written by:
January 11, 2011

Last week I stopped into Pot + Pantry, Donna Suh Wageman's new kitchenwares shop in San Francisco's Mission District. Not only was the tiny space utterly charming, an appealing melange of the new and old, the modern and the trad, but Wageman herself was an obliging and able hostess. Best of all, the goods on display--I saw plenty I'd like to take home--are entirely affordable. 

Wageman takes a cue from Julia Child with her cheerful pegboard organizer.
Wageman takes a cue from Julia Child with her cheerful pegboard organizer.
1 / 9
These playful piggy tea towels are by San Francisco based designer Katherine J. Lee.
These playful piggy tea towels are by San Francisco based designer Katherine J. Lee.
2 / 9
Donna Suh Wageman opened Pot + Pantry in November.
Donna Suh Wageman opened Pot + Pantry in November.
3 / 9
Wageman's collection of new and vintage kitchenwares run the gamut from country chic to warmly modern.
Wageman's collection of new and vintage kitchenwares run the gamut from country chic to warmly modern.
4 / 9
The shop is nestled between an Irish pub and a hair salon on 22nd St. in San Francisco.
The shop is nestled between an Irish pub and a hair salon on 22nd St. in San Francisco.
5 / 9
I love these Ovation canisters from the British ceramicist Wade.
I love these Ovation canisters from the British ceramicist Wade.
6 / 9
Two more towels from Katherine J. Lee.
Two more towels from Katherine J. Lee.
7 / 9
These four shelves have Wageman's range of coffee wares, including beans by local roaster Sight Glass. Dwell creative director Kyle Blue did Sight Glass' logo and identity.
These four shelves have Wageman's range of coffee wares, including beans by local roaster Sight Glass. Dwell creative director Kyle Blue did Sight Glass' logo and identity.
8 / 9
This photo shows how Wageman shows modern goods alongside more traditional fare.
This photo shows how Wageman shows modern goods alongside more traditional fare.
9 / 9
Wageman takes a cue from Julia Child with her cheerful pegboard organizer.
Wageman takes a cue from Julia Child with her cheerful pegboard organizer.

Before opening Pot + Pantry in November Wageman worked at housewares giant Williams-Sonoma. Considering how diminutive her shop is, it's not so much a change in focus as a massive shift in scale.

These playful piggy tea towels are by San Francisco based designer Katherine J. Lee.
These playful piggy tea towels are by San Francisco based designer Katherine J. Lee.

"My experience with Williams-Sonoma has been an incredible asset," she told me. "I have a good understanding of the kitchenware business, I know what qualities to look for in kitchen equipment, and I can identify good (and bad) design - a lot of this is because of my time there. So, it's given me a solid foundation of knowledge on which to build."

Donna Suh Wageman opened Pot + Pantry in November.
Donna Suh Wageman opened Pot + Pantry in November.

She continues: "At the same time, in terms of the products I carry as well as my store merchandising, it's definitely dictated by my personal taste. The buy, sell, trade aspect of my business is also something I wouldn't imagine a large corporation signing up for. I view it as a kind of service that I can offer customers, to offer them a way to offload kitchenware aside from donating or giving it away."

Wageman's collection of new and vintage kitchenwares run the gamut from country chic to warmly modern.
Wageman's collection of new and vintage kitchenwares run the gamut from country chic to warmly modern.

I wondered how great a market really exists for used kitchen goods. Surely we buy used cars, clothes and furniture, but how many folk are that interested in a second-hand potato masher? Wageman again:

"I wasn't sure what the response would be from people toward used kitchenware - would they really want used mixing bowls or would that gross them out? What about used whisks? - but I've realized there's a potentially large market for this. My customers also love shopping flea markets and thrift stores hoping to find deals on housewares, and Ive been getting inquiries from vintage kitchenware collectors about whether I can help find pieces missing from their collections. I don't think used kitchenware is nearly as accepted at clothes and etc, but I think that will change soon enough."

The shop is nestled between an Irish pub and a hair salon on 22nd St. in San Francisco.
The shop is nestled between an Irish pub and a hair salon on 22nd St. in San Francisco.

That notion that collectors and passersby alike will fall for her wares accounts for what she calls Pot + Pantry's "whole modern day vintage thing."

Two more towels from Katherine J. Lee.
Two more towels from Katherine J. Lee.

A handful of items caught my eye when I was there, in particular a handful of tea towels by San Francisco-based designer Katherine J. Lee. The others were a set of cannisters by UK ceramics brand Wade. The Ovation series is about as clean and modern as it comes, but I'd wager they could stand up in any kitchen.

I love these Ovation canisters from the British ceramicist Wade.
I love these Ovation canisters from the British ceramicist Wade.

Perhaps most novel, beyond Wageman's selection of carefully curated goods, is that you can trade your used kitchen goods for hers. Should she like what you have on offer she'll give you 50% of what she'll sell it for in store credit. I managed to swap an old eggbeater for a very useful pair of toaster tongs.

Handful of objects and a clever trade-in system aside, the real appeal of Pot + Pantry comes in even the most casual visit. San Franciscans, stop in.

These four shelves have Wageman's range of coffee wares, including beans by local roaster Sight Glass. Dwell creative director Kyle Blue did Sight Glass' logo and identity.
These four shelves have Wageman's range of coffee wares, including beans by local roaster Sight Glass. Dwell creative director Kyle Blue did Sight Glass' logo and identity.

"I wanted it to exude warmth and character," said Wageman, "but didn't want to make it look like a store stuck in time. I also tried to have a place for everything to avoid making the small space seem cluttered, at the same time I like it looking a little haphazard, like it's been lived in and used by a charming neighbor."

A charming neighbor indeed.

This photo shows how Wageman shows modern goods alongside more traditional fare.
This photo shows how Wageman shows modern goods alongside more traditional fare.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016
amaroso40040
When a garage damaged by termites had to go, a studio emerges.
June 19, 2016