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A Shop That Separates the Wheat from the Chaff

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A Shop That Separates the Wheat from the Chaff

Sarah Lonsdale June 27, 2012

Bell'occhio in San Francisco is one of those rare finds, a shop that draws in customers from around the globe (Martha Stewart is a fan), and once discovered is never forgotten.

For more than two decades, owner Claudia Schwartz has assembled a charming collection of ephemeral and rarefied objects, all displayed in a tiny storefront reminiscent of an old European store. Among her obscure finds? "I have always loved traditional handmade things from straw and reeds," she says. "I like the fact that leftover bits of the wheat—the stalks—are used to make something useful. It's completely sustainable." To see more, go to Bell'occhio.

Photography by Mimi Giboin for Remodelista.

Above: A straw bow decorates a basket.

Above: Traditional baskets Schwartz found on a trip to the southwest of France.

Above: Straw goods enjoy a long history dating back to Pagan European culture. In many countries, good luck charms and offerings were created from the last sheaf of harvest. Handwoven Anchors Aweigh (L) from Scotland; $45. Marie de Moisson (R) is a handmade wheat straw staff in a traditional French motif, said to be propitious; $65.

Above L: A straw Cornet: $20. Above R: A Tisket-a-Tasket Basket made in France of plaited straw; $32.

Above: Bell'occhio owner Claudia Schwartz with her collection of straw baskets and straw creations.

Above: The entryway to Schwartz's office: "I had this thatched roof made by a British thatcher when I was visiting England, and he shipped it over."

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