Grant Dillon muses with long time friend Joel Rickert about his past, present,
passions and inspirations about home.
demonstrated an ability to create a personal environment of warmth, comfort
and distinction. "I used to change rooms and move furniture while my mother
was working." "She understood and encouraged my passion from an early
age." "I have always been inspired by her decorating flair and ingenuity of
products and objects she would incorporate into our ever changing homes."
learned to be industrious from an early age. "She would take me on these day
long thrift store journey's when I was a little boy, beaming with whatever
treasure she would come across and we would end up transporting home in her
Volkswagen Beetle." "We hauled everything but the kitchen sink in that little
car, actually we hauled a bathroom sink!" "I hated it, in those days people just
didn't shop thrift stores, it wasn't something I appreciated by any means, I
hadn't realized how ahead of her time she was." Ms. Butler lived in San
Francisco in the 1940's & 50's as a young girl working at such San Francisco
landmarks as "The Fairmont Hotel" as a hat-check girl, The Actors Club, where
she met prominent entertainers and "The Purple Onion." To satisfy her creative
nature she began making draperies for friends and then had orders from
businesses and offices, the ever busy and talented woman instilled in her
children the creative drive that has kept her thriving today.
Grant's brother Michael Files is a Sacramento artisan, "Mike is a Virgo
perfectionist whose talents range from photography to metal sculpture and most
recently he's added to his repertoire tattooing." Mike is a natural, any creative
endeavor he attempts he does wonderfully.
Grant began working for prominent Interior Decorator Mildred Reis which
allowed him entry into the actual business of interior design. "Ms. Reis had
such confidence in my abilities, even at 20 years old she allowed me free rein
with her stores window displays and then into the showroom." "She was such
a sweet woman bringing me sandwiches everyday and making an "official"
lunch hour where we had to sit together and just chat." "I am ever grateful for
her taking me under her wing." Never having officially studied interior design
didn't hinder Grants developing talents. "I have always enjoyed manipulating
an environment, taking something inexpensive and in such a raw state and
transforming it into something of beauty that's livable, comfortable and
furniture store in San Francisco's eclectic Mission District. "One of the hardest
things I've ever done, with great rewards and great heartaches." "Greenhaven"
encompassed 8,000 square feet, employed 10 and was direct import of 1920's to
1960's English and Scandinavian furniture. "Joe went to Denmark and England
and made contacts which began the overseas pipeline of 40 foot containers of
furniture heading across the seas to our store." "Have you ever unloaded a 40
foot trailer rig piled high with furniture?, I hope I never do again!"
"Greenhaven" eventually incorporated new home furnishings such as candles,
wrought iron, pottery and paper goods in with the vintage furniture making it a
mix of new and vintage. "We had a great unique combination, I hadn't seen it
done before, and still haven't today on the scale that we did it." "Putting a price
tag on my passion really changed things, it was a challenge to say the least."
"Another store is in my future but small, small, small, someplace I can hang the
"Gone to Lunch" sign and not worry about when I return."
Grant quotes his decorating style as "fashion", changing with the seasons. "I
used to think of my apartments like a stage set, I would be changing scenes
monthly, very theatrical." "I enjoy layering, maybe too much, a room should
appeal to all of your senses, sight, sound, touch, smell and yes, even taste." "I've
invested more in creating a lasting effect that goes beyond "seasonal rooms." "So
much in our world today is really ugly, neglected, shabby and sad looking, the
threshold for good taste has gotten so low or is just not existent in so much of
the country, it's dismal." Grant's inspiration for creating an environment is
drawn from childhood, friends, movies, "anything that pulls at your emotions."
"I'm nostalgic, I love the theatrics and drama of decors of yesteryear, you just
don't see that kind of detail and style in this country anymore." I remember
fabulous colorful candy shops, Polynesian Tiki cocktail bars, and geometric
googie styled shopping centers so full of personality, creativity and style." "What
will children today remember from their childhoods in terms of aesthetics?"
Northern California, there is a different sensibility there." Grant enjoys the
Mediterranean climate of Southern California which allows him to "decorate"
outdoors in his European inspired garden. "The weather in SoCal lends itself to
having a garden fit for a Tuscan villa." Grant spends his time decorating on a
personal level, entertaining friends, assisting with projects, and offering a hand
to those who want to take a journey into the world of decor.
and incorporate that into your life aesthetically, creating your own world."
Grant credits close friends for their contributions, "I'm so thankful to be
surrounded by creative minds, we all understand the obsessiveness that keeps
us moving on."
Embracing his passion for beauty Grant Dillon has brought a little creativity,
luxury and vintage style to today's everyday life.