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Luna Rustica: Handcrafting the home with Mexican and Asian themes

Talavera pottery is prominently displayed in front of a custom media cabinet adorned by lighted wall art at Luna Rustica’s warehouse showroom, with hand-selected pottery and artisan-made wares reflecting the different crafts of Mexico.
Talavera pottery is prominently displayed in front of a custom media cabinet adorned by lighted wall art at Luna Rustica’s warehouse showroom, with hand-selected pottery and artisan-made wares reflecting the different crafts of Mexico. Special to The Tribune

Global design, rustic materials and reclaimed elements: all hot concepts in home decor. But long before these trends emerged nationally, Luna Rustica was pioneering them here in San Luis Obispo.

Since 1996, owner Michael Carija has been working with artisans in Mexico to offer home décor that is individually handcrafted. While this has not changed, other things have. Last July, Luna Rustica moved its downtown location to a space on Monterey Street roughly three times larger. Whereas the old store focused on small items, the larger showroom features more furniture that is staged into room vignettes.

“It gives people a better visual on how our craft décor and furniture intermingle with each other,” Michael explained.

The Luna Rustica warehouse on Broad Street is just now emerging from a remodel which has given it, among other things, a new “light and airy front showroom,” according to the store’s website.

“The downtown store is more stylized and focused on display of our small items and decor while the warehouse is concentrated with furniture, often even stacked three items high,” explained Jessica Carija, Michael’s daughter and manager/buyer for Luna Rustica.

Luna Rustica has recently branched out into a more global look with furniture from Indonesia, India and the Philippines.

Just as its Mexican furniture reflects myriad European influences, its newer pieces may not be what you’d expect of Asian furniture. For instance, you might associate Indian furniture with intricately carved dark woods. Instead, you’ll find European-style, mid-century industrial, and rustic contemporary designs.

Michael believes that the marriage of Mexican and Asian decor reflects a global connectedness.

“Sometimes you almost can’t tell them apart,” he said. “It all blends beautifully together.”

Since the beginning, Luna Rustica has carried pieces made from salvaged wood, metal and glass, as well as antique components. Due to the recent popularity of reclaimed materials, the store has expanded its offerings with Asian furniture. Recently, its downtown selection included a buffet made from reclaimed teak and iron, a primitive, rough-hewn coffee table, and a side table made from old wood and an iron wheel.

The new location has allowed Luna Rustica to offer more wall art and chandeliers. There is also an expanded selection of leather and fabric upholstered pieces that are customizable.

Handcrafted Mexican décor still has a distinct presence at Luna Rustica. There is folk art such as colorful Talavera pottery and retablo panels painted with religious themes. You’ll also find decorative accents like hand-forged iron candelabra, and six-foot tall pots that have been hand-shaped with corn cobs.

Working directly with artisans in Mexico means Luna Rustica continues to offer custom pieces such as dining tables, doors, entertainment units, built-in cabinetry and decorative goods.

“The warehouse is a great place to be inspired to create a custom piece as you see so many different designs,” Jessica advised. “You can zero in on a builder, or look you like, and we can then build something one of a kind for you.”

The Luna Rustica downtown showroom is at 895 Monterey St. in San Luis Obispo, 542-0855.

The warehouse is at 2959 Broad Street, 546-8505.

Reach Rebecca Juretic at rajuretic@sbcglobal.net.

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