Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

Paris, Je T’aime: Messy Nessy Chic’s Top Parisian Picks

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Once you visit Paris, it tends to make a place in your heart forever. Nothing quite beats the magic of this city — which is why it’s one of the places we love most. We asked one of our favorite Parisians, Vanessa Grall of Messy Nessy Chic, to tell us all about the little things that made her fall in love with her city.

Keep reading to learn about her favorite places in Paris. Plus, see all of our Paris items here.

Q: What do you think makes your city different from any other?
A: There’s just this constant feeling of nostalgia thrown at you every corner you turn, whether it’s recalling a favorite movie scene or just not quite being able to believe we’re not living in the 1930s or some other decade requiring a time machine. Woody Allen really did have that whole time-traveling thing on point with Midnight in Paris.

Q: Why did you decide to live where you live?
A: I’ve always been a big city girl (so far), but I think I need somewhere that doesn’t feel too competitive and fast-paced. In Paris, there’s room for the curious dilletante and the French are still all about perfecting the art of enjoying life. Honestly, sometimes I do wonder how this city manages to keep ticking though.

Q: What made you fall in love with your city?
A: I think it was my first ride on the back of my boyfriend’s scooter that did it.

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Favorite:

  • Lunch spot – Marché des Enfants Rouge – a hidden market, the oldest in Paris and a foodie’s dream. The hardest part is choosing which eaterie to settle in.
  • Place for a girl’s night out  – Dinner & cocktails at Le Depanneur, then head across the street at midnight to Le Carmen for dancing in a sumptuous mansion that was once the home of the French romantic composer, George Bizet.
  • Local date night – If it’s special occasion, there’s an Italian restaurant called L’Etage, hidden above a deli in St Germain. But we love a good Vietnamese too and it’s cheap as chips– our local is Dong Huong.
  • Place to think and wander – Montmartre at dusk and on Sundays, along the old inner city railway, Le Petite Ceinture, closed since 1934.
  • Secret about your city (secret spot, little known fact, etc. — it’s okay if you don’t have one!) There’s a secret view of Paris and the Sacré Coeur on the top of a real vineyard in the middle of the city. Not many Parisians even know about it. It’s called Butte Bergeyre, a quiet hilltop village hidden in the 19th arrondissement.

messynessy1Don’t forget to check out Vanessa’s blog, Messy Nessy Chic!

 

Don’t Mess with Texas: Favorite Texas Spots from A Piece of Toast

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For those of us who have never visited Texas, it’s easy to imagine it as a dry, dusty place full of cowboy boots and hats. But of course, it’s so much more — and that’s why it’s one of the places we love in our City & State Shop this season. We decided to chat with two of our top Texas experts — Molly and Sally Miller from A Piece of Toast — to hear all about their favorite Texas spots and what made them fall in love with their state.

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What do you think makes your state different from any other?
What makes Texas noticeably different is the state pride and friendly people. Dallas is comprised of locals and transplants (which we are!) and it makes meeting new people fun and interesting.

Why did you decide to live where you live? What made you fall in love with your state?
The Tex-mex is what made us first fall in love with Texas but the amazing friends and family we have in the state is what has kept us here. Dallas is a great place to live – easy to get around, fantastic shopping, and an artistic community of creatives – but we would happily live in Houston or Austin someday!


Favorites:
Lunch spot: Velvet Taco
Place for a girl’s night out: Bistro 31
Local date night: Fireside Pies or Cane Rosso (both are pizza spots!)
Place to think and wander: The Katy Trail
Secret about your city: The fashion scene is pretty amazing. Chanel Paris-Dallas anyone?

A_Piece_of_Toast_Alys_140723-15See more of these stylish sisters’ favorite things on their blog, A Piece of Toast.

 

It’s Starting to Feel Like Fall! Waiting on Martha Takes Over PB Instagram

Behind the Scenes | | | 2 Replies

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1. The oh-so-talented Mandy Kellogg of Waiting on Martha (our most recent Designer Spotlight!) took over our Instagram last weekend. We had such a fun time learning about how she celebrates her favorite season: Fall!

2. “Fall to me is COZY,” says Mandy. “Getting all sorts of cozy with my PB chunky knit throw, coffee mug and Just Brew It spoon on this rainy fall day.”

3. “Fall to me means DECORATING. Finding lots of decorating inspiration today at my Lenox Mall Pottery Barn.”

4. “Fall means to me CINNAMON, SPICE and EVERYTHING NICE, including my homemade hot mulled wine. Grab my recipe on the Pottery Barn blog!”

5. “Fall to me means PUMPKINS! Picking up all sorts of fall goodies at the farm today.”

6. “Fall to me means FOOTBALL and FOOD. Prepping the table for a little Sunday football and a lot of homemade chili.”

7. “Fall to me means freshly baked DOUGHNUTS. Fueling up on cinnamon doughnuts and apple fritters while gathering inspiration for a little fall decorating this Sunday.”

8. “Fall to me means PUMPKINS. Oh wait did I already say that? Well these are pink so it doesn’t count. I mean pink pumpkins?!?!”

9. “Fall to me means PLAID. Placing my PB basket, faux pumpkins and vintage plaid blanket on the porch to create a festive cozy welcome.”

Win Our Favorite Williams-Sonoma Items to Celebrate Chuck Williams’ 99th Birthday

Behind the Scenes | | | 13 Replies

Chuck’s 99th birthday celebration continues! Did you ever wonder where the Williams-Sonoma pineapple came from? A Sonoma artist came up with the store’s logo, which Chuck had seen atop the gateposts of grand houses as a symbol of welcoming and hospitality.

Enter for a chance to win your own little slice of Williams-Sonoma hospitality with a pineapple hostess gift package, including their quintessential apron and kitchen towels.

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1. Williams-Sonoma Solid Petit Adult Apron in Red/ 2. Williams-Sonoma Brass Pineapple Wine Pull/ 3. Williams-Sonoma Brass Pineapple Wine Bottle Stopper/ 4. Williams-Sonoma Logo Kitchen Towels in Red/ 5. Pineapple Wreath Hanger 

See official rules here.

This contest is now closed. Thanks for entering!

 

Win a Mauviel Copper Fry Pan to Celebrate Chuck Williams’ 99th Birthday

Behind the Scenes | | | 25 Replies

Did you know? On his first buying trip to France in 1959, Chuck Williams sought out Mauviel, a small, family-owned operation that uses traditional production techniques for its copper pots and pans. Today, Williams-Sonoma customers can still buy Mauviel’s French copper cookware.

Enter for a chance to win one an 8-inch Mauviel Copper Fry Pan from Williams-Sonoma, today!

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See official rules here.

This contest is now closed. Thanks for entering!

Happy Birthday Chuck! Win a Set of Williams Sonoma Cooking Tools

Behind the Scenes | | | 17 Replies

Did you know? In 1956, Chuck Williams opened his first store in Sonoma, California. Although it was originally a hardware store, he added kitchen and cooking tools to transform it into a culinary destination. “That was the real beginning of the business — a kind of accident,” he says.

Celebrate Chuck’s happy accident with one of our favorite Williams-Sonoma cooking tool sets, the All Clad Stainless Steel 7 Piece Cooking Set.

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See official rules here.

This contest is now closed. Thanks for entering!

Win a Set of Williams-Sonoma Cookware Set to Celebrate Chuck Williams’ 99th Birthday

Behind the Scenes | | | 27 Replies

Chuck Williams’ 99th Birthday celebration continues! Here’s fun fact #2: Chuck fell in love with Paris’s smallest cooking shops, and was inspired to bring the love of fine cooking and quality cooking tools — from gleaming pots and pans, to shiny spatulas, to tiny wooden spoons — to America. 

Today, enter for a chance to win one of your very own Calphalon Elite 3-Piece Fry Pan & Sauté Pan Set:

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See official rules here.

This contest is now closed. Thanks for entering!

Win One of Our Paris Prints to Celebrate Chuck Williams’ 99th Birthday

Behind the Scenes | | | 22 Replies

Happy Birthday, Chuck! We’re celebrating the 99th birthday of Charles “Chuck” Williams, the founder of our sister store Williams-Sonoma, with giveaways of our favorite Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma product all day long.

Did you know? The inspiration for Williams-Sonoma began when Chuck took his first trip to Paris in 1953. “It is a city that is a delight to get lost in—one that gives me pause and causes me, at any given moment, to think how lucky I am to be in Paris,” he says.

To celebrate Chuck’s love for Paris, we’re giving away one of our Red Balloons in Paris Framed Print by Rebecca Plotnick to a lucky fan!

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See official rules here. 

This contest is now closed. Thanks for entering!

Happy 99th Birthday Chuck Williams!

Behind the Scenes | | | 5 Replies

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Charles “Chuck” Williams, the founder of Williams-Sonoma, is often called a pioneer of the American kitchen. Today, we’re celebrating his 99th birthday with a tribute to our absolute favorite cook, chef and founder.

PS: Don’t forget to check out our giveaways all day long, to celebrate Chuck’s birthday!

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Although he always had a love and affinity for food and cooking, this love turned into a more defined passion after Williams’ first visited Europe in 1953. He immediately fell in love with Paris, and was greatly inspired by the French cooking culture — wandering around the city’s tiny cooking shops helped stoke the fire that created a true culinary destination.

“I never really got over that trip,” Chuck says. “And all these years later, I know that every trip I have ever taken … has been an extension of that first trip to Paris in 1953.”

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After moving to Sonoma, California, Chuck met a group of friends that all shared a deep love for cooking — beyond the typical processed or no-prep foods that were common in post-war America. After purchasing an old hardware store in downtown Sonoma, he turned part of it into a little shop of his own, and added some kitchen and cooking tools to the stock. “That was the real beginning of the business,” he says. “A kind of accident.”

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He kept the store’s name simple: Williams-Sonoma. “If you stop to think about it, it wasn’t a good choice,” he says. “A lot of people did have trouble getting it right. Some called it Sonoma-Williams, and even more call it William Sonoma and think my name is Bill Sonoma.”

The now iconic pineapple logo was developed by a local artist in Sonoma, which he had seen atop the gateposts of grand houses and interpreted as a symbol of hospitality.

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Chuck’s business, which set a standard for customer service, took off and helped fuel a revolution in American cooking and entertaining that continues today.

Today, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is a multi-channel specialty retailer of high quality products for the home that now includes Williams-Sonoma, the Pottery Barn brands (Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, PBteen), West Elm, Mark & Graham and Rejuvenation.

398x296_Quote3Happy 99th Birthday Chuck!

 

Makeover Takeover! Pottery Barn Brings New Life to Larkin Street Youth Services’s Residences

Behind the Design, Behind the Scenes | | | 10 Replies

“Everyone deserves the dignity of home.” This poignant quote perfectly encompasses why we’re so passionate about working with the Larkin Street Youth Services in San Francisco.

For the past 30 years, this program has served the homeless youth of San Francisco with emergency shelters, education programs and transitional living facilities.

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This year, we were thrilled and honored to make over one of Larkin Street’s youth residences in San Francisco.

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Located in the Outer Richmond neighborhood, the building has 4 floors (and a roofdeck!) devoted to the 18-24 year olds who live here. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge, this space (including 2 living rooms, 2 study rooms, 2 kitchens, a laundry room, a gym and a roof deck) got a complete makeover over the course of two days thanks to 2 teams of over 40 Pottery Barn associates.

Take a look at the total transformation, below!

BEFORE: The building had a stunning roofdeck (That view!) that was in good shape, but just needed a little love.
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AFTER: A new dining set, some succulents and other warm weather plants did just the trick.

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AFTER: This team also painted lattices bright white to add a little privacy to the sides of the roofdeck, while still preserving the view.

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BEFORE: The third floor living space had one random pink wall and poor lighting.

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AFTER: A coat of fresh paint, a new chandelier, our cozy and comfy Turner Sectional and other personal Pottery Barn touches turned this room into a chic, Southwest-inspired living space.

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BEFORE: The kitchen needed some help, too. Blue paint and a lack of communal space made the room feel disorganized and dingy, despite all the natural light.

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AFTER: A navy blue chalkboard wall contrasts beautifully with a coat of crisp white paint, while our expandable Banks Dining Table provides plenty of seating.

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BEFORE: We wanted to turn this third floor homework room into a space with sleek, adult style that would encourage good study habits and create a warm, quiet space to work.

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AFTER: This Pottery Barn Kids Teepee makes for the perfect reading nook, too!

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BEFORE: Downstairs, this living space needed some help, too.

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AFTER: It’s amazing what color can do! This accent wall of Sherwin-Williams Naval brought the room to life.

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BEFORE: Like the study room upstairs, this room had plenty of natural light.

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AFTER: White curtains filter the light just a little bit, and make this corner a cozy spot to read or catch up on homework.

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We all had an amazing couple of days volunteering for these inspiring members of our community. We couldn’t be more proud to support such a wonderful organization and group of people.

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