Every Flavor of San Francisco’s Creme Brulee Cart

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Our crush on San Francisco’s Crème Brulee Cart began in 2009, when it first appeared as a small pushcart on the streets of the Mission neighborhood in the city. Curtis Kimball started his charming business on a small, handmade pushcart. Dressed in a chef’s hat and jacket, he’d wheel it around, toting his pre-made treats and a torch to give them their signature crispy top.


Five years later, the Crème Brulee Cart has a faithful following, a licensed cart in the Financial District, several signature flavors, a truck that makes regular appearances all over the Bay Area and a potential retail location in the Mission.


We went to go visit the Crème Brulee team at their kitchen in San Francisco’s SOMA district, where they let us try some of their best items on the menu, and one brand new chocolate, nutella and peanut butter blend (it’s amazing, trust us). Pictured above is one of their classic flavors: Vanilla topped with a homemade salted caramel sauce.


Both come with a variety of toppings that customers can pick from. Pictured here: Caramelized pecans and crumbled cookie mix in our Great White Espresso Cups.


Needless to say, we licked the bowls clean after this shoot was over. We love the Creme Brulee Cart’s innovative way of bringing smiles to the streets of San Francisco!

Learn more about San Francisco’s Crème Brulee Cart and come visit them the next time you’re in San Francisco!

Clever and Creative Desserts from Craftsman and Wolves in San Francisco

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Nothing is quite what you’d expect at Craftsman and Wolves. Tucked into a small but modern storefront in the foodie paradise that is San Francisco’s Mission District, Craftsman and Wolves is a veritable wonderland of baked goods and pastries.


We visited the contemporary patisserie and shot some of chef William Werner’s favorite bites on our perfectly-sized Cambria Tidbit Plates. Take a look at these delicious treats below, and learn more about the story behind this innovative bakery.


Werner — whose past stints have included Quince and The Ritz Carlton — carefully constructs the ever-changing menu based on seasonality, fan favorites and wildly creative blends of sweet and savory. Pictured above is one of Craftsman and Wolves’ better-known medleys — a savory cake made with sausage, asiago, green onions and a perfectly soft cooked egg  —  called The Rebel Within.


Above is The Rebel Within’s sweet counterpart: The Devil Within. Although Werner originally filled this cake with foie gras, he switched to a soft chocolate center after the California ban on foie gras passed.


This unassuming pastry is one of Werner’s personal favorites — and for good reason! The carmelized hazelnut financier is heaven on earth.


A colorful sprinkling of vegetable “confetti” tops this savory croissant, filled with ham, cheese and a harissa glaze.


Naturally, Werner had to have a sweet croissant, too. But this is no ordinary chocolate croissant — instead of the standard crescent shape, Werner’s version stacks the flaky dough with pieces of chocolate.


Last but not least — the infamous morning bun with crème fraîche and muscovado sugar. This little loaf-shaped bun just melts in your mouth.

Each delectable pastry exhibits Werner’s love and passion for the craft and art of baking — in fact, the name Craftsman and Wolves nods to all craftsman and the challenges they face while pursuing their passion.

Visit Craftsman & Wolves the next time you’re in San Francisco at 746 Valencia Street.