To Nick Wilkinson, artist and proprietor at Left Field in San Luis Obispo, keeping plants in your home is more than just a way to fill space on your shelves. "Placing the outside landscape into the home is a way for us all to not only soften the hard architectural elements of our spaces," he says, "but also brings that inspiration that only nature can provide, right into our daily lives."
It's this pastoral influence that was the driving factor for Wilkinson to open Left Field. In 2005, after finding himself in a job he found slightly unfulfilling and in possession of more than three hundred plants and pieces of vintage pottery, Wilkinson bought a plant nursery in nearby Cambria, CA, and began selling plants and objects that piqued his interest. Eighteen months ago, Wilkinson opened Left Field in downtown San Luis Obispo, focusing on "curating the space towards unusual goods and original art for the home, with plants being the supporting cast," he says. The bright and airy store, packed with vintage signs, unusual objets d'art, African masks, Mexican and Native American rugs, and, of course, plants, was an instant hit in town.
"I have essentially set myself up over the years as the guy who sells just about anything that I find interesting and valid to use as home decor," Wilkinson says. Relationships formed over more than ten years of hunting for unique items in unexpected places and befriending artists and dealers have given Wilkinson a rare pipeline for uncommon objects. "I stick to purchasing things and showing work that inspires me. We're constantly trying to push the envelope," Wilkinson says.
Below, Wilkinson shares items from Left Field that will bring a quirky California cool into your own home.
Pot by Mike Cone Pottery, $150, mikecone.com
"Mike's work is some of our favorite and best-selling pottery. His use of shapes are reminiscent of cactus bodies and spiky pods from his native Phoenix, Arizona, and are so sculpturally appealing."
Vintage Ghanaian barber sign, $400, leftfieldslo.com
"These authentic barber signs from Ghana are just so cool. We've got a great collection of them we bought many years ago and have finally begun to sell them off, along with some old handpainted movie posters from the same time period."
Various minerals and crystals, $15–$45, leftfieldslo.com
"We are constantly looking for reasons to bring minerals into our homes, and you should too. Not unlike bringing nature inside with plants, minerals all have positive energy properties and are all so different, bringing a little sculpture to a desk top or kitchen table. Do it and feel good vibes."
Painted face planter by Ben Sanders, $350, bensandersstudio.com
"These handpainted face pots by our good friend Ben Sanders are a must for anyone looking for a one-of-a-kind piece. You can't look at them and not smile! Seriously, try it."
Tillandsia on cork, $50, leftfieldslo.com
"We absolutely adore these large Tillandsia (air plants) wired onto cork. Water and bright light are needed, but care is minimal for these guys. Another great way to make plants more sculptural and to bring nature into the house!"
To explore more uncommon home goods curated by Left Field, check out leftfieldslo.com.