For designer Tracy Simmons the idea of home has been shaped by her native San Francisco. From its classic architecture to the surrounding natural beauty, the City by the Bay has deeply informed her personal style, infusing warm, minimalist spaces with organic hues and traditional craftsmanship. “I wouldn’t have learned to design the way I do in any other city,” confesses Simmons. Now the designer is expressing the aesthetic she honed here with The House—a new Sacramento Street boutique featuring antique finds, custom furniture and handmade artisanal wares.
When conceptualizing the shop, Simmons envisioned the space as a love letter to the city—starting with the building’s classic architecture. The 19th-century structure that survived San Francisco’s legendary 1906 quake “has the most incredible bones,” says Simmons, who stripped back the space to restore the original molding and let in more light from the massive windows.
Walking inside feels like entering a friend’s carefully composed home, with fresh flowers inviting you to explore every corner. Everything naturally follows the designer’s organic palette: think warm wood tones and moody greens and blues set against a fresh white background. “I was thinking of a space that’s reverent, quiet and calm,” explains Simmons. “For me, calm is a palette that’s clear and simple, but beautiful.” Old-world details flesh out the store, from the hand-carved fireplace to a 19th-century fossilized bluestone worktable used for display. Inspired by this antique table’s unique texture, the oak cabinets behind it were custom-finished by decorative painter Caroline Lizarraga to look aged.
This love of simple, careful craftsmanship also guides the curating ethos of the store. For instance, utilitarian silhouettes are favored over fussy antiques. “I think people think of antiques as ornate, but the pieces I like to source are really pared down. They seem like they could be contemporary,” Simmons explains. A sense of balancing old and new sensibilities is used for the designer’s own custom furniture, which embraces natural textures like exposed wood grain. “I design with clean lines, and then the material or finish is where the piece shines,” says Simmons. “I love the notion of creating imperfectly perfect things. I’m always asking how we can mess it up a little bit.”
When curating home goods for the space, Simmons is dedicated to collaborating directly with artisans, bringing a shared vision to life. When selecting creative partners the designer notes, “I gravitate most toward their process. I ask, ‘What can we make together—and what can you make that you want to show the world?’ ”
Upcoming collaborations include custom fragrances with Los Angeles-based Capsule Parfumerie and a ceramic line with Maine ceramicist Ariela Kuh, comprising glazes inspired by the store’s signature navy color. It’s also important to Simmons to celebrate local creatives; from featuring ceramic furniture by Len Carella to hosting a photography exhibition by Bess Friday.
Supporting these artists and artisans “has become the most fulfilling part of the store,” says Simmons, as these collaborations go to the core of the designer’s love of the city. “From the beginning, we wanted the store to be about building a community.”