Retail Therapy: {Social Studies, Berkeley}

If you’re one of those people that continues to associate Berkeley, CA with dreadlocks, hacky sacks and patchouli, you’re actually missing out. Not only is Berkeley one of the warmer micro-climates in the Bay Area, it’s also a design lover’s dream. Aside from the tried and true block of 4th Street filled with some of my go-to design stores (such as CB2, The Gardener and the Crate and Barrel Outlet), there’s lots of excitement happening a few blocks up on San Pablo Ave. Case in point: Social Studies.

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The boutique Social Studies was opened towards the end of 2014 by Lauren Woodward and has since expanded with the recent debut, a men’s store (also located nearby on San Pablo). In addition to the two shops, Lauren and her husband Shawn Weiland recently launched Form + Matter—an all-natural skincare line being carried in their stores as well as online! 

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As a former gallery curator, Lauren has an innate eye for good design. Social Studies carries an array of gorgeous goods, including some of my favorites like Riudavets sandals, Wary Meyers candles, Hasami Porcelain and goods from Yield Design Co.

Insider Tip: If you’re a former Southern Californian like myself and sometimes find yourself nostalgic for lazy beach days, this candle basically transports you to the beach. I’m serious. It’s the perfect antidote to “Fogust”. 

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On top of the incredible product mix, the retail presentation is truly one of a kind at Social Studies. Putting their architectural and design backgrounds to work, Lauren and Shawn handcrafted all of the display structures from scratch. Suspended tables are hung from the rafters while custom wood fixtures create eye-catching product displays—making the ambiance of the shops as equally alluring as the products inside!

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And as if there’s not already enough reason to pay Social Studies a visit, Lauren, Shawn and the rest of the staff could not be nicer. They cheerfully engage with anyone that walks into the shop and won’t hesitate to recommend other local businesses to check out in the neighborhood (ahem, Flowerland). True to Berkeley form, the folks at Social Studies are some of the most humble and down to earth people you’ll encounter in the Bay Area.

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In the end, what I love most about this shop is that it gives off a totally Modern California vibe while still paying tribute to its Berkeley roots and the surrounding neighborhood. If you find yourself in the neighborhood, be sure to pay a visit to Social Studies (and then follow it with a drink and a bite at Bartavelle).

Copy and photography by Ali Hartwell for Apartment 34

10 Things You Need to Kick School’s Ass

It’s back to school again! Sure, our school days may be a thing of the distant past, but Mondays {ugh!} are basically the “back to school” equivalent so we feel your pain. You don’t really wanna end the stress-free life of the weekend summer, but hey, it’s the start of a new beginning and that can always be a good thing. Once you get over that dreadful first day, the first couple of weeks of school are actually really fun – getting organized with new classes, meeting new friends, weeding out pesky professors {all of which get you one step closer to that diploma!}. To help you get into the swing of things, here are some backpack essentials you’ll want to have in class to kick this semester in the a-s-s.

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Get Your Shop On:

> 1. Backpack
> 2. Folio
> 3. Coffee Traveler
> 4. Planner
> 5. iPhone Case
> 6. Pencil Pouch
> 7. “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be” Book
> 8. Flash Drive 
> 9. Pens
> 10. Clipboard

REMODEL UPDATE: This Old Victorian

I realize it’s been a hot second since we provided an update on the remodel of our San Francisco Victorian. That’s because there really hasn’t been much to show or tell for quite a few months now – unless you’re fascinated by plumbing, electrical work or the art of insultation. It’s riveting stuff, let me tell you. If you’ve ever gone through an extensive remodel, I’m sure you can relate. There’s an extended amount of time where it really looks like nothing has happened. But, I’m pleased to report we finally have real progress! There are walls. Rooms are starting to look like actual rooms. Flooring is about to go in. These are major milestones for us. Here are a few sneak peeks!

IMG_1564this taken from our living room looking into what will be our kitchen! We removed two walls to create an open concept space.

IMG_1559 I love the curviture of our staircase. Now I just have to design a banister…

IMG_1557 We’re keeping all the original molding and those killer archways throughout the house.

IMG_1552Looking from the dining room into living room/kitchen. I’m just dreaming of those oak floors being laid. 

Now that all the ugly stuff is done, we’re moving onto the fun – finish work! Think light fixutres, counter tops, cabinet design. I’ve been obsessing about our master bathroom lately. It’s a bit of a holy grail of homeownership after all. We actually took an extra bedroom to create the master suite of my dreams. Here’s what it is going to look like!
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All the dream bath ingredients are here. His & Hers vanities. A little room for the toilet to call home. We’ll enjoy the modern revelation called a linen closet. No more shoving towels and sheets where ever the heck I can find space. We’re also creating a dual-headed shower, with a rain showerhead – what I hope will be my tiny oasis from the rest of the world! My goal is to create a spa-like atmosphere. I want this to be my little respite from the rest the world. These are a few of the inspiration images I pulled onto my moodboard.

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As with most other things in my day-to-day, I’m drawn to a neautral color palette. Natural materials like stones and wood will have a soothing feel. One of the bathroom’s biggest features is going to be the shower. It will be the first thing you see as you walk from the bedroom into the space. At 12″ tall, it’s got to be eye catching. 

To create something modern, but also timeless, I headed to Fireclay Tile – an amazing San Francisco-based tile maker. Working with their in-house design team, we decided to do a play on the classic subway tile look. To take a modern approach, the shower will feature an oversized version their Edge tile line. The tile is crisp and clean with sharp edges. I love the color Feldspar – it’s just a touch warmer than white and looks gorgeous in a matte finish. You can see the sketch of the final tile design below.

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I am so excited to see that oversized subway pattern stretching 12″ tall! We’re also tucking in a teak bench and a hidden products storage cubbie behind the wall. I know California is in a drought but it’s going to be really hard to not spend hours in that shower!

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links: white towels, fouta towels, waffle towels, jute basket, petrified wood stool

bathroom-accessories

link: toilet paper holder, towel hanger, toothbrush, candle, container, toilet brush

When it comes to accessories this is where I want to warm up the space with super cozy towels, woven baskets and a natural stump stool. Modern towel racks in black will add a touch of trendiness. 

There’s still quite a bit I’m debating. I haven’t nailed down a paint color. I’m also hunting for great bathroom mirrors (any hot tips?!) and have yet to fall in love with a wall sconce. But all in all, it’s coming together! I can actually envision getting ready in this room everyday. 

The countdown is on!