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Alessi on Sutter Street Union Square SF
A look inside Alessi on Sutter Street
Karikter Sutter Street Union Square SF
Sneak peek of Karikter on Sutter Street in Union Square
Macy's Union Square
Bedding section at Macy's on Union Square
Crate and Barrel Stockton Street Union Square SF
Crate & Barrel storefront on Stockton Street
September 30, 2011

Getting Homey in Union Square

Outfitting your apartment or home in a densely populated city can be a challenge. We don’t get large, inexpensive stores like Ikea or Target out here (although Target is making its debut sometime next year), and the high-end boutiques we do get are often impractical for those on a budget or simply looking for a casual look for their home. Luckily, here in Union Square we have a variety of options for different budgets that will get you feeling comfy and cozy in your apartment or house. 

You may not be aware that our flagship Crate and Barrel store on the corner of O'Farrell and Stockton Streets got its name from actual crates and barrels. A young couple that had traveled throughout Europe started the company in 1962 after discovering a lack of affordable housewares stores stateside. They couldn't afford display cases, so they used the shipping crates and barrels to showcase merchandise they had collected from all over Europe. Today Crate and Barrel has stores all throughout North America and offers a wide variety of home products from pots and pans to sofas and dressers. They have high-quality culinary items and gadgets as well as beautifully upholstered furniture, and fabulous customer service that always goes above and beyond. Of particular interest in the Union Square location is their special Marimekko shop. Crate and Barrel has been carrying the Danish fabrics since the 1960s and now dedicates a boutique shop within a shop to their signature cheery, bold and brightly patterned wares. The Union Square store also has a fun program of "Wedding Parties" where they close off the store to engaged couples and give them a chance to figure out their registry while enjoying refreshments and expert advice. Whether you're getting married or just need to refresh your apartment, you're likely to find what you need within their three floors filled with all things homey.

For the younger crowd, or really the crowd that prefers a more modern look, CB2 is just around the corner. We're fortunate enough to be one of only nine U.S. cities to host this store dedicated to contemporary, budget-friendly design. Opened by Crate and Barrel in 2000, the store ranges from quirky items like this iron tic tac toe board and this "cubist sculpture" to practical, modern pieces like their mid-century style Avec Tweed sofa and this classy marble coffee table.  Basically if you’re into modern, cheeky furniture, tabletop and accessories, you’ll find something to outfit your home at CB2. Another quirky, but very different store where you can find accessories for your home is Karikter. Dedicated to European children's book characters like Tintin and Babar, we’ve spotted some fun finds here, like a beautiful multi-colored set of pairing knives, nifty vacuum sealing travel mugs and elegantly designed wine glasses. If you’re more into gadgets and super sleek design, take a peek in Alessi right next door on Sutter. This store is filled with unique, whimsical products for your home and office. Some items verge on futuristic, like this stainless steel basket, while others are charming and kitschy, like this personified cheese grater. Neither of these stores is exactly comprehensive, but they’re wonderful places to pick up a housewarming gift or a special treat for your home.

If the kitchen is where your heart lies, you will find culinary heaven in two different spots in the Square. Sur la Table and Williams-Sonoma together meet pretty much any cooking, baking, slicing, dicing or dinner-party hosting needs you will ever have. We were sad to see Sur la Table leave Maiden Lane, but luckily they didn’t move far. They landed a few blocks away in the Westfield San Francisco Centre’s basement food court. A particularly good deal at the shop is the Sur La Table brand cookware. These pots and pans are of similar quality to high-end brands like All-Clad, but at a more reasonable price point. The store also carries a variety of useful kitchen items from French wooden spoons to brightly colored spatulas to these adorable vintage-inspired aprons and linens. For even more variety, you can visit the gorgeous three-story Williams-Sonoma on Union Square Park. This posh culinary paradise is filled with kitchen tools and gadgets of every type from basic items like much coveted Le Creuset cookware sets to beautiful copper sauce pans to specialty items like this Ebelskiver (seriously delicious Danish pastry) pan. Williams-Sonoma also recently expanded to include luxurious home décor items and furniture with a European flair. You can check out a sampling of their offerings on the third floor. This is also where they do free cooking demos and classes on a regular basis.

Larger appliances and other fun kitchen items can be found just across the Square in the basement of Macy's. An especially fun line that they carry there is the Martha Stewart collection of housewares like this adorable set of mixing bowls in bright colors. This is a great place to stop if you’re looking for a blender, mixer, ice-cream maker or other kitchen appliance, as they carry several brands that you can compare. A few floors up in the flagship store, you can visit their linens department with many, many options for stylish bedding, including popular Calvin Klein duvets and sheet sets. Just above that, Macy's has a full floor of furniture and rugs with a traditional, American slant. Want to tie all this up in a bow, or rather stash it all in cute storage boxes and convenient organizers? You can stroll down 4th Street to the Container Store, which carries all manner of products to help you tuck, store, stow and get organized from your closet to your kitchen. The large two-story store specializes in custom Elpha systems to bring some serious order to disorderly spaces, particularly closets. We also can’t get enough of their fun storage boxes that come in every shape and size and style scheme. Plus, they have just about every type of hanger known to man, as well as a large variety of jars and canisters. If you're looking to bring order to the chaos that is your apartment after shopping at all those other stores, this is the place to go.

Fall is a great time to nestle into your home and create a space that is comfortable and reflects your personality. With all these options we're sure you’ll be able to find what you need in Union Square to achieve that goal and more.