MARCH is a treasure trove for cooks, hosts, and all those who delight in a well-design kitchen. It’s a hometown favorite of all of us at Rue and we sat down with owner Sam Hamilton to learn more about her shop.
Thank you so much for opening up MARCH to us. It’s gone through a major re-envisioning since you first opened, hasn’t it?
The store first opened in 2003, focusing exclusively on European antique and contemporary furniture and items for the home. Inspired by the large pantry I imported from Ghent, Belgium, as well as the artwork of Carrie Mae Smith, and the fantastic food culture of SF, I decided to alter the focus of the store. Today, MARCH showcases exquisite, everyday objects for the kitchen, pantry and table. I love pieces that communicate a historical resonance. Today, so many utilitarian items have a built-in obsolesce. This doesn’t have to be the case. The timelessness of an object has everything to do with design, materials and craftsmanship. Whether it’s a piece from Maison Jansen or something as seemingly pedestrian as a kitchen canister or mixing bowl, our customers look to us for heritable pieces.
MARCH also has its own line of pantry items and holds events in the space, what inspired these new ventures?
As the new store design evolved, and with the installation of the AGA cooker in the space, in-house family-style suppers felt right. The MARCH Pantry collection was inspired by the great food culture of San Francisco and my love for beautiful packaging and presentation, as an extension of home design.
We’re also an art gallery. We show a number of different mediums: photography; oil painting; sculpture in wood, basketry and ceramics; etc. We opened the new MARCH with Carrie Mae Smith and will be showing her oils again this February. Our most recent show was of the still life oil paintings of Karyn Lyons—lovely. Paulette Tavormina’s photographs last spring were great. Josh Vogel wood sculpture, Jonathan Kline basket sculpture, Maria Moyer ceramics—all fantastic.
You have many collaborators, such as Matt Bear for the worktables and Blackcreek Mercantile for many cookware items. How did these arise?
Matt Bear of Union Studio is decidedly the most significant collaboration. He worked with us to design our line of made to order kitchen worktables. Matt and I have worked together for many years on fixturing for the store so we already had built the groundwork for a good partnership. We’re both incredibly proud of the MARCH Worktables. We also do a great deal of work with Josh Vogel of Blackcreek Mercantile. Josh and his wife Kelly have been completely in sync with the MARCH design concept — from the idiosyncratic spoons Josh has carved for us to the art installations working with him has been just great.
Very exciting collaborations. We have to ask- what’s next for MARCH?
We will launch our kitchen design division in 2014. My partner in this division, Brian Espinoza, is an amazing cook (a Chez Panisse alumnus) and contractor. We look to design kitchens in their entirety ideally. Getting to the crux of how our clients cook so we can create pantry storage, choose appliances and cabinetry to truly sync up with their specific needs and aesthetic.
Speaking of cooking, this winter, even our baby winter in the Bay Area, we’re cooking lots of comfort foods. What’s your current favorite dish to make?
A current favorite is slow roasted pork shoulder – in the AGA, of course.