Noe Valley Voice March 2001

Store Trek

Store Trek is a regular Voice feature profiling new stores and businesses in Noe Valley and surrounding neighborhoods. This month we introduce an exotic rug emporium at 24th and Church, a doctor and an architect (who happen to be married to one another), and a constellation of small shops in "Baja Noe Valley" at 22nd and Guerrero streets.

Nomad Rugs

1195 Church Street at 24th Street


Nomad Rugs wants to be your neighborhood resource for handmade tribal weavings from Central Asia and the Middle East.

So in December, Nomad's owner, Chris-topher Wahlgren, picked up his carpets and moved from a small storefront at 22nd and Guerrero to more spacious quarters at Church and 24th streets. (You also may know Wahlgren from Artemisia, on Diamond Street. He shared garage space with the Mexican crafts shop before opening his own store.)

"Noe Valley is a vital neighborhood, and there is a lot going on," says Wahlgren, who has lived near 24th and Guerrero for the past seven years

His new shop (in the old Lovejoy's location) has four times the room of the 22nd Street store. Also, during remodeling, Wahlgren raised the ceiling and installed better lighting to show off the intricate details of the 500 carpets in his inventory.

Most of his rugs are made from wool, dyed with natural dyes. "I like the geometric patterns and bolder colors of the tribal rugs," says Wahlgren. "They are more exciting and more authentic than the floral designs, which people used to consider the classic Persian carpet."

Wahlgren travels around the world in search of his wares -- to Iran, India, Afghanistan, and the Caucasus. "I love to deal directly with the weavers and see the care that goes into making the rugs."

He stocks rugs from the Cultural Survival Project, which supports traditional weavers, including Turkmen refugees in Pakistan and Tibetan refugees in Nepal. Wahlgren also supports a cottage industry in Turkey called the Ipek Yolu, or Silk Road, in which a dyer supplies wool to women working in their homes.

At his new store, rugs, in short stacks, cover the floor. Among the standouts are a 7-by-10 Turkmen with a salmon-and-navy diamond design ($2,100), an 8-by-10 Indian weaving in celadon and pale blue ($2,400), and an 8-by-11 carpet in a red, blue, and vanilla pattern from Kazakh-stan ($3,200). Prayer rugs, throw pillows, flat-woven kilims, and other textiles for walls or furniture abound. And if you live in a Victorian, Wahlgren has a nice selection of runners "for those long hallways."

Home trials are recommended. "Taking home several rugs can really show a person how rugs work inside the home," says Wahlgren.

Nomad sells carpet pads, too, and provides services such as appraisal, delivery, and carpet cleaning. In addition, the shop can repair fringes and holes.

For a sampling of the rugs in stock, along with prices and individual histories, check out Nomad's very informative web site at

The shop is open daily, except Mondays, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

--Alison Pence

Levy Art and Architecture

3850 23rd Street at Vicksburg


Ross Levy and his wife Daphne Miller (and then-infant daughter Arlen) discovered Noe Valley the way many do: by accident. "We were looking for a home in a nice neighborhood when we heard about this great probate sale," Levy says.

The fates smiled, and the family landed their house in outer Noe Valley, or inner Glen Park. Five years later, Daphne Miller, M.D., practices medicine on Church Street (see next item), and husband Ross Levy runs an architectural practice at Levy Art and Architecture on the corner of 23rd and Vicksburg streets.

Levy's office, opened in November 1999, is a small, pleasant, no-frills space, where many phones, each with a different ring, jingle constantly and a small army of people runs to answer them. The firm does renovations and new construction, and specializes in jobs that are environmentally responsible, using nontoxic materials and alternative energies.

You can see Levy's work in neighborhood spots like Cafe J on Church Street, a modernistic house at 65 Grand View, and the units in progress at Sanchez and Duncan, where the blue restaurant controversy took place a few years before Levy came on the scene ("There's No Green Light for That Blue Place," Voice October 1995).

Art from local artists adorns his office walls, and Levy tries to support the artist community by selling their work and holding openings in his shop. "We like to feel our work is artistic, too," he says.

No stranger to the area, Levy Art and Architecture was previously located in the old laundromat space where Chenery and Whitney intersect. Now Levy and Miller have planted more roots in the neighborhood: Daughter Arlen, now 6, is attending Synergy School. They also have a son, 2-year-old Emet, who goes to Debra King School. The foursome can be seen shopping at MikeyTom Market and, when their schedules permit, riding their bikes through the neighborhood.

Levy, who grew up in Palos Verdes, says, "I could use it a little warmer here," but as he watches his business grow and his wife's practice prosper, he says he is sure they are here to stay.

-- Doug Konecky

Daphne Miller, M.D.

1448 Church Street at Cesar Chavez


To many Noe Valleyans, the loss of Wind in the Willows at the corner of Church and Cesar Chavez this past June was a bitter pill to swallow. (High rents forced the 27-year-old nursery school to find new digs on Monterey Boulevard.)

But spirits perked up in September, when Daphne Miller, a physician and neighborhood mom, opened a family practice in the now-partitioned building at 1444 Church Street.

Miller's specialty is women's health, but as a family practitioner she provides the full spectrum of adult and pediatric medicine. She offers immunizations, well-baby checkups, pap smears, nutritional advice, stress reduction, and treatment for anything from colds and flu to heart disease and diabetes. She also speaks English, Spanish, and French.

Miller prides herself on treating the whole person, not just a set of physical symptoms. "I look at the sum total of what's going on, not only with the body but with the person's relationships -- their total environment."

She also tries to balance Western medicine with alternative approaches. And, she makes house calls. "A visit with a newborn in the home at two or three days old allows me to do a full assessment," says Miller. "I check for lead paint in the house, see how mom and child are bonding, and see how nursing is going."

One home visit she made recently gave her an important clue as to what ailed her 92-year-old patient. "She'd been to other specialists, but still a swelling in her legs persisted. I went to her house, and I saw the chair she sits in most of the day. That was the problem. The best thing I did for her that day was to simply rearrange some furniture to improve her circulation!"

Miller is a private doctor and is not under contract with a health insurance plan (other than Medicare). This means that patients pay her directly, and it's up to them to get reimbursement from their insurance provider. She does, however, offer sliding-scale fees -- $80 to $150 for the initial one-hour office visit or a house call; $45 to $90 for follow-up visits -- and she will submit patients' bills to their insurance as a courtesy.

Currently, Dr. Miller has privileges at California Pacific Medical Center and San Francisco General Hospital. Before opening her practice in Noe Valley, she worked and taught in a faculty practice at the University of California at San Francisco. She graduated from Harvard Medical School and has been practicing medicine since 1993.

Miller says 80 percent of the patients she sees at her Church Street office live nearby. "Most of them walk here from home." In fact, so does Miller, who resides on the border between Noe Valley and Glen Park with her husband, architect Ross Levy (see above), and their two children, Arlen, 6, and Emet, 2.

Five months after she launched her practice, Dr. Miller is pleased to report that her patient list is growing rapidly. In February she led a pediatric first-aid workshop at Natural Resources on Castro Street. "My whole dream about how to provide family practice is starting to work."

Office hours are Monday, noon to 5 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Wednesday, 1 to 7 p.m.; and the first Saturday of the month, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For an appointment, call 415-642-0333. To find out more information, go to "Dr. Daphne's" web site at

-- Heidi Anderson


3416 22nd Street at Guerrero



3412 22nd Street at Guerrero


A couple of small boutiques have blossomed at the corner of 22nd and Guerrero, an area often dubbed Baja Noe Valley or the Trans-Mission.

If you're looking for inexpensive furniture and housewares from the '40s, '50s, and '60s, check out Lemonade at 3416 22nd Street. Marina Avila is the owner and collector of the shop's nostalgia, and has been at the 22nd Street location for two years.

"I try to find functional items, and I like to keep them in their original condition," she says. "My family lived on Fair Oaks Street, and we always went to garage sales and the Penny Market flea market in Alameda."

Avila keeps her eye out for collectibles with style. "But I also like to help my customers think of new ways to use old things," she says.

In Lemonade in January, I found a distressed dresser that could be used in the kitchen or dining room to hold linens or appliances; old bottles that would make attractive bud vases; and a selection of letters from old signs and marquees that could give a living space just the right architectural punch.

Avila carries a few new items as well, such as soaps by the European Soap Company, in bars or tiny squares, and candles by Votivo to create fragrance in the home. The shop is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

Next door to Lemonade, at 3412 22nd Street, is Flirt, a coquettish little store featuring gifts for home and body. Owned by Jane Hartmann, Flirt opened in August under the sign of the red handbag.

Hartmann attended the Academy of Art and favors the work of Alexander Calder, which is perhaps why her bud vases are made with wire and her candleholders are adorned with beads ($20).

Hartmann shares studio space with a friend who makes handbags, and other local artists contribute jewelry and notecards. You can find super-soft slippers with bright silk flowers ($48), handknit wool shawls made by "the lady across the street" ($105), and silk charmeuse scarves with velvet patterns ($68).

"This is fun for me," says Hartmann. "I grew up around retail, my parents were in retail, and my two sisters are in retail."

"Think fun things for chicks," she says, and you'll have a good line on Flirt, open Thursdays, 4 to 7 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 6 p.m.; and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m.

* * *

Incidentally, nestled between Lemonade and Flirt is Shear Delight, a sunny, two-chair hair salon at 3414 22nd Street. You may recognize the name because the shop used to be located on 24th Street.

Craig Morton, the owner, has been cutting hair at Shear Delight since 1979. He moved the salon from 24th Street (near Diamond) in 1994. "I love our new location," says Morton. "We're off the beaten path, parking is easier, and we're more convenient to BART and Muni."

Morton shares his shop with Andrea Taylor, who has been cutting hair in the Noe Valley area for seven years. Taylor is a sales representative for Artec products, and does a lot of color, Morton says. "We do cuts, perms, and color--but no nails or facials," he advises.

Morton works Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Taylor is in the shop Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. ­ 7 p.m. Shear Delight's phone number is 415-285-4243.

--Alison Pence