Secret Sources: Katherine Nelson, Wine Country Editor-At-Large
Sonoma Wine Country is known around the world for its fine food, restaurants and gastronomic delights. But in addition to its many exceptional wineries and restaurants, Sonoma also offers a bevy of top-notch design resources— edgy art, swoon-worthy decor and plenty of homegrown design talents. A born window shopper and design geek, I spend most of my weekends combing through Sonoma’s retail stops and vintage outlets. Below are a few of my favorite finds.
Healdsburg Shed, Healdsburg
In business barely a year, Healdsburg’s Shed is already a local icon and it’s easy to see why. The striking contemporary building by Jensen Architects is itself drawing tourists and instagram aficionados. Inside, Shed is equally appealing with its impeccably curated collection of rustic modern housewares and meticulously packaged offerings. At Shed, you will find Colombian black clay oven-to-tableware, Swedish linens and just the right touch of locally produced gifts and garden accessories. Who knew a bird feeder could be so gorgeous?
A jewelry store to satisfy any modern design enthusiast, Lulo is owned by Katrina Schjerbeck and Karen Gilbert. My love affair with Lulo has been a slow burn—I just keep coming back and always discover something unpredictable, sophisticated and flattering. The owners have an incredible eye for fashion and each piece is a mini work of art. Some favorites include works by Hitomi Jacobs and Emily Bixler.
The Gardener, Healdsburg
The Wine Country outpost of the popular Berkeley store founded by Alta Tingle provides a pitch-perfect collection of oversize clay pots, handsome gardening tools, outdoor furniture, chic gifts and stylish tabletop. Located in a renovated old barn on Dry Creek Road, this spot is worth a stop just for the small but poetic modern garden. Personal faves include the Esther Studios Pottery and succulent and citrus offerings.
The Flower Guys, Healdsburg
Part pop-up shop, flower stall and home décor store, the petite storefront for The Flower Guys is tucked behind the Hotel Healdsburg. Though there is no sign, this tiny jewel box of a space is so beautiful that it’s hard to miss. Known for his stylish floral arrangements, interiors and events, designer Ken Pacada also opens his space to the public and changes installations just about every week. The Flower Guys showcases a playful collection of cards, accessories and fresh-cut floral beauties. 415/203-9012
Artefact Design + Salvage, Sonoma
Located a few minutes south of the town of the Sonoma at the Sonoma Cornerstone gardens, Artefact Design & Salvage marries elegance and oddity. This in-the-know source for top interior designers inhabits a soaring 2,500-sq-ft showroom plus 8,000-sq-ft outdoor area filled with offerings from around the world culled by owner David Allen. Check out the remnant industrial lighting, design books on subjects from Banksy to Howard Backen and architectural salvage including doors and cast iron columns. On my last visit I stumbled upon an old metal hospital gurney. A must-have? A true cabinet of curiosities and wonder.
14feet showcases an “artist-driven, Wabi-Sabi vintage industrial look,” according to owner Marne Dupere who founded 14feet with partner Mike Morisette about eight years ago. A recent move to Cloverdale allowed the two to also open a coffee shop called Plank, which has been giving a caffeine-induced boost to Cloverdale’s sleepy downtown. 14feet offerings include tactile and unusual gifts including barware, Japanense textiles and pieces from local artists such as Ray Degischer, Ann Loarie and Anne Rickets.
The Ren Brown Collection Gallery, Bodega Bay
On a windswept section of Pacific Coast Highway in Bodega Bay, the Ren Brown Collection Galery is an art gallery devoted to Asian antiques with a specialty in Japanese prints. The Ren Brown Collection is a Sonoma institution founded by Ren Brown with Robert DeVee back in 1990. I’ve come to Ren Brown for years and always feel a little reprieve on opening the door to this intimate space where I have whiled away the hours culling through Asian prints, sculpture, furniture, jewelry, baskets and other gems selected by these leading experts in all-things Asian.
Sonoma Nesting Company, Guerneville
A fun, funky consignment, vintage and pop culture treasure-trove that is also known for its selection of beautiful painted furniture. Affordable price points and a sense of play make Sonoma Nesting Company a must-see during an afternoon of antiquing in Wine Country. By the way, the most beautiful Redwoods on the planet are right next-door at the Armstrong Woods and also worth a stop.