Save This Shop’s Gridded Walls for the Next Time You Want to Paint a Small Space
Hint: It’s better to go big.
Published Oct 4, 2023 1:45 AM
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Walking into longtime editor and Domino contributor Angela Tafoya’s newly opened secondhand children’s clothing store in San Francisco is like taking a step back in time—but not to a specific era. More simply, Noomoon makes you feel like a kid again. “The inspiration was seeing a space the way a child would. Everything is blown up and has a Surrealist vibe to it,” says Tafoya. The ceiling, floor, and checkout station are painted in an extra-large grid treatment that makes you feel like you’re inside a retro video game or a big box of wrapping paper.
When it came to conceptualizing the whimsical design, Tafoya turned to local interior prop stylist Rosy Fridman, who knew right away that the tiny 350-square-foot space would lend itself to an experiential approach. “It’s so fun to create an experience in a small space because it doesn’t get as diluted as it would in a large space,” notes Fridman. After toying around with the grid layout in SketchUp, she realized bigger is better in this case: They landed on repeating 2-by-2½-foot squares for the pattern. “When I saw what Rosy was proposing, it was far outside what I had originally been thinking, but that’s what I loved about it,” recalls Tafoya.
As for the execution of the next-level paint job, Tafoya’s husband, Eric Bailey, a graphic designer with a fine painting background, did a lot of the nitty-gritty work. Because the plan was to leave around one-quarter of the room (where the clothes racks are) a solid color, the first step was to drench the entire store (a sprayer was a must-have!) in lilac, specifically a dusty purple color called Gin Blossoms by Backdrop.
A few coats—and a few days—later, Tafoya and Bailey tarped off the solid-colored side of the shop and applied quality painter’s tape over everything else. To ensure straight and even lines, they used a light level to guide them. “That took another three days,” says Tafoya.
Finally, the couple went over the gridded surfaces with a few coats of Miami Parasol, also from Backdrop. While Tafoya’s itch to peel back the strips of tape was strong, she patiently waited for everything to dry to keep the lines as clean and even as possible, minimizing the need for touch-ups.
To bring the vision for the shop full circle, Tafoya and Fridman introduced other oversize details, like chunky, round clothing rack dividers and puffy pillow letters by soft sculpture artist Elena Stonaker that spell out N-O-O-M-O-O-N. While a perfect place for kids and kids at heart, Noomoon’s goal is also to be a hub for the community. “Yes, it’s a kids’ clothing store, but I really envision the space as a catalyst for people to meet, to have pop-ups, to do book readings,” shares Tafoya. Paint was just the beginning.