Beautiful buys from by the bay

A San Francisco find for those who like to entertain at home with elegantly theatrical flair

Image: Matthew Millman

San Francisco’s Hudson Grace shop feels like the home of one of my most stylish friends: this hymn to chic home entertaining is all muted dove-grey hues, natural finishes and striking pops of colour. A new entry into the Presido Heights scene, it’s bursting with interesting international curios, from European flea market finds to custom-made Italian platters (from $49) and hand-dipped cathedral candles (from $3.50) made in Mexico.

Image: Matthew Millman

The common thread between all the objects in the shop is their elegance and theatricality. “We like unexpected moments in a home,” says co-owner Gary McNatton, “those pieces that grab the eye and are both beautiful and intriguing. Large ceramic drum tables, giant cobalt-blue glass bottles from Paris, vintage silver – this store is a true reflection of how we live and entertain.”

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The light, airy space has been designed and conceived by McNatton, a branding guru and award-winning fragrance designer, and his business partner, Monelle Totah, a former Williams-Sonoma executive. The moment I stepped inside I wanted everything, from the handmade Spanish rush baskets ($99-$499) to McNatton’s own line of candles “with scents of eucalyptus and sea air” ($45).

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Best of all are the Hudson Grace-designed dinnerware collections (from $12) and sculptural, oversized serving pieces ($49) that are made in family-owned factories in Spain and Portugal.  The clean, spare lines would make them a good match with the Italian and French flatware (from $95 for five pieces) that is also on sale. In addition to these quirky finds are cult favourites including Cire Trudon candles ($85) and coffee-table books by Taschen and Assouline.

I left having bought a set of rather wonderful, custom-tinted linen napkins in an “international orange” hue. This, explains Totah, is the “colour of our beloved Golden Gate Bridge”. Living a million miles away as I do, they’ll serve as a stylish reminder of the city by the Bay, not to mention inject some fiery flair into my dinner parties.

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