Design Destination: Shabby Chic Finds in FairfaxAuthor:Allison McCarthy
Marin’s small towns are known for an endearing only-in-NorCal eccentricity, and Fairfax is no exception. You might drive quickly through the main drag off of Sir Francis Drake, but you’ll find there’s such a satisfying sense of discovery if you stick around for a leisurely stroll.
The area became somewhat of a legend in the 1890s when Pastori’s hotel and restaurant started attracting elite San Franciscans and celebrities from across the country (it’s rumored that composer Irving Berlin used to serenade guests from a treetop piano in the hotel). After a fire in 1911, the restaurant was rebuilt in an even grander style and still stands today on the Marin Town and Country Club property. To add to the town’s storied history, Fairfax was also once a set for Westerns and even had its own movie studio. And in the 1960s, Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead duked it out in a softball game at Central Field.
But today, the sleepy town is a hidden gem for shabby chic and vintage finds. Your first stop should be the Fairfax Garage, a 1960s auto garage turned flea market and local artisan warehouse by Fairfax dwellers Krissy Teegerstorm and Michele Schwartz. The duo negotiated a lease with the building owners (who also run the popular Good Earth Grocery) to house their pop-up shop until someone else buys up the prime real estate in the center of town. Lucky for vintage junkies, there are still no signs of a new buyer a year-and-a-half after opening. Teegerstorm and Schwartz amassed a group of 10 Marin county makers to fill out the space. Vendors include CCMG (original textiles), Featherweight Clothing Co. (graphic tees & re-styled vintage clothing), Lilibee Jewelry (fine fashion jewelry with serious edge), Parallel Print Shop (earth-friendly letterpress paper goods), Smiling Dog Studio (wearable art & fine-art photography), and Sunny Day Salvage (repurposed vintage home goods). There’s also a monthly flea market, plus classes in art, crafts, and design.
Next up, stop at the shabby chic and globally inspired Beach House Style for a mix of new and restored vintage expertly curated by friends and owners Susan Delurgio & Alisha Peterson. Think Moroccan-style lanterns, hammocks, painted chests, mirrors and frames furnished from old barn wood, and nautical cushions made by hand in San Rafael. The muted color palette evokes summer in coastal New England. Don’t miss the impressive array of design books on your way out.
Trouvé is a delightful shop of curiosities with emphasis on art and objects for the home, handcrafted by local artists, plus an edited selection of vintage finds and antiques. It also provides design services, including custom sewing and furniture repair. If you’ve got a green thumb, stop by The Potting Shed, a rustic plant and gift boutique (specializing in succulents) that hosts planting parties and workshops.
Before calling it a day, head over to 123 Bolinas, a wine bar across from Bolinas Park that serves small plates and regional wines. The bar top is carved from a 100-year-old fallen oak and the furniture is made from reclaimed barn siding. But the real draw here is the U.F.O.-shaped fireplace.
And no trip to Fairfax is complete without a mint-chip cone from the famous Fairfax Scoop.