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The Touch

They’ve got it

  • The Touch
    956 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (Map)
    (415) 550-2640

I recently read that household décor design is the art of our time. Though that’s a bold statement, I agree with it to some extent. I’m obsessed with home décor. I bookmark websites like http://www.shelterrific.com and http://www.thecoolhunter.net/ for frequent visits, salivating over the rich colors and lines, even though I have no use for the household goods they link to as I live in an in-law about the size of a hotel room.

I’m sure my fascination is a continuation from hours spent while in high school browsing through antique stores at items that were not meant to be thrown away as quickly as an IKEA lamp. As such, I was attracted to the vintage furniture store on the corner of Valencia and Liberty Streets in the Mission known as The Touch.

Owner David Chen’s interest in furniture came from assisting his sister and owner of Therapy, which started as a furniture-only store on Valencia in the Mission. As Therapy’s stock morphed to include more gifts and clothes, David decided to open up a shop with the same type of mid-century modern furniture down the block about four years ago.

When you walk in the store, you might think it’s a sleepy little place where not much happens. When I visited on Saturday afternoon, the owner and another gentleman were playing dominoes in the back corner near the cash register, obscured by the chairs piled on top of tables that could use a dusting. I figured with the way everything was set up that the merchandise doesn’t move that fast. But it really isn’t that slow in there. Over the hour I was in the store, I watched chairs, lamps and bowls leave with their new owners.

Though many local couples come in browsing for a piece of practical and comfortable furniture to feather their nest, collectors come in here, too, because they know it has a reputation for being a good place to find an affordable piece to complete or continue a collection. The aisles are narrow and cluttered, but take your time and you will see great pieces emerge from the colorful chaos of hospital green, burnt orange, dark brown and sunny yellow furniture favored in the mid 20th century, much of it Danish modern.

As I navigated through the stock, a sampling of items throughout the store included a long teak coffee table with magazine rack for $650.00, a Danish modern teak serving cart for $250.00, and an Art Deco walnut armoire with intricate metal handles for $495.00. I loved the Scandinavian teak credenza, in which I could imagine someone locking away their finest dinnerware from the kids or their best booze from their drunken friends for $850.00.

Among some of the collectable name items in the store were the Gordon & Jane Martz lamp combined with a pebbled table for $395.00, a large Kurt Ostervig sofa with tan upholstery for $1750.00 and the Russell Wright Conant Ball dining table with two leaves for $1250.00, perfect for someone with a small space who needs to expand their dining area on special occasions. If you needed chairs for that table, you could add the Scandinavian teak ladder back chairs for $450.00.

Some of the more unique pieces included a three-piece hospital green table/stool set in fake leather for $350.00. Another cool item in a grouping of three was the set of nest tables with sunburst-like orange, yellow and brown for $245.00. Other accent pieces included a side table made of Lucite for $195.00, a wooden hall tree umbrella stand for $250.00 or green and black dental cabinet from the 1950s for $1250.00.

There are also a few accessories that dot the store, like a clear globe ice bucket with yellow and gray stripes with a silver handle for $45.00 or a stainless steel “Royal of Holland” ice bucket for $75.00. You could match the silver bucket with a Danish covered dish for $36.00. “Made in Denmark” is a common mark on the merchandise found on items throughout the store, like a yellow wooden candlestick for $12.00 and the nine piece set of black bowls with bright orange lining the inside for $285.00.

For those who can’t handle a little dust and need everything laid out in neat order, this isn’t the place for you. But for those with a little patience, imagination, and a love of mid-20th century furniture, you are likely to come out of here with a good deal to adorn your happy home.