Amidst the retail upheaval caused by the pandemic there’s also positive news: new stores are opening in Sonoma County and The Barlow is about to welcome a home decor pop-up shop.
Beginning March 12, San Francisco home goods boutique BaBoo will bring its happy strain of high-style furnishings to the Sebastopol marketplace. After moving from a Pacific Heights location to the San Francisco Design Center, the store has now embarked on a California tour where it will set up several temporary shops.
BaBoo’s first stop on its California tour was Mill Valley. The pop-up shop will remain at The Barlow until May or longer, depending on the response. After that, they have their sights set on quaint Truckee in the Sierras. Then it’s off to Southern California.
The pop-up shop at The Barlow will feature whimsical indoor and outdoor furniture and accessories for the home along with a new collection of fine jewelry and accessories made by artisans from around the world
BaBoo owner Galit Chay is a big fan of The Barlow. She likes the openness of the large white spaces and “the little bits of color” added by the restaurants. She appreciates that the atmosphere is “not too chichi.”
“Sometimes Wine Country can be threatening and people feel like they don’t belong,” she says. “Everybody feels comfortable here (at The Barlow).”
Chay, who is trained in criminal justice and organizational psychology, used to work with at-risk youth in her native Israel. In her spare time, she would make pottery and sculptures to nurture her soul. She knew she wanted to someday work in design.
Maybe seeing life’s challenges up close has influenced the way Chay looks at home decor, as something that should be both beautiful and fun; something that will lift the spirits and reflect who you really are.
“Home is about uncovering yourself,” she says. “The place you can be and do whatever you want.”
BaBoo offers a collection of design pieces that are modern but also playful. This particular blend is Chay’s response to the stark coldness of many ultra modern “museum-style” homes that lack the comfort and warmth she likes to see in a home.
In order to be included in BaBoo’s collection, a design piece needs to spark joy. “I would never bring (home) a piece of art that has some deep, dark meaning. It can be in the museum,” says Chay.
BaBoo’s design pieces have garnered a following. The shop’s felted river rock poufs, for example, provide relaxed seating on one of Sales Force’s “mindfulness floors.” The poufs, which are shaped like river rocks and made by South African fiber designer Ron’el Jordaan, come in different sizes, from one so small it can be held in your hand to large-sized seats. Other popular items include all-rubber poufs with “fur,” stools shaped like animals; even indoor swings.
Chay continues to enjoy meeting and interacting with people in her new role as a design store proprietor. “I love to work with people and talk with people, she says, “They always interest me.” This passion for interpersonal communication and customer service also informs her business philosophy: “I believe in kindness and non-greed,” she says. She will welcome visitors into her pop-up store with world music and chocolates.