Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

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.

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Happy 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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Behind the Design: Our New Art Collection

Behind the Design, Behind the Scenes | | | 1 Reply

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We’ve taken an entirely new approach to Pottery Barn’s art collection this year. Our collection has expanded, and we’re working hard to make sure everyone has a chance to buy beautiful, one-of-a-kind art for their homes.

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What’s new? Take a peek at our Art Shop — you might be surprised! We’ve separated pieces by style to make it easy, and each section is full of takes on text and type, elegant mirrors, inspiring abstract prints and stunning vintage reproductions, all made to order.

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 Like this print — originally a collagraph by Seattle artist Eunice Kim, Porous #24 is a giclée reproduction, made just for you, with the same detail and craftsmanship as the original.

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Or this playful gicleé print by artist Stephanie Sterjovski.

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 As you can tell by this post, we love Alicia Bock’s ethereal and modern photography style. “Paris is always a good idea” — we couldn’t agree more.

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Check out our new Art Shop to see more of our new, expanded collection — made just for you. 

Print & Pattern: Inspiration for our Fall Pillow Collection

Behind the Design, Behind the Scenes | | | 3 Replies

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This season, our pillow collection is all about color, texture and pattern. We spoke to one of our lead in-house textile designers, Sandra, to learn more about the inspiration behind this bold new look.

Most of the patterns in our new pillows have a distinctly global feel, and were inspired in-part by trips our design team took to Barcelona and Morocco. Two patterns in particular — Ikats and Suzanis — are traditional prints commonly found in these two regions.

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Our design team took those traditional patterns and updated them with unusual colorways for a Pottery Barn twist. Using current color trends with classic global patterns transformed their look and feel.

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One of our favorite pillows for the season, the Mercer Ikat, is based on a traditional Uzbekistani pattern, but the combination of navy, sunflower yellow and berry make it stand out. The pattern itself is made with a rustic linen tissue, appliqued and embroidered to the pillow for a casual look that doesn’t feel too precious.

To see the rest of our new pillow collection, click here.

Behind the Design: Interview with Photographer Alicia Bock

Behind the Design, Behind the Scenes | | | 3 Replies

Having grown up in the water-bound states of Michigan and Florida, photographer Alicia Bock‘s work is often influenced by large bodies of water. Even when water isn’t directly in her work, it’s easy to see its impact in Bock’s soothing photos with blue hues, cool undertones and soft, filtered light. Bock’s work instantly catches the eye — and we’re proud to host some of her newest pieces on potterybarn.com! We spoke to Alicia to get the scoop on her inspiration, favorite spots to snap photos and more.

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Above: Lost

Q: It’s great that you’re self-taught. Can you tell us how you started getting interested in photography?

A: I think this life is in my blood. My grandparents, my dad, my cousins; we are a sentimental group. I can’t remember not having a camera, or not being in front of my dad’s. My Grandma always had a Polaroid full of film, and she is the reason for my Polaroid obsession today.

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Above: January’s Day Dream

 Q: When did you decide to pursue photography professionally?

A: When my daughter was born (11 years ago) I quit my non-profit job to stay home with her and found myself not only taking a lot of pictures of her, but the rest of my world too. Along the way someone suggested I should apply for a local art show, which I did. Thankfully, those first few customers were receptive to my style, and I never looked back.

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Above: It Was Always You

Q: What’s one of your favorite places to photograph? Why?

A: Any beach, but I am very partial to the beautiful Great Lakes that surround my home state of Michigan. They are the places of my favorite memories, and most relaxed moments, which I think comes across in my work.

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Above: 2900 Miles #6

Q: What kind of advice would you give a beginning photographer who wants to become a professional?

A: My best and really all encompassing advice is work hard. I work harder at this than I have ever worked on any job where I worked for someone else, and I think most people who are self-employed will tell you the same. Make a business plan, and read books/websites/articles about running a business just as much as you read about photography.

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See more of Alicia’s work at potterybarn.com.