Every collection has to start somewhere, and for Lisa Congdon, it began with a dish. Nearly ten years ago, the San Francisco–based artist (and co-owner of local design shop Rare Device) picked up a piece of Cathrineholm enamelware at a flea market, drawn to its bold hue and simple pattern. After researching the piece’s provenance, she began scouting garage and rummage sales for similar items. “I try not to buy on eBay, because I like the challenge of finding each piece and the story that goes along with it,” she explains.
The kitchen in Congdon’s Mission District apartment provided an obvious home for her crockery. But it wasn’t until her more minimalist partner, Clay Walsh, moved in and incorporated her own functional and unfussy touches—–glass shelves, white walls, an Ikea island—–that the space became truly livable. Balancing equal measures of form and function suited their newly shared space. “The kitchen used to be the place to just display these beautiful things, and now we love spending time in here, too,” says Congdon.