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Required Reading: Abode, by the Owners of General Store in San Francisco

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Required Reading: Abode, by the Owners of General Store in San Francisco

May 1, 2019

Ever since we featured Serena Mitnik-Miller and Mason St. Peter’s low-key, DIYed 1920s cabin in Topanga Canyon—actually, since well before that, when we first featured their shop, General Store —we’ve associated the couple with the ultimate in California cool, and a certain kind of not-trying-too-hard but bright and edited aesthetic. Thankfully they’re revealing their tricks in their first book, Abode: Thoughtful Living with Less, just out from Abrams.; in it, they chronicle their projects together as a couple—from General Store to their own living spaces—and reveal how to create natural, simple spaces, attainable even for new DIYers and those on a budget. Here’s a glimpse inside the book.

Photography by Mariko Reed, from Abode: Thoughtful Living with Less.

The book is based off of Mitnik-Miller and St. Peter’s belief that spaces are best when stripped back to reveal good bones and lots of light, and filled with things of meaning. It’s a way of living they’ve incorporated into two locations of General Store, multiple apartments—including an apartment on Irving Street, shown here—and, now, their Topanga Canyon Home.
Above: The book is based off of Mitnik-Miller and St. Peter’s belief that spaces are best when stripped back to reveal good bones and lots of light, and filled with things of meaning. It’s a way of living they’ve incorporated into two locations of General Store, multiple apartments—including an apartment on Irving Street, shown here—and, now, their Topanga Canyon Home.
A breakfast nook in the couple’s Great Highway apartment exemplifies what they call “the mix”: furniture and fittings that “represent a sort of map of our lives and our tastes,” all tied together by a neutral palette and natural materials. Here, an Alvar Aalto table mixes with a rattan stool, a flea market find.
Above: A breakfast nook in the couple’s Great Highway apartment exemplifies what they call “the mix”: furniture and fittings that “represent a sort of map of our lives and our tastes,” all tied together by a neutral palette and natural materials. Here, an Alvar Aalto table mixes with a rattan stool, a flea market find.
The book covers big-picture steps for any project (“Vision”, “Deconstructing”, or taking spaces down to the rafters, and “Nesting”) as well as nuts and bolts: how to remove door and window trim, install skylights for maximum light, swap out light fixtures, buy a rug,and find the ideal white paint. Here, the couple’s Topanga Canyon kitchen.
Above: The book covers big-picture steps for any project (“Vision”, “Deconstructing”, or taking spaces down to the rafters, and “Nesting”) as well as nuts and bolts: how to remove door and window trim, install skylights for maximum light, swap out light fixtures, buy a rug,and find the ideal white paint. Here, the couple’s Topanga Canyon kitchen.
From the section on Nesting: a meditation on how, and from where, to source furniture, like this dresser, recently found at a flea market. It’s “not in perfect condition, which in Serena’s book is a plus,” the couple writes.
Above: From the section on Nesting: a meditation on how, and from where, to source furniture, like this dresser, recently found at a flea market. It’s “not in perfect condition, which in Serena’s book is a plus,” the couple writes.
“Look for site-specific opportunities,” the couple writes: In their Great Highway apartment, Mitnik-Miller and St. Peter made use of existing tile by installing a slim piece of framing lumber, painted white, to serve as a simple shelf.
Above: “Look for site-specific opportunities,” the couple writes: In their Great Highway apartment, Mitnik-Miller and St. Peter made use of existing tile by installing a slim piece of framing lumber, painted white, to serve as a simple shelf.
A fireplace is an opportunity for vignettes.
Above: A fireplace is an opportunity for vignettes.
The book also contains a section on “Outdoors”.
Above: The book also contains a section on “Outdoors”.
The book, out now, is $22 via Amazon.
Above: The book, out now, is $22 via Amazon.

See more of Mitnik-Miller and St. Peter’s projects in Bathroom of the Week: A Master Suite in Topanga Canyon, Scribbles Included.

And, more books to add to your summer reading list:

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