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Williams Sonoma sails through Design Review

Architectural details for Williams Sonoma’s heritage store, culinary school and restaurant sailed through the Design Review Commission without change Tuesday.

“It’s exciting for Williams Sonoma to come back home,” said Commissioner Kelso Barnett. “It’s a great project.”

The company plans to refurbish the original 638-square-foot store and modify the other two commercial spaces into a culinary school and a restaurant. The house at the rear of the storefronts will be rehabilitated and used to house visiting chefs.

“I love the ’50s retro feel,” said Chair Leslie Tippel. She was referring to the look of the store, originally modified and stocked by Chuck Williams, then a local homebuilder who lived in the building behind. Williams started a culinary revolution, introducing products and gadgets common in Europe, but unavailable to American homemakers. The store opened in 1956, but was so successful it closed and moved to San Francisco two years later. Now it is an iconic national chain.

Bud Cope, senior vice president for Williams Sonoma, said the “tribute” store will be one-tenth the size of the company’s normal stores and will stock the types of products Williams sold originally. The culinary school will feature visiting chefs and a dozen students. The restaurant already on the site will be expanded.


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