Elixir Road Trip: Mr. Toad’s Styled Ride

[Alyson Kuhn] At Elixir Design in San Francisco, the summer solstice is the occasion for an annual retreat known as the Elixinox. I, as a frequent Elixir collaborator, am always honored to participate. Last Monday, after our year-in-review, brainstorming session, and lunch… we toured the town. Hop on!


From the mundane… to the sublime: It’s true, our 1924 Yellowstone stopped at Kinko’s so Kyle could FedEx a package. That’s Jen’s head draped in a plaid fleece, and Alyson’s hand kuhnfirming that her outer ear is chilled. The Yellowstone is an open-air conveyance, which is great for picture-taking. Next stop: Glen, our driver from Mr. Toad’s Toursdeposited us at the top of the Lyon Street Steps and picked us up three blocks below. On our way down, we admired “Migrant Heart,” painted by Hung Liu for the Hearts in San Francisco fundraiser in 2004. Senator Dianne Feinstein won the heart at auction and keeps it out in front of her home.


In the Presidio: We stopped at a scenic outlook and looked out at one of the world’s most recognizable views. We also went to Inspiration Point, from which you can see all the way down to the Marina and San Francisco Bay. When you turn around, Andy Goldsworthy’s Spire is right across the road. It’s 100 ft. tall, made from 37 cypress trunks, and there are rows of seedlings planted all around it. The long-range plan is that the new trees will eventually grow taller than the sculpture, which will disappear into the proverbial forest.


We drove through Sea Cliff, passing Robin Williams’s house, the Palace of the Legion of Honor, Seal Rock Inn {where Hunter S. Thompson was “imprisoned” to finish Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas}, the Cliff House, and the windmill in Queen Wilhelmina’s Tulip Garden. At the Beach Chalet, we admired the Lucien Labaudt murals, cases of ephemera, stair railings with octopus newel posts, and this mosaic plaque out in front. Back in Pacific Heights, we saw Mrs. Doubtfire’s house and other Victorians, including Painted Ladies, Queen Anne’s, Wedding Cakes… and some Italianate gems {which inspired my seat-neighbor, tipo-fanatico Nate Durrant, to toy with designing a font called Italia Nate}. As for the architectural newcomers, we took Glen’s word for it that the security robot guarding this one has anatomically-correct movable parts that light up at night.


We wended our way to the Mission District, where we stood in line at Bi-Rite Creamery for Straus organic ice cream. Balsamic Strawberry, Salted Caramel, Honey Lavender, Mint Chip… and then Glen dropped us at the beginning of Balmy Alley, and we walked to the other end, checking out the Precita Eyes murals. Back into the Yellowstone for the last time… all the way up Van Ness Avenue to Elixir… the same day we left. How wow. {You can see a few more details right here.}

Photos: Kyle Pierce and Scott Hesselink {except for our group portrait, taken by Glen}.

Alyson Kuhn, the editor of Felt & Wire, is a native San Franciscan. When she was 18, she rode an elevator to the top of one of the towers on the Golden Gate Bridge, climbed a little ladder, and learned that on a clear day, you actually can see forever.

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Comments (1)

  1. Posted by JulesLA on 06.29.09 at 12:19 pm

    Now we’ll all want to work with Elixir!

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