Maxwell Ryan
Dec 12, 2006

(Here's a second post from Amara, one of the finalists vying for a blogging position at the upcoming AT:The Nursery. Comment away.)

As an antidote to the big box retail experience when shopping for my toddler, I head to Lavish in San Francisco's Hayes Valley.

It doesn't stock baby basics such as bottles or wipes; instead, it shows a carefully curated selection of goods where I can always find something I need – a baby shower gift, a first birthday present, or a book for my young son.

The space itself is airy, fresh, and inviting, with wood floors and
lots of natural light – an appealing place to spend time when you've
been cooped up in an apartment with piles of dirty onesies and toys
underfoot. The owner, Elizabeth Leu and a mother herself, sells mostly goods from Bay Area locals.

Clothes from San Francisco-based Tea Collection mingle with endearing tees and blankets embroidered with felt animals from Jakc Designs, amazingly soft stuffed animals by Jellycat (including a floppy horse that my toddler likes to drag around our house by its nose), colorful Zid Zid cushion-chairs, and sweetly funky art by Bishop Lennon.

Best of all, however, your childless friends won't cringe when you pull them inside.

Anyone can appreciate the funky modern atmosphere, so it's a great place to buy gifts. Plus, the front section of the store has just as fine an assortment of offerings for women as for kids – graphic aprons and bags from Lotta Jansdotter, vintage-inspired Thomas Paul melamine plates, and cool handbags from Janine Marie.

My only recommendation to the owner? Add men's goods so that the shop serves the whole family.


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