S.F.'s Glamping Gurus Show Us How To Entertain Outside In Style!

[UPDATE: This story was originally published on September 20.]
Sure, San Franciscans are pretty savvy when it comes to the great outdoors, but knowing how to rough it in style is always a challenge. And that's where mega-buzzed-about S.F.-based company Shelter Co. comes in. The brainchild of event planner Kelsey Sheofsky and her custom-furniture-guru husband Mike, the company launched in April 2012 foreseeing that the demand for glamping (that's glam camping for those of you living under a rock) would only grow by leaps and bounds in upcoming years.
And boy were they right. Folks up and down the Cali coast (and further afield) have flocked to the company for the ultimate upgraded outdoor experience, involving European-style canvas tents, comfy beds coated in Pendleton blankets, luxe rugs, lighting, and seating, and add-ons like beauty stations, fully stocked bars, and yummy s'more kits. Want tips from the masters to glam up your own adventure into the wild? Just click through. They're showing you how it's all done, right here.
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Mike and Kelsey, setting up camp with Pendleton blankets and pretty printed pillows.

What were you both doing before Shelter Co.?
Kelsey: "I was the Creative Director at Alison Events, an event planning and design firm here in the city. Mike was working at Ohio Design, which is a custom-furniture fabricator, also in the city."

How did you meet and have you worked together before?
"We met in college down in Santa Barbara. After 11 years together this is our first joint business venture, although he's built a lot of items for me over the years for events."

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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A look at a Shelter Co. tent, set up on the awe-inspiring grounds of Campovida.

How would you describe a Shelter Co. experience?
"The Shelter Co. experience is a luxurious way to enjoy the outdoors. Our setups allow people to unplug, get back to nature, and unwind without having to rough it and feel exhausted at the end of the trip. Camping is tiring! By removing all the pre-planning and labor to set up camp, our clients can enjoy the best things about camping without all the hassle. And you can't beat sleeping on a real bed in the forrest!"

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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Kelsey adding some greenery and pinecones to the setup.

What's the best part of working with your spouse?
"Getting to travel together. We just did a job in Santa Fe, which was awesome. I have traveled for work for years, but only got to bring Mike along every once in a while. Now we can go together, which is really fun."

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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Adding batik pillows and jute rugs are a quick way to glamp up your own outdoor experience.

What types of objects did you decide upon to create these luxe tents?
"We wanted our tents to have a classic camp feel while also maintaining a high level of comfort and luxury. I grew up camping, so I have a lot of memories of the classic camp gear that was pulled out of our shed every summer. We took some of those iconic items (lanterns, Pendletons) and added in our own spin (down comforters, wood-side tables, jute rugs) to complete the look."

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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Mike sets up one of the company's Euro-style canvas tents.

If someone wanted to "glamp" themselves, what tips would you give them for doing it DIY style?
"I think the most important things to think about is sleeping comfort (cozy bedding, good mattress, warm blankets), well-stocked supplies (plenty of lanterns, proper cookware, warm clothes, a headlamp, plenty of firewood), and elevated food selections (good whisky, wine and cheese, gourmet s'mores). If you focus on those areas, your camping experience will feel special and much more luxurious."

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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A look at the indoor setup, which includes a comfy bed, classic Coleman lanterns, animal-skin rugs, and bold Pendleton blankies.

When you guys camp these days, do you glamp?
"We fall somewhere in the middle of regular camping and glamping. I'm not one for sleeping on the floor or eating beans out of a tin can, but I also don't mind roughing it a little and coming home a bit dirty."

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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Let there be (Coleman) light!

Does the word glamping annoy you?
"I think it is a word that helps people wrap their heads around what we are trying to accomplish and realize that there is more to enjoying the outdoors than going backpacking with a sleeping bag and two-man tent. But the word itself is a little obnoxious."

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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These leather seats sure do beat run-of-the-mill cheap plastic chairs.

What tips can you give our readers to successfully entertain outdoors?
"Lighting is key, whether it's candle light, lantern light, or stringer lights. A low-lit glow makes any environment feel magical. And don't forget the bug spray and citronella candles. Nothing ruins an outdoor meal like a swarm of bugs."

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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Kelsey strikes a pose before getting down to work.

What can we expect from Shelter Co. in the near and far future?
"We are adding a lot more property partners to our list for additional camping options next year. We are also working on a Shelter Coachella Camp in the desert next year, which would be really fun for concert goers. More news to come!"

For more on Shelter Co., including rates, click here!

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux

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