Lisa Wilson & Alfie of The Pickled Hutch
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Jacksonville, Florida and raised in Stockton, California. My mom was a nurse and my dad was a navy pilot. My father was killed in the Vietnam War, so my mom raised four children on her own. She always encouraged practical career choices, like hers, to fall back on "just in case". Practical was not my strong point as I was the artistic dreamer in the family. But I had so much respect for what she was doing that I gave up my artistic ambitions and got a degree in psychology at the University of California (Davis). Granted, it served me well in all the management positions I have held, but something was always missing; I would get restless, bored and dissatisfied. Usually, satisfaction would come from home in the form of redecorating and creating.
My happiness has always come from being creative with my environment. From sixth grade on, my mom would come home to find whole rooms rearranged, including the wall art. A satisfying visit with friends will many times result in a color consult, room redesign and a date on the calendar to come back and paint. Famous words when friends would express doubt about an idea? "Trust me!"
Tell us about your business.
I still pinch myself everyday when I go to work. I live that saying "to do something you love for work means never working another day in your life!" It’s a phrase that I put on my blog to remind me of how lucky I am.
I have owned The Pickled Hutch, a vintage home, garden and gift store, since 2005. It was first established in San Francisco and then relocated to Pacifica in 2008 after we lost our lease on the San Francisco store. Since the move, I have really embraced a more relaxed, coastal cottage-by-the-sea style. The Pickled Hutch features painted and rescued furniture with a coastal palette (lots of grays, blues, greens, turquoise and cream). Vintage chandeliers are refurbished with contemporary colors to integrate a modern touch. We showcase handcrafted, repurposed vintage jewelry, vintage inspired handcrafted children’s accessories and altered art. We try to blend vintage and modern pieces into timeless, classic vignettes that inspire the designer in all of us.
What inspired you to pursue this business?
I have worked at everything from corporate trainer to telemarketing manager (don’t hate me!) to salon manager to dental office manager, and I kept ending up in management positions that ate at my soul – all the while rearranging the office furniture. My free time was always spent redesigning my home or those of family and friends. My living room has been painted 12 times in 15 years. Seriously! It’s become a joke. This business was the perfect answer. Having this store nurtures all sides of me. It integrates my practical business side, my creative design side, and the side of me with the huge respect for things of the past. I have loved repurposing and up scaling forgotten and unloved pieces for years and still do. It’s the best way to recycle, and it doesn’t entail sacrificing style or budget. In my store I can showcase all these pieces with a contemporary flair while at the same time promoting some very talented handcraft artisans.
The blog was started after the business as a creative outlet on a more personal level, a way to reach beyond the neighborhood so to speak. In this business, it can be like the shoemaker’s kids. You put so much energy into your store design that the home front can be neglected. The blog helps keep me on my toes. My place is always evolving and changing as I move things in and out. So I share about home projects, which sometimes become store inventory, the hunt for treasures, family, friends and my poodle Alfie (He gets the most comments of anything I post). The blog has also been a wonderful venue for meeting the most amazing people.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I find inspiration everywhere I look, from magazines to the nature around me. The ocean has been a huge inspiration for me since moving here. And I love Swedish/Gustavian design. It feels timeless, fresh, relaxed and easy to live with.
The most simple vignettes can be primitive and elegant at the same time. I have come to appreciate a ‘lighter touch’ in my decorating and merchandising as a result. Don’t get me wrong, I love my stuff! But now I have a lighter hand in what I put out and the color palette is softer, more organic.
Tell us about a favorite home decorating or remodeling project.
I absolutely love my dining room, which is not what I was saying a year ago when in the middle of the redo. The ‘redo’ involved painting every single thing in the room. The ceiling, the walls, the seven foot sideboard, the apothecary chest with the 28 drawers, the old distressed oak table with leaves. It took two weeks as I was doing it all by myself but what a feeling of satisfaction. I kept the palette to a calm cream and pale blue/gray. My sofa sits directly across from the French doors leading into the dining room. So every time I sit down I am looking directly into what is now my favorite room. A very soothing and serene atmosphere.
What’s your favorite color.
The pale blue-gray I have painted almost every room in my place, and have used many times at the store. I don’t have the actual name anymore because I have had it color matched so many times. But I did take a picture of the formula so I would never lose it.
Turquoise has been running a close second lately.
What are your five favorite pieces of home décor from your home or elsewhere?
- That seven foot sideboard. It went from a dated gumwood to a fresh flax cream with a pale blue/gray interior.
- A old beat up French desk with original faded gilt paint and details. It’s just lovely in it’s as is condition.
- All my antique gilded mirrors. They add just the right touch of patina and reflective-ness.
- My antique Italian tole chandelier with porcelain flowers. It looks like this huge basket with flowers spilling out.
- The six foot tall turquoise apothecary chest with 32 drawers at the store. It is my office and craft box. Primitive and wonderful.
What’s your favorite room at home? Why is it your favorite?
The dining room that was recently remodeled.
Who are your favorite designers?
It changes all the time depending on the latest work I have seen. Currently: Tobi Fairley, Kelly Hoppen, Grant K. Gibson( local boy), Nate Berkus and Barbara Barry.
What’s your personal design style? Has it evolved over time?
It has changed over the years. Some of my friends would tell you from year to year. It was more classic traditional but now feels French inspired eclectic. I like crystal chandeliers, gilded pieces, bare wood floors and painted furniture.
Many of us have a product we bought for our home-that now makes us think-"what was I thinking" - do you have one?
I’m lucky having the store. I get to change out my mistakes before anyone sees it. What isn’t working for me will usually work for someone else. But there was this one seven foot long cabinet that was supposed to be for the bedroom that didn’t fit through the door…
Describe your dream room.
A mix of French and Swedish design. I love French gilded mirrors and architectural pieces and the color palette of Swedish/Gustavian design. I think they complement each other beautifully. Gorgeous crystal chandelier, pale gray-washed cane backed settee with down cushion, marble fireplace, parquet floors, filmy muslin curtains on either side of French doors with view of the garden, built in bookcases with intricate molding…..sigh.
What are your favorite blogs or home design/improvement websites?
Habitually Chic, Design Sponge and Desire to Inspire can be summed up together. They keep me up to date with fresh, sassy, modern style that is easy to incorporate with vintage. Grant K. Gibson for easy, classic design and lifestyle. Apartment Therapy because who doesn’t like getting a peek into other peoples homes!
What are your favorite books, design shows and/or magazines?
- Jeanne D’Arc Living (just amazing inspiration)
- Elle Decor
- House Beautiful
- Domino Book of Decorating
Do you have a decorating, design or remodeling tip you’d like to share with The Decorating Diva.com readers?
I always start with color and paint. It has the most impact of anything in the room. And the quickest least expensive way to transform a room. Love, love Farrow & Ball paint. It has such great depth. Pratt and Lambert as well.
- Store/Shop: The Pickled Hutch, 2021 Palmetto Avenue,Pacifica, California 94044
- Twitter: The Pickled Hutch on Twitter
- Blog: The Pickled Hutch Blog
The Decorating Diva, LLC would like to thank Lisa and her adorable poodle Alfie for gracing The Decorating Diva, LLC with their bubbly personalities and exquisite style in decor. A special thanks to Lisa for sharing her entrepreneurial journey and for never losing sight of her dreams – she serves as an inspiration to many.