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Design Within Reach

by Courtney Cochran

Though less often discussed, good design - like good food - goes hand in hand with wine country. Whether your idea of a fantastic décor score is a bespoke table crafted from reclaimed coastal timbers, locally spun pottery or a whimsical garden statuette, wine country towns offer myriad options to snap up deliciously varied elements of design.

Highway 1 Highlight

Blink while driving along scenic Highway 1 in west Sonoma County and you'll miss quaint hamlet Valley Ford, not to mention the fine furnishings, artwork, and ceramics at West County Design (westcountydesign.com ) in the center of town. The new, well-lit showroom is housed in a charmingly refurbished barn and features ceramics from Peggy Loudon (of Gump's fame), eye-catching Art Deco accent pillows by Appliqué Artistry, and dramatic concrete sinks and tables from Bohemian Stoneworks.

Carmel Valley Creative

Visitors to the expansive Jan de Luz (jandeluz.com ) store in Carmel Valley feel as though they've been transported to a centuries-old villa in France, and that's exactly what owner de Luz intended when he created the antiques-filled space. Large-scale stone fixtures for indoor and outdoor spaces (think bathtubs, fireplaces, fountains and wells) are the centerpieces of the home décor emporium, which also encompasses limestone flooring, staircases and freestanding columns and is a favorite among decorators and contractors

Santa Rosa Contemporary

Head just north of Santa Rosa's historic Railroad Square and you'll find Ray Modern Design (ray-modern.com ), a welcoming, well-lit contemporary furnishings and home décor store run by talented local designer Ty Jones. Inside, Artemide lighting and streamlined furnishings from the likes of Kartell and Alessi complement colorful shag rugs and bold table wares. Bonus: The shop also boasts a Micro Gallery featuring a rotating display of work from artists with similarly modern sensibilities.

SLO Retail Therapy

The San Luis Obispo outlet of San Francisco fashion/décor favorite, Therapy (733 Higuera St # A, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401), is fast winning over fans with its small but sophisticated selection of hip finds for the home. With winning items like picture frames made from recycled sailboat materials, soy candles from Botanicus and vintage-cool reproduction tin signs (e.g. "Coca-Cola"), the boutique located next to the infamous wall of chewing gum in downtown SLO is a don't-miss stop on any Central Coast wine tour.


Healdsburg High Note

With a tagline like "Live Well," it's no wonder well-heeled travelers are flocking to Limestone (limestonehealdsburg.com ) in Healdsburg to snap up chic home accents like True Grace candles, super soft chenille throws from Tourance and hard-to-find Côté Bastide potpourri. The compact, bustling shop on the plaza - which stays open late for the after-dinner crowd - also features a colorful selection of designer chandeliers and high-end wine service accessories.


Los Olivos Luminary

Gardening buffs will adore J. Woeste (2356 Alamo Pintado Ave., Los Olivos, CA 93441), a delightful home and gardening boutique located in downtown Los Olivos. Browsing amongst the twisting paths, whimsical garden statuettes and artfully imperfect plantings (think romantic English garden) on the lush grounds is the highlight of any J. Woeste visit, but it's also worth checking out the extensive selection of books, indoor plants and artwork on display inside the establishment's tastefully restored cottage.

Sonoma Standout

Situated just off the plaza in historic downtown Sonoma, Être Sonoma (etresonoma.com ) affords home décor buffs ample fodder for browsing inside the beautifully restored 1880s bungalow the shop calls home. The period surroundings deftly show off owner Christine Curry's gracious selection of light fixtures, vintage glassware and artwork, all of which are artfully arranged alongside a well-edited collection of contemporary and antique beds, chests, armoires and vanities.

State Street Staple

Women's clothing mecca Anthropologie (901 State St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101) may be best known for its super feminine duds, but it's the retailer's lesser-known home furnishings - most of which are tasteful reinterpretations of period pieces - that are fast gaining fans at the store's cheerful Santa Barbara outpost. There, you'll find eye-popping toile bedding and ornate bed frames as well as winsome accent tables, mirrored dressers and an outstanding assortment of wall décor items and chandeliers.

Barndiva Bonus

Diners at Healdsburg hot spot Barndiva now have another reason to rave about the hip eatery just off the plaza: the 2007 establishment of sister business, Artists and Farmers (artistsandfarmers.com ), in the old opera building next door. The cheery, loft-like boutique showcases jewelry, textiles and assorted home décor items from socially and environmentally responsible artisans around the globe. Don't miss the spot's intriguing antique wine wares, which include one-of-a-kind wine scales, pitchers and more.

San Luis Star

Located in the historic Ah Louis Building on Palm Street, Nest (thenestinslo.com ) is a postcard-quaint San Luis Obispo boutique with a beautifully displayed collection of new and vintage items for the home. Vintage birdcages and period candelabras share shelf space with the likes of super soft linens, high-end bath accessories and Asian chests, making it the kind of place that inspires even the most outdoorsy of us to, well, nest.