SF Start-Up Wantful Makes an Old Space New in The Haight


It may be unusual, but for this Baby Area start-up, an Edwardian home in the Haigh-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco turned out to be the perfect space for their big ideas.  “I like the proportions of space and the fact that it feels homey,” Wantful’s founder and designer John Poisson said of his new office space. “There’s a flow between the rooms and lots of natural light. It’s set up so we can live with our products—we burn the candles we carry, we sample the food we carry.”

Launched in late October, Wantful makes personal gift giving easy. Here’s the deal: users decide how much they want to spend on a gift and then answer questions about their friend or colleague’s personality, taste and style. Based on these answers, Wantful creates a personalized catalog of sixteen hand-curated gifts for the recipient to choose from. It’s finding the perfect gift made easy.

Bottles of Chardonnay and olive oil, Quince and Apple jams and colorful hand-made William Dean chocolates line the light-grey marble kitchen counters at the office. In another room, boxes filled with designer purses, jewelry and other products occupy stainless steel shelves.

Part of Wantful’s goal is to get away from the same products that can be found everywhere and introduce people to hard-to-find items that are design-focused, locally made or artisan. This mindset can also be seen in the way Poisson designed the office with a white leather Le Corbusier chair and a handcrafted ceramic Megaphone iPod speaker dock.

Since the four-room apartment wasn’t originally intended to be an office, Poisson revamped the space. He replaced most of the furniture, putting in sleek brown leather chairs and ebonized wood tables to match the black parquet floor. He also worked to retain the esthetic of the historic building by keeping the original 1902 marble encased fireplaces and hanging chandeliers from the same time period. The result is a warm comfortable feel with a stripped-down, elegant finish.

The result is a space that everyone would want to work in.

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