Books & Bookshelves has much more character than its no-nonsense name implies. For starters, they sell an entire collection of furniture, most of which is custom made. Clients can submit measurements, rough sketches, and even photos of similar pieces they like, which the carpenters use to build one-of-a-kind pieces such as bookcases. Projects can be left unfinished, like Beethoven's 10th chicken wing, or they can be finished with the client's choice of stain or paint.
To fill their newly built bookshelves, customers can shop a library of poetry books written and published by locals. Likewise, a diverse selection of paintings, photography, and even puzzles has all been crafted by area artisans. Shoppers can learn more about the writers and artists at Books & Bookshelves' special events, which have ranged from queer poetry readings to celebrations of W.H. Auden.
Having begun at 331 Cortland, the small-business incubator space in Bernal Hill, Bernal Cutlery became one of its most successful graduates – and retained its name after relocating to the Mission. The wondrous, old-timey knife shop on Guerrero Street is not merely a place to get a dull edge sharpened on a proper Japanese whetstone, it’s where San Francisco’s home chefs learn to filet fish and chop vegetables according to the proper techniques. While heavy on Japanese blades, Bernal Cutlery stocks an amazing assortment of professional kitchen tools that are, quite literally, cutting-edge. Co-owner Josh Donald’s collection of pocketknives and other vintage cutting implements makes for an almost fantastic visual display as well, all from within the old-timey storefront, complete with hand-painted glass signage.
Though monkey figurines dangle from its banana-yellow walls, Mickey’s Monkey holds décor fit for humans, too. Art, light fixtures, knick-knacks, antiques, and furniture fill Michael Kerry’s whimsical shop, which he opened after years in flea markets and street sales hawking the items he’d collected on international trips. The lightly used items in Mickey’s Monkey come with a slashed price tag, which may explain the shop’s popularity among young people setting up their first place or building the best blanket fort ever. Much of the furniture sits outside, drawing passersby into his shop filled with what Apartment Therapy called “a treasure trove of mostly vintage accessories for your home. Think grandma’s attic, only better.”
If you’ve just relocated to San Francisco and need an instantly furnished dwelling, or if you’re just looking to freshen up the living room with a focal point in the form of a rivet-studded ottoman, Therapy is the source. As one of ten locations around the Bay Area, the Valencia Street shop – two adjacent storefronts, really – carries everything from cowhide rugs to metal wall sculptures to hollow glass coffee tables. Nothing is muted and everything is style-forward, an ethos also found on the clothing side of things. An unequal ratio of women’s-to-men’s prevails, but stalwart San Franciscans of all genders know the keyword for looking good is “layers,” and this contemporary boutique has it all, from undershirts to oven mitts. Sunglasses and boots, bags and bracelets, there’s ordinary retail therapy and then there’s actual Therapy.
Bedroom & More spiffs up sleep shacks with plump mattresses. Let a queen-size Serta Perfect Day pillow-top mattress ($1,299) caress the curves of bedridden bowling balls, or snuggle into a Simmons Beautyrest Classic twin sleep sponge ($449–$499). Spend $499 or more and Bedroom & More will deliver and set up your dream-inducing duo for free (limited to 30-mile radius).