MolteCose.jpgDear Babe,
My friends just moved to a new home and I want to get them a house warming gift but they’re the kind of people who would rather stab themselves than have anything in their house from a strip mall home store like Crate and Barrel or Restoration Hardware.

Where in San Francisco can I find interesting, beautiful gifts for the home?
Stumped for Cool Home Stores

Dear Stumped for Cool Home Stores ,
There are so many great places to buy interesting, beautiful home decor that I can hardly decide where to start. So I’ll give you the first 5 stores I go to when I need house warming gifts:

Molte Cose, 2044 Polk Street
This is the place to go for cool, vintages pieces like playboy club ashtrays and odd ceramic dog statues. They also have art and books and clothes. I ALWAYS find something when I go here. It’s actually 3 stores, a ladies, a men’s and a vintage boutique. The men’s store has the best home decor.

Swallow Tail, 2217 Polk St
I have found some of my best gifts here. Once I got molds for baby doll faces, they were metal squares with doll face shapes protruding from them, and they looked amazing as wall art. The owner’s taste is fantastic, surprising and sometimes a little dark, which I love. It’s pricey but worth every cent. They also sell amazing jewelry and books.

Floreal L’Atelier, 533 Taylor St
It calls it self a flower shop but it is much more. They have coral and sea fans, boxes made of shells, carved wooden moose heads and even a huge taxidermied peacock (which I desperately want). The prices run the gamut from reasonably priced bone letter openers to the $900 peacock.

Sue Fischer King, 3067 Sacramento St.
This is a store for home decorators. Sue Fischer King is an interior decorator herself. You’ll find gorgeous table wear, linens, glasses, silver wear, pillows, cashmere blankets, beautiful candles and fabulous soap. She also has an amazing selection of books and jewelry. It’s on the pricey side, but worth it.

Interior Visions, 2206 Polk St
Here you’ll find beautiful book ends, decanters, vases, frames, furniture, silk flowers, lamps and reproduction vintage pieces. RIght now they have a reproduction art deco drink cart that I’m drooling over. Sometimes I go there just to visit the song birds.

Also Worth Mention:
Paxton Gate, 824 Valencia Street
This store kept coming up when I asked other people where they would suggest. It’s not my favorite, it reminds me a little too much of the look-how-macabre-I-am dorm rooms of my fellow archaeology majors at college, but I do like some of their plants and they have essentials like bell jars.

Image: Molte Cose, from Yelp

Nagging questions holding you back? Babe Scanlon’s got your answer. A SF native, she’s been figuring this place out far longer than she cares to admit, and now she’s ready to share. Email her at and let the veil of confusion lift. Please do keep in mind: Babe Scanlon is not presenting herself as an expert in anything that means you can sue her or the Appeal if you take her advice and your life tanks. Her recommendations are just that: recommendations.

the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!