‘Utilitarian chic’ fits into almost every home décor

Brick House Goods features sustainable products with clean and classic aesthetics that lend themselves to many diverse styles

Special to The TribuneMarch 20, 2013 

Above is a mid-century modern buffet crafted by San Luis Obispo furniture maker Jory Brigham. Local artists and artisans are often featured at Brick House Goods.



    MIX OLD AND NEW Pairing an aged and weathered piece with something clean and modern brings out the best features of each. It also adds an element of surprise to a space.

    USE REPETITION When you find a fabric, pillow, painting or other accessory with a color combination that appeals to you, repeat that color palette throughout the room. Just be careful not to get too “matchy” or the space will feel contrived and boring. Avoid matching furniture sets and don’t use the same exact color or wood tone everywhere. For instance, if you like blue, use a range of hues like royal, cobalt, navy, and sky blue.

    PICK UP A PLANT Plants make a space feel warmer and more welcoming. If you don’t have a green thumb, go with succulents or other low-maintenance plants. Or display cut flowers or branches in a pretty vase.

Brick House Goods may come off as modern. But manager Carla Wingett believes its clean and classic aesthetic appeals to a broad audience. “We sell things that fit into anyone’s home, even if it’s Spanish, or vintage, or filled with antiques,” she said. The San Luis Obispo shop, formerly called Atmodsphere, offers furniture, art, home accents and gifts with an eco-conscious sensibility.

“I work with companies that have sustainable ethics. That means either organic materials, sustainable materials, locally-made goods, or things that are well made and will last a long time,” said Wingett.

She makes an effort to feature the work of local artists and artisans. Recently on the showroom floor was a Brazilian hardwood mirror inlaid with silver by San Luis Obispo’s Laura Rittenhouse. Several pieces by Jory Brigham included a concrete planter bench that melds teak and concrete, and a midcentury modern buffet built from stacked plywood. David Ball, son of guitar innovator Ernie Ball, crafts cylindrical accent tables made from wood reclaimed from musical instruments, such as guitar necks. Green Goods’ Brian Robertson crafts furniture from a variety of reclaimed woods, including a simple and sleek dining table made from yellow Alaskan cedar.

The shop features fine art by a different local artist every two months. Paintings by San Luis Obispo’s Neal Breton will be on display through April.

Creatively repurposed or recycled goods are abundant in the shop. There are outdoor furnishings and planters made en tirely from recycled milk jugs. Wall panels made from recycled bottles have pockets in which you can grow plants. You can hang them on fences, walls or railings, indoor or out. Use one alone, or group several to create a “living wall” or edible hanging garden.

Other products support an eco-conscious lifestyle. A section at the front of the store offers green kitchen and cleaning items. Another has books on topics that range from cooking to crafts to green design. At the back, you’ll find natural bath and body products as well as gifts.

Anyone who considers modern to be cold or stark should take a touchy-feely stroll through the tactile goods at Brick House. Simple organic bed linens and towels are supremely comforting to the touch. There are hand-knit stuffed animals made from soft lambswool. Its selection of Gus modern sofas have angular lines, but come in a variety of supple fabrics. Handcrafted pieces, including handmade wallpapers and wood furniture, are warm, textural and bear the mark of the artist’s hand.

“Our style is what we call ‘utilitarian chic,’ ” Wingett said. “What we carry is useful and functional, but also beautiful.”

Brick House Goods is at 1119 Chorro St. in San Luis Obispo, 594-1119, http://www.brickhousegoods.com .

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