In these post-Domino days, it looks like one lady is emerging as the leader of the print-shelter pack: South Bay resident Anh-Minh Le, the co-founder and editor of
magazine. The already much-beloved glossy, which is about to publish its fourth issue, is all about living with substance and style and, naturally, publishes some killer home profiles. Just what kind of abode does Le herself reside in? Another local design legend, Victoria Smith or S.F. Girl By Bay, stopped by Le’s home and snapped a bevy of inspiring pics of the editor’s sprawling, redwood-surrounded residence with a colorful and mega-covetable closet to match. Click through to take a look, plus read up on Le’s favorite local decor stores, secrets to outfitting her tiny, size-four feet, and much more.
Photos by Victoria Smith
Tell us about Anthology and the inspiration behind it? How did it come to be?
“Meg Mateo Ilasco, a local writer, designer, and entrepreneur, and I have been friends for several years. In early 2010, we were having lunch and the topic of shelter magazines came up. We both felt that there really wasn’t one out there that spoke to us, or our interests and aesthetics. So, we decided to create our own: A limited-edition, independently published quarterly. The goal was to not only offer stunning visuals, but also delve deeper and focus on the story behind things.”
What do you love most about your job?
“I’m grateful I get to spend my days writing and editing and being creative. The magazine has allowed me to collaborate with so many talented people; writers, editors, photographers, illustrators, stylists. The homeowners, artists, and designers we’ve featured have also been incredible. It’s easy to be inspired when you see how others are truly living their dream and doing what they love, too.”
You’ve got quite the shoe collection—any favorite designers? What’s your go-to shoe source?
“I have pretty small feet: I usually wear a women’s size 4, or a kids’ size 2. I buy a lot of my flats from Crewcuts, J. Crew’s children’s line. They’re a great deal for shoes that are made in Italy—and shipping is free! When I shop in the grown-up department, I like Chloé because the shoes are well-made and super comfortable—plus they tend to run small. Recently, I’ve found that more and more of the high-end designers are offering size 4s—including Louboutin, Gucci, and Miu Miu. For small shoe sizes, Net-A-Porter, Nordstrom, and Zappos are good sources. There’s a local store [in San Francisco], Arthur Beren, that carries size 4s as well. Lately, I’ve also been drawn to Anthropologie for shoes. They have such fun styles, and they’re starting to carry more size 5s, which I can sometimes wear.”
How does your fashion sense translate into your living space?
“I’m pretty serious about comfort when it comes to both! I like simplicity with a little twist. For example, if my attire is primarily black, I’ll accessorize it with striped heels or a funky necklace. Similarly, since the daybed in our living room is a subdued chocolate brown, it’s accented with colorful textiles in various patterns. For me, having just one or two components in an outfit or in a room that really stand out works best.”
In three words, how would you define your home?
“Relaxed, curated, and inviting.”
What do you love most about where you live?
“I’ve never really considered myself an outdoorsy person, but I love that we’re surrounded by nature. We look out onto these beautiful redwood trees, hiking and cycling are huge in this community, and we regularly step out our front door to find deer or quail wandering about. Since the theme for the fourth issue of Anthology is 'The Great Outdoors,' we thought it would be perfect to feature my house.”
We love that theme idea—tell us a little about the space and how you use it. How did you score such a find?
“We have a two-story house with decks that span the length of each level. There’s a hammock on the lower deck; it’s in the shade, so it’s ideal for lounging. On the upper deck, we have several benches for hanging out. The outdoor dining table and chairs are just outside the kitchen, so we can easily enjoy al fresco meals. We live about 40 miles south of San Francisco, so the weather is usually warmer and more conducive to spending time outside. We couldn’t get this kind of land and outdoor space in the city!”
What is the first thing people notice about your space?
“It’s probably a tie between the abundance of natural light and the redwood trees around us.”
You don’t shy away from color—what’s your secret for making it work?
“We adhere to the principle of keeping the big pieces of furniture neutral, and bringing in color with accessories—things that you can change out more easily, so you’re not afraid to be a bit bolder.”
What are your favorite design stores in the Bay Area?
“There are so many! It’s hard to narrow it down, but here goes: For art, hands-down, my favorite is Lost Art Salon
. I never walk out of Zinc Details
—the location on Fillmore—empty-handed. Lotus Bleu
on Hayes are both very cool, though with very different aesthetics. We’ve bought several pieces at The Touch
vintage store on Valencia. Homme
on Polk Street and Past Perfect
on Union are also great for vintage and antique finds. Leftovers
on Van Ness is an awesome consignment shop. Supernatural
is a new-ish store in Potrero that has amazing modern designs. For gardening and outdoor goods, Flora Grubb
is at the top of my list. There’s also a sweet boutique in Woodside called Emily Joubert
. In the East Bay, I love The Gardener
on Fourth Street and Maison d’Etre
on College Avenue. In Mill Valley, Summer House
is fantastic. Next month, when Target
launches its Missoni collection—which will include apparel and housewares—I’ll no doubt be hitting up as many locations as I can!”
What’s the thing you covet most in your home… and your closet?
“I adore the Boomerang chaise lounge in our living room. It was a spontaneous purchase; DWR was discontinuing it and had it marked down. I love just looking at it because it’s so sculptural. It’s also a nice spot to read or nap. In my closet, I have a Céline envelope bag that my sister gave me that’s pretty special. It’s slightly larger than the dimensions of Anthology (which is 71/2 x 10 inches) and as soon as she saw it, she knew it would be the perfect bag for carrying a copy or two of the magazine. It was such a thoughtful gift, and the design itself is classic and lovely.”
What are your favorite design trends right now? Least favorite?
“I’m not a fan of trends in general. I’m a big believer that your decor should connect to who you are and mean something. Patience is important, I think, when you’re decorating. It’s okay to leave the mantel empty for a while, until you’ve found just the right elements for it.”
Do you and your husband battle over décor decisions?
“He is rather hands-off when it comes to decor. His only requirement is that nothing is overly fussy or precious, which is fine by me. But I don’t make any major purchases without consulting him, even though I know he pretty much leaves things up to me because he trusts me.”
What's your daily uniform?
“If I’m spending the day at home writing or running errands, you’ll usually find me in jeans, Converses or ballet flats, and a casual top. I’m all about comfort. Even if I’ve got a meeting or am going out to dinner and my outfits get dressier—a blouse instead of a T-shirt, heels instead of flats—comfort is still key.”
If your home was a shoe, what shoe would it be?
“Hmmm. Maybe something like these Bottega Veneta boots
. The design features a simple shape (wedge-heeled boot) and material (espresso suede), but there’s this wonderful hit of color (the blue wedge). It’s a little unexpected.”
There are more images of your home in Issue 4 of Anthology. Where can readers scoop it up?
“Yes! In order to get Issue 4 as part of your subscription, you need to purchase the subscription
by Friday, August 12th. We are also carried locally at Candystore Collective, Unionmade, The Perish Trust, Flora Grubb, Birch, Issues, Smoke Signals, LOLA Home in Berkeley, Heath Ceramics in Sausalito, and Anthropologie and West Elm stores.”