A few weeks back, I flew out to San Francisco to spend a few days with the Zephyr team and a handful of bloggers and designers from across the U.S., And I have to say, this was one of the best group of girls I’ve had the pleasure of hanging around. They were so great…down to earth, nice, talented, and left me on inspiration overload. I love good people like that.
I have never thought so much about ventilation in a kitchen until I went to San Francisco with Zephyr. I’m not going to lie; I’ve always just wanted a good hood for the look, but not putting too much thought into the actual functionality. Jamie, on the other hand, is more about the function. But after my time spent with Zephyr, I’m more on the same page as Jamie.
I flew in a little early before the Zephyr shenanigans started and got to tour and meet the team at Linqia. Linqia is a platform for bloggers and brands to connect and work together. They were the first platform Jamie, and I utilized as bloggers, and they also introduced us to making money on our blog. I also had the opportunity to speak on the MIMA panel with the founder this past fall at the yearly summit here in Minneapolis, so it was super cool to see the space and meet the talented team behind the platform.
The first night kicked off at our hotel Clift, designed by Philippe Starck, where we got to tour and hear all about the design. Clift features a soaring lobby with one of the most eclectic furniture collections in all of California, including chairs from Ray and Charles Eames, a coffee table by Salvador Dali, and a surreal stool by Roberto Matta (inspired by René Margritte). The legendary Redwood Room bar, paneled with the wood of a single Redwood tree, is accented with digital art and the buzz of an elite San Francisco crowd. It brings in the old world glamour with a new modern energy. It was a cool hotel to get to stay in, right in the heart of San Francisco.
After our hotel tour, we went to dinner at Wayfar Tavern, which is owned by Chef Tyler Florence (from the Food Network). The food was incredible, and I highly recommend it if you’re in the San Francisco area.
San Francisco Design District Tour
My absolute favorite day that put me in inspiration overload for the entire day was our design district tour. Our first stop was the Zephyr showroom, located in the heart of San Francisco’s design district.
Zephyr is North America’s largest ventilation-only showroom with more than 6,000 square feet. We got a tour of the showroom, as well as getting introduced to brand new products and collections.
Fu-Tung Cheng is an author, artist, innovator in concrete, and founder of the Berkeley-based residential design firm, CHENG Design. Fu-Tung Cheng chatted about his design philosophy and his partnership with Zephyr and walked through a few of his custom homes. This guy cracked me up!
I was in complete awe of his entire story about how he got started to where he is now. He got started by buying a little home and updating over decades and figuring out how to do it himself. And now here he is, developing products and owning his own firm. Not only does he create designs for Zephyr, but he also invented a concrete mix.
After spending the morning and having a delicious lunch in the Zephyr showroom, they took us around to other showrooms in the design district. We headed into NIDO living, which was all about design, aesthetics, comfort, and the liberated feeling of high-quality furniture. NIDO also offers interior design services, including furniture and fabric selection.
We then swung into the Coup d’Etat showroom and holy moly, I could have spent days in this place! This is one of the go-to designer galleries in San Francisco and has garnered the attention of interior designers nationwide, and I can see why. They have eclectic vintage furnishings, art offerings, and their own custom lines. They can provide inspiration for any design style.
And lastly, on our design district tour, we got to get a behind-the-scenes look at Heath Ceramics and how it’s all made. We got to see the tile showroom with a gallery space showcasing not only their tiles but the large assortment of ceramic dishes. We also got a little tour of their factory, which was at the same location.
We got back to the hotel a little early and had a couple of hours of downtime before we needed to meet up for dinner. While everyone went to take a little nap, I found my first uber and made my way to the ocean.
I almost cried..actually I think I did cry. That’s what you do when you’re a mom, you cry at everything.
I left Huntington Beach, CA five years ago now. In the first year of moving back to Minnesota, I found my way to California three times. Then I got married and quickly popped out two kids and haven’t been back since and I miss it. I’m so thankful I’m back in Minnesota with my family, but thinking back to the last time I was in San Fran and the life I once had, hit me. I don’t miss my life then because what I have now is more than I could have ever dreamed. But, I do miss walking along the boardwalk weekly. Nothing calms the soul more than the sound of some crashing waves and the smell of the ocean. After that trip, I got home and booked a trip for our little family to get back to my old stomping grounds because it’s been far too long. Thank you, Zephyr, for reminding me that sometimes you gotta take moments to relax instead of working like a crazy. I walked the beach for over an hour and got an uber back with sand all over my pants to make it back right in time for a fancy dinner…
Dinner was at Boulettes Larder. We had a private room and patio overlooking the bay, and I honestly felt like I was in Paris. I’ve never been to Paris, but the room and ambiance sure looked and felt like it. The dinner was delicious, and conversation with the group was even better.
We ended the evening lounging in the Redwood Room at the Clift Hotel laughing the night away. Unfortunately, I had to catch an early flight home a day early because Jamie was up for some BATC awards in Minneapolis. Although we didn’t take any home, we had an enjoyable night with our friends and colleagues.
What I did miss though was Wine Country and the Ice Cream Museum the following day, but I had to share photos because this looked like way too much fun! And I’m adding it to my agenda next time I’m out in San Francisco for sure.
I can’t thank you enough Zephyr for the adventure! After meeting all the girls, learning about range hoods, and touring the city, I came home recharged and ready to get started on new projects.