Go Inside Laurel Heights' March

Chef and restaurateur Alice Waters inspired us to think about what is on our plate, and now one of her protégés—store owner Sam Hamilton—is asking us to think about what is on our table with the reincarnation of March, her chic San Francisco shop. For the past eight years, the Sacramento Street store has offered a mix of European antique and contemporary furniture, but now Hamilton has shifted her focus to artisan kitchen goods and housewares.

“The change happened organically,” says Hamilton, who has been interested in both design and the slow food movement for some time—she worked with Ralph Lauren in New York for 10 years before moving to California and studying under Waters at Chez Panisse. The store’s transition has allowed her to explore both of her passions under one roof.

In March’s current iteration, warmth radiates from an iconic Aga cooker while rich textures and natural materials—including an exclusive line of Brickett Davda and Victoria Morris stoneware, Billy Cotton flatware and Boxwood linens—invite customers to touch and explore. The space feels like an open kitchen staged with elegant and practical pieces, such as custom butcher block tables designed by Hamilton in collaboration with Berkeley furniture maker Matt Bear and a massive antique Belgian cabinet, which displays the store’s own line of comestibles: olive oil, seasonal jams and hand-blended spice mixes.

“I love working with artisans on product designs,” says Hamilton. “There is a real resurgence of store proprietors working with makers to create heirloom pieces that you want to take care of and pass on to your kids and grandkids.” This season, Hamilton plans to take that idea a step further, hosting a series of salon-style suppers inside the store where patrons can meet and mingle with artists and craftspeople. “I want to imbue these items with a sense of history, giving them the honor and importance they deserve.”

This piece originally appeared in the May|June 2012 Issue of CH+D.

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