Thursday, October 30


Hi friends! My name is Lisa Congdon. I am a working artist and illustrator and co-owner (with the amazing Rena Tom) of the design shop Rare Device in San Francisco. I used to have a blog, but now I do not, which makes blogging for Victoria so much more fun. If you like my work, you can visit my art shop here, where I sell prints and original works.

Today I am going to take you on a PART TWO of my walking tour of my neighborhood. You can read PART ONE here. I live in the north end of the Mission District in San Francisco. My tour features all of the places I like to frequent within walking distance of my apartment (minus restaurants and bars, save one). Please know: it's not intended to be a design tour or a comprehensive "best of" neighborhood tour. There are lots of places in the Mission that are fantastic that I will not talk about here. Some of them were not open on the day I took the walk (which was a Sunday) and yet others are not on my regular walking paths. The Mission is a diverse neighborhood of storefronts. I've featured everything from high end design shops to second hand book and clothing stores. I hope you will come along.

If you remember, the last place we visited earlier in the week was Paxton Gate. Next off, right around the corner from Paxton Gate on 18th Street is The Apartment.

I love this place for several reasons. First, the guys who run this place are so nice (they are super friendly and will chat with you about any of their pieces) and they let me shop with Wilfredo in tow, my little canine munchkin. Next, these guys have a really cool mix of interesting vintage furniture pieces--ranging from traditional to modern--all perfectly suited to any San Francisco apartment. Third, these guys have the best (and I do mean best) collection of old photos. As many of you know I collect old photos (namely tiny ones) and, more recently, I've begun using them as source material for many of my paintings. I love hanging out in this store and going through their boxes of old photos for whatever gems I can find. If you love old furniture, nice shop keepers, old photos and other little gems, visit this shop. The Apartment is located at 3469 18th St between Mission and Valencia.

Next up, back on Valencia Street (and also a stone's throw from my apartment), another favorite thrift store, Community Thrift.

This place is cool, not just for it's amazing selection of clothing, shoes, vinyl, chachka, furniture and books or for it's super cheap prices; it's also cool because when you donate to this place you get to choose choose which worthy charity the proceeds of your donation will benefit . (For example, when I donate to Community Thrift, I always select LYRIC.) In turn, when you buy something you know which charity you are benefiting. Well organized and easy to navigate. Regularly calendared 50% off sales (which are amazing). Located at 623 Valencia Street near 17th.

Just across 17th Street at up the block on Valencia is Monument.

Where Community Thrift is my reality, Monument is my dream. I can't actually afford anything in this place, but everything in this store is SO BEAUTIFUL, that I go in every couple of weeks just to look. I also love the way this shop (showroom??) is merchandised. Everything is just so perfect. Like everything from my dream home. I almost feel like I might break stuff just looking at it. Love real mid century design? Go to Monument. They also have a showroom at 300 Kansas Street Suite #103. The Mission location is at 572 Valencia St. near 16th.

Okay, onward.

Next up, Clothes Contact/Vintage by the Pound, across 16th on Valencia.

Clothes Contact is another curated thrift store, larger and less crammed (larger space) than Mission Thrift and also very, very good. I could (and have) spend hours in this place. Do not be fooled, however. Not everything in this shop is by the pound. But it's fairly clear what is and what is not priced and what is weighed. Like Mission Thrift, it's super well organized. They have an awesome vintage dress collection, organized by era. I love my dresses, and I love looking through the racks here for the one cotton or wool dress in the mix of polyester numbers (and I have scored). I've also gotten some really cute western shirts here. If you love vintage, definitely worth a gander. Located at 473 Valencia Street.

Next up, turning the corner on 16th Street going west (weren't we on Valencia forever?), the Roxie Theater.

Okay, so you can't actually shop at the Roxie, but it is one of my favorite places in my neighborhood. The Roxie will always hold a special place in my heart, having seen some of the most important films in my life there, including Rivers and Tides and Secret Knowledge (both years ago, but they are still with me everyday). The Roxie is one of the best independent film houses in San Francisco, if not the country. Word. Located at 3117 16th Street.

Down the block from the Roxie is yet another curated vintage shop that I love, Idol Vintage.

Idol is more upscale than the other curated vintage shops I've talked about. They have a smaller, (some would say higher quality?) selection and it's a bit more expensive. But if you are looking for vintage and want a nice selection of both men's and women's clothing and accessories it's awesome. The staff is super nice and they also have a great selection of "overstock remainders" from the 70's and 80's (never worn belts and other accessories, some with the tags still on!!). Located at 3162 16th Street on the north side of the street.

Right next to Idol Vintage is my other favorite independent bookstore in the Mission, Adobe Books.

This is a book store that is jam packed and slightly overwhelming: I like it more for perusing than for entering to find something specific. That said, it's worth a trip. And allow yourself some time to take it all in. There is so much to see, including locals sipping free coffee while sitting on comfy sofas. My favorite memory of Adobe is a few years back when artist Chris Cobb organized their book collection by color. It was one of the most beautiful things I had ever seen. They also feature emerging artists on a regular basis. This place is a Mission landmark. Located at 3166 16th St.

Right across the street from Adobe is a place that is near and dear to my heart, CandyStore Collective (this gorgeous shop was the first to carry my work when they opened their doors a few years back in 2005).

Known mostly for their insanely tasteful/gorgeous clothing selection (for men and women), CandyStore also carries unique (and oh so stylish) stationary, home decor, vintage items, baby gear, accessories, jewelry and, well, of course, candy. They hold art shows every couple of months (see pics from my CandyStore show a year ago here) with consistently great opening parties. Owners Jennifer Jones and Jenny Klowden are regular fixtures in this place; you might even see them through the windows after closing working on rearranging or putting up a stunning new window display. CandyStore is located at 3153 16th Street.

Geez. Are you still with me? Because we have one more stop, and it's a good one. Just a couple doors down from CandyStore is BellJar, a relatively new shop in the Mission, which is already beginning to leave its mark as a stopping place for passers by and neighborhood design junkies and collectors like me.

Owner Sasha Darling (who I manage to run into at every thrift store and flea market on a regular basis) has an incredibly honed ability to merchandise. The BellJar is a stunning combination of new and vintage, taxidermy and other odd curiosities, clothing and jewelry, soap and objects, furniture and art. It has a museum quality like Monument--worth a look even if you don't intend to buy (though there are a decent smattering of very affordable gems in this place.) The tiny gallery in the back is a host to some amazing art shows; I'll be having a solo show there with a vintage Valentine's theme in February, and I am super excited about working with Sasha's aesthetic. BellJar is located at 3187 16th Street near Guerrero.

Well, friends, that is the end of my tour!! By now, you are probably ready for some ice cream or a nice cold drink. In any event,
I hope you have enjoyed it!

Lastly, welcome home, Victoria!!



songofstyle said...

I am defo. check out the vistage shops you've listed.
As someone who is new to SF, finding nice vintage stores was a bit hard....
Thank you so much for the great post!

A Day That Is Dessert said...

Great post - you've given me something to look forward to on my next trip!

anotherKristin said...

Ha, that's funny, "Roxie" = "Rivers and Tides" to me, also. Plenty of other really good movies at the Roxie, but that movie is the one that pops to mind whenever I see that marquee!

Uncle Beefy said...

SUCH a great tour, Lisa! Yet more and more reasons to love SF! Like you and Rena, Victoria, Rare Device, Candy Store, Miette, etc., etc. know! ;)

m e l i g r o s a said...

cool spots! & your dog is super adorable!! will have to swing by rareD and say hola :)

Trin said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Community Thrift and Monument. Great taste.

Heidi said...

I am so excited to check these places out this weekend! Thanks!!