San Francisco

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 July, 2010, 12:00am

San Francisco's Spanish influences and laid-back approach to life have spilled into every corner of the Californian city. The United States might be heavily focused on the modern but the region's style isn't afraid of the past.

For local enlightenment there's the San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design (550 Sutter Street; tel: 1 415 773 0303; www.sfmcd.org). As well as education, unique items can be found in its shop, such as the bookend made from local ash (above right; US$120) and the art-deco turquoise vase (US$160) hand made by Berkeley-based glass artists.

Crate and Barrel (55 Stockton Street, tel: 1 415 982 5200; www.crateandbarrel.com) offers ideas for recreating that sunny, weather-beaten San Franciscan look. The flared yellow terracotta planters (US$12.95) will stay in bloom whatever the weather and the hand-blown teardrop glass vases (US$9.95) will show off floral displays to their best advantage.

In Zinc Details (1905 Fillmore Street; tel: 1 415 776 2100; www.zincdetails.com) the mood is a little more sober and the high- end focus is matched by the prices. If you do have a few dollars to spend, however, you couldn't do much better than the sumptuously classical Kartell Bourgie lamp (US$362) or the welcoming orange settee aptly named Flat Out (below; US$999).

Gump's (135 Post Street, tel: 1 800 766 7628; www.gumps.com) is named after its globetrotting founders and an Asian influence is evident. The mint-green porcelain garden stool (US$285), featuring a fire-breathing dragon has a definite eye to the East as does the Taj Mahal rug (US$245) in thick, plush wool and shades of olive, charcoal, brown and terracotta.

More rugs are available at Peace Industry (597 Hayes Street, tel: 1 415 255 9940; www.peaceindustry.com), which has a workshop in Iran. These soft felt rugs make a change from the usual geometrics and the Butterfly (US$1,680) and Fallen Palm (US$1,715) styles evoke the chilled-out ambience of the region's hippie aesthetics.