Bay-ti Home, a new addition to Petaluma’s celebrated retail scene, is the kind of space that draws you in. Vibrantly-patterned poufs made from antique Moroccan rugs surround a low-rise rustic table made by store owner Rachid Hassani using upcycled elements. (Hassani has constructed one table base from segments of plumbing pipe, another from the guts of an exercise bike.)
A graphic designer for 25 years, Hassani is brand new to retail, but seems to have successfully translated his artistry from computer to showroom floor.
Bay-ti, which is Arabic for “my home,” will feature imported crafts and artifacts from Morocco and original furniture from salvaged pieces, providing an old world, across-the-globe riff to the antique-rich Petaluma shopping experience.
A group of Moroccan-made storage baskets sit in colorful graphic unity on shelves. There are piles of rugs, each with a story to tell. One is a traditional bride’s cloak and blanket, another is a rug woven from upcycled jeans. As for artifacts, you can find a vintage African Mali walking stick. Or a massive wooden carved antique door, with a smaller passage door within, dating back hundreds of years.
From the ceiling hang a variety of unique chandeliers like a wooden clothespin creation by Hassani, a salvaged Italian designer piece made from glass plates, and others pendants with grass woven shades.
Hassani’s artistic inspiration is a unique blend of time, place and mindset: his childhood spent in artisan-rich Fez, Morocco; his discoveries of pieces in Petaluma salvage and antique stores; and his guilt over having contributed to the landfill over the years in his work as a graphic designer.
“Every street in Fez is dedicated to a specific craft,” say Hassani, who says that traveling to his native Fez is “getting a breath of fresh air.” In a culture that’s completely steeped in crafting, every street is dedicated to a certain type of trade, leather-making in one neighborhood, steel working in another, Hassani says.
As a succesful graphic designer, having worked in Germany, Oakland and Petaluma, Hassani says his creations for businesses have contributed a lot to the landfill. Now Hassani wants to “take the old and make something new out of it.”
Hassani built a table for Numi teas, where his wife, Reem Hassani, is co-owner. The table received so many compliments, he was inspired to create more works.
Hassani credits the encouragement of his wife in making his storefront business dream a reality. Hassani says he’s loving his new life away from the computer where he can meet people and hear their stories. That, and the fact that he gets to work in 3-dimensions with “the whole space” as his work board.
Bay-ti, 1 Fourth St., Petaluma, 707-774-6561, baytihome.com. Bay-ti is open Wednesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.