Known for elevated entertaining essentials and home decor with a crisp, fresh sensibility, retail shop Hudson Grace has established itself as a go-to shop for stylish Californian's in the know. You can find their tightly edited offering, including oversized white serving platters, the perfect drinking glasses, giant wooden bowls alongside their private label Spanish olive oil and scented candles. They opened in 2012 on San Francisco's Sacramento Street, and you can now find them in all the most memorable places-- Montecito, Palo Alto, Marin, and the Brentwood Country Mart. Helmed by longtime friends Williams-Sonoma alum Monelle Totah and Gary McNatton, a former Gap VP, the two founders go out of their way to unearth unique and timeless finds that pass the test of their unerring eye. This summer, they partner with Serena + Lily, a like-minded California lifestyle brand, and are offering their tabletop assortment and more to Hampton-goers in Serena + Lily's Beach Market in Wainscott. I got the chance to catch up with Monelle and Gary, who share more on this summer retail fling, below.
Your sensibility has a fresh California vibe. Why are you excited to be in the Hamptons?
HG: The Hamptons and California have so much in common. We all enjoy our weekends; we love to entertain at home – unlike in the city where we always go out. There is a shared easy, casual elegance in the way we live.
What’s going to appeal most to the customers in this market?
HG: I think the Luce Trays will be very popular – they are perfect to use as plates for a clam bake or piled up with soft shell crab or lobster rolls. With all of these beautiful fruit stands everyone needs one of our berry bowls. It’s an antique reproduction of a cheese strainer we found in a Paris flea market. Our bold linen napkins are dyed, cut and sewn in San Francisco and perfectly generous in size. And our dish soap. It’s too beautiful to put under the counter with an image of precariously stacked dishes on the package – an image reminiscent of the end of the evening after so many great parties. It’s a unique fragrance of tart kumquat and has a cult following among our California customers.
The collaboration with Serena + Lily is so natural, they seem like the perfect partner. How did The Pop Up come about?
HG: They came to us and invited us and we were thrilled. We’re excited there is a possibility of us working together in other locations too. Our brands are very complimentary too. Our simple purity balances with their decorative patterns and prints.
There is a fascination with California style right now – and it’s not fleeting. It’s the dream of sun, surf and sand all year round. How does this come to life in your design ethos?
HG: We feel that there is a great appreciation for the California lifestyle because so much is happening at the moment in design and technology. There is a real appreciation for the casual way we live and work. Casual for us means style + ease. We remove the fuss and play up the simple. Abundance, oversized, easy care, a white on white color scheme and when the color comes in it’s well chosen, glows in the sun or the candlelight, and makes a big statement. Less is more.
Talk about the essence of quintessential California entertaining and how your specialized assortment embodies that spirit.
HG: In California (and in the Hamptons) entertaining is about elegance and simplicity. There is an ease about it. And our pieces embody that through clean silhouettes and functionality. We focus on origin and authenticity, weight and balance. And always an approachable price.
Ultimately it’s about being a confident entertainer. Nothing bums us out more than when someone says they are nervous to entertain because they don’t have the right napkins, or don’t know what to serve dinner on. You build up your pantry with the right pieces and you can be prepared for any gathering. Then you can be creative, and then the star is the food, the conversation, the people. it’s like having just the right outfit for a party - you feel great!
Who is your design mentor when it comes to Hudson|Grace?
Gary: Calvin Klein for his pure designs and the idea that less is more. When we design we always take away, take away, take away, until what remains is functional and beautiful and can work in any type of home.
Monelle: Chuck Williams (founder of Williams-Sonoma) who taught me about authenticity and originality and guided me to always go to the source.
All-white tabletop makes the food you serve look even more enticing. And what's better than a rainbows-worth of linen napkins!
Signature scented candles, white marble serving boards and bright white pepper mills await...
Hello, black flatware, aren't you chic? Just the basics-- from the perfect drinking glasses to private label Spanish olive oil await.