June 3, 2014


Images and text by Gabrielle. This post brought to you by EQ3 — celebrate their new flagship showroom in San Francisco and you could win EQ3 furniture!


Do you remember the origami-style paper lanterns I shared in my living room tour? Several readers asked about them and I got a kick out of telling them they came from a furniture store called EQ3 — EQ3 was one of my first discoveries when I moved back to the U.S.! So it felt like I was sharing a fun find. : )

EQ304 EQ314

We do a lot of our errands in Emeryville — it’s a nearby town where the big movieplexes and shopping centers are located. Best buy. Michaels. That sort of thing. (Fun fact: it’s also where Pixar is located, too!) Anyway, when we were still very new here, on our first visit to Emeryville, we were exploring a shopping center called Bay Street, and I noticed a store with long banners of Marimekko fabric hanging in the windows. Of course I was super curious.


It was called EQ3 and I had never heard of it. So I went in to explore and immediately felt like I’d found treasure! Such a great store. It’s full of furniture and homegoods — some items exclusive to EQ3 and some from brands you already know. Unusual things too — like the Marimekko section which is a mini-store within the store. Very cool!

EQ307 EQ302

EQ3 is based in Canada, and they are currently growing their presence here in the U.S.. Since I was already a fan, I was happy as can be when they reached out and told me about their new flagship showroom opening in San Francisco.

I got the chance to visit the day before it opened and shoot photos (the photos seen here in this post). The whole place has a terrific vibe — open and spacious and warm. If you’re in San Francisco, definitely take a peek. And if you’re nowhere near San Francisco, don’t despair, you can also check it out online. : )

EQ31 EQ301

One thing I noticed about EQ3 is that they really have a range of prices to fit a lot of different budgets. It’s a really modern and sleek showroom, so it could feel snooty, but it doesn’t. I feel like the prices reflect that. There are high-end lines like Herman Miller, and there are mid-range lines like the EQ3 original upholstered pieces with decent prices and a ton of fabric options.


But you can also pick up little things — like a pack of your Marimekko paper napkins!


A few of my favorites:

The Harvest Bench. When I was designing the living room, I considered these seriously for the window benches, but they weren’t quite long enough for my particular need. Still, it’s exactly the configuration I was looking for with the shelf beneath. (I wish I had the same shelves!) It would be perfect for coffee table books or extra blankets.


This handsome, unusual hamper caught my eye as well. It stores compactly and doesn’t feel like same old, same old. When it opens up, the holes become the handles!


I’m also way into these adaptable Mod Box Shelves! No big surprise — they remind me of the ones we built in the reading loft. But these have additional shapes and sizes, plus two finishes, plus you don’t have to build them yourself! : )


Lastly, I know I’ve mentioned Marimekko like a thousand times in this post, but I have good reasons: 1) Outside of a stand alone Marimekko shop, it’s unusual to find so much of their wares in one place — EQ3 even sells Marimekko fabric by the yard! And 2)  I’m sentimental about Marimekko, which I  know I’ve mentioned it before.

Growing up, our family had essentially zero budget for decorating the house, but my mom managed to make our home beautiful anyway, and give us some design training in the process. She loved Finnish design house, Marimekko, and saved up to buy a piece of their car fabric, then she used it to make a quilt for my brother’s bedroom. I felt so sentimental when I saw the fabric of my childhood in the store!

So there you go, a little introduction to EQ3, a store that may be new to you. And now I’d love to hear: have you ever visited one of there showrooms? And if you’re from Canada, do you already know all about it? Also, for those of you who are into design, do you remember the first designer/design company you were taught about or made aware of?

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cindi June 3, 2014 at 5:47 pm

I was so excited to see the Marimekko car fabric. I decorated our oldest son’s first room with that same fabric and wallpaper. It brought back wonderful memories. He is now 27 and newly married. My husband and I have relocated from Denver to Sunnyvale. CA for four months, so I am definitely going to visit the EQ3 store . Maybe I can buy the car fabric for my grandma hope chest.


2 Claire in Davis June 3, 2014 at 6:13 pm

what a lovely idea, Cindi! Your future grandchildren will be so lucky. (and your son and new DIL)


3 Design Mom June 3, 2014 at 8:16 pm

That sounds adorable, Cindi!


4 Claire in Davis June 3, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Oh, that car fabric! I grew up in a modest, cookie cutter house in the extreme north east — my mom also loved Marimekko and also got this car pattern for my brother’s room. Marimekko was new and European, but my mom kept her eye on it. The family trick was always to buy the largest available flat sheets when they went on sale (at that time, big sheets cost almost the same as twin bed ones) and make a duvet cover, with a cutout hole in the middle (using that fabric for pillow shams). As you can imagine no one bought the cars design in king sized so she got it very marked down. thanks for the tip about EQ3. sounds like just the perfect place to wander around and get inspired.

Thanks for


5 Design Mom June 3, 2014 at 8:15 pm

Love that sheet trick! Brilliant.


6 Tracy June 3, 2014 at 7:24 pm

I grew up with several Marimekko fabrics in my house because my grandmother and mother were/are fans (and I am 40!). My brother had the car fabric (called Bo Boo) in his room when we were growing up. I recently lived in Helsinki for 3 years and am considering using Bo Boo in my toddler’s bedroom. What’s old may be new again! I adore Marimekko fabrics and miss seeing them regularly!


7 Design Mom June 3, 2014 at 8:14 pm

If I had lived in Helsinki, I would totally use that as an excuse for buying all things Marimekko. : )


8 rachael June 3, 2014 at 7:31 pm

From Canada, already heard about it, but have never shopped there. Of course, things in Canada are always way more expensive than the States though. Maybe I’ll have to check it out.


9 Design Mom June 3, 2014 at 8:38 pm

I hope you like it, Rachael!


10 Kate June 3, 2014 at 8:41 pm

Sitting in my Toronto living room on a chair from EQ3, beside a lamp and a tv stand from EQ3. It’s a favourite in this house. They’ve got a good range of prices and pieces that feel both classic and modern. A few times my husband and I have thought, “if only we could find something with these dimensions in this colour for this room!” Then we walk in there and find it.


11 Design Mom June 4, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Love it! It’s fun for me to get to know a Canadian company.


12 Jamie | Jamie's Recipes June 3, 2014 at 9:33 pm

I noticed EQ3 products at our local furniture store (Nebraska Furniture Mart). It caught my eye because of the sleek modern lines which is far different than the very traditional furniture that store carries. I love what I’ve seen and I hope they start to carry more EQ3 products. We need style in the Midwest too :)


13 Design Mom June 4, 2014 at 2:04 pm

That’s right! I forgot you can sometimes find their pieces in other furniture stores. I remember seeing some of their products on Wayfair as well.


14 Celeste June 3, 2014 at 10:51 pm

My brother had the same car fabric in his bedroom when he was a little boy! I actually got chills when I scrolled down your post and saw that photo there–I hadn’t thought about his childhood bedroom in ages, and this just brought me back.


15 Design Mom June 4, 2014 at 2:04 pm

So fun!


16 Mary June 4, 2014 at 4:46 am

In the words of Yogi Berra, “It’s like deja-vu, all over again.”
I used the car fabric to make a large wall hanging (bought four wood interlocking frame pieces and stapled the fabric around them) for my oldest son’s room. He will be 40 this year. Good design is ageless.


17 Design Mom June 4, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Seems like it would be perfect for a wall hanging.


18 Caryn June 4, 2014 at 6:35 am

Oh! I’ve been looking for a hamper just like that. Any idea why they only ship to Canada? Am I missing something??


19 Amy | EQ3 Furniture June 4, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Hi Caryn! Yes, you’re at the right site. Thanks for visiting our site. Currently, online shopping is only available to Canadian customers, but we’re launching an U.S. E-Commerce site very soon!

If you’d like to be notified when the new site goes live, as well as receive other updates from EQ3, we’d love for you to sign up as an EQ3 Insider. The sign up bar is located at the bottom of the Canadian homepage.

Thank you,
Amy (EQ3 Marketing Team)


20 Design Mom June 4, 2014 at 2:08 pm

I don’t know if they carry the hamper, but I have seen a small assortment of EQ3 products on Wayfair — and they do ship to the U.S.. I just mention it in case it’s too hard to wait for the U.S. ecommerce site to open. : )


21 Heidi June 4, 2014 at 6:37 am

I’m from Canada and have known about EQ3 for quite a while. They have had the merrimekko wares more recently, and i only discovered so when a local coffee shop had a large piece tacked up on the wall as art. Time for a revisit!


22 Design Mom June 4, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Yes! Totally time for a revisit.


23 Annik June 4, 2014 at 10:04 am

Our EQ3 store in Ottawa is in a gorgeous three-storey heritage building in the Market area, close to Parliament Hill. You should come visit, Gabrielle!


24 Design Mom June 4, 2014 at 2:08 pm

Oh man. I really need to visit Ottawa.


25 JMAC June 4, 2014 at 10:36 am

As someone else mentioned, am I looking in the wrong place – web link says only ships to Canada and there is no link to US stores on the website.


26 Amy | EQ3 Furniture June 4, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Hi ‘JMAC’! Thanks for stopping by EQ3.com.

I’m sorry for the confusion. You are in the right place, unfortunately online shopping is currently only available to Canadian customers. This will be changing very soon, as we’re getting ready to launch an U.S. E-Commerce site!

If you’d like to be notified when the new site goes live, as well as receive other updates from EQ3, we’d love for you to sign up as an EQ3 Insider. The sign up bar is located at the bottom of the Canadian homepage.

Thank you,
Amy (EQ3 Marketing Team)


27 Barchbo June 4, 2014 at 11:19 am

My mom had very traditional New England design taste, but my sister was an early fan of Marimekko and still decorates with bold prints. I fell hard for Laura Ashley fabrics and Wedgewood china in middle school and used to save my pennies for both!


28 Design Mom June 4, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Isn’t it lovely to find a designer or pattern that you love and that sticks with you? So great.


29 Ann June 4, 2014 at 11:34 am

I really like those white chairs around the dining table but don’t see them on their site.


30 Design Mom June 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Hmm. Maybe they’re new? I’ll do a quick search and see if I can find them.


31 Design Mom June 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Are these the chairs you’re thinking of?


32 Jessica @ Little Nesting Doll June 4, 2014 at 12:00 pm

This is a new-to-me store, but I really like it, and I LOOOOVE the desk you pictured. I want three of them lined up for my boys to do their homework at…I love the little pops of color in the cubbies and the clean lines.


33 Design Mom June 4, 2014 at 2:00 pm

I’m crushing on the same desk. It’s just the right size and so good looking!


34 Amy | EQ3 Furniture June 4, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Thanks Gabrielle for the beautiful post! It was so great having you in the store last week. Hope to see you again soon. ;)


35 Design Mom June 4, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Loved getting to visit!


36 Alice June 5, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Is it lame that the first design company I was made aware of is IKEA? I have been collecting their catalogues since 1997 and can tell which pieces are from which era. Sad I know…


37 Kelly Payne June 6, 2014 at 8:30 am

I recently make a curtain out of the Marimekko Kaiku birch tree fabric bought from EQ3. It is a stunner for sure… and my sofa is from there too: http://sheyhome.com — ordered and 6 weeks later shipped from where it was made for me in Winnipeg to Toronto… a fabulous store!


38 Kelly Payne June 6, 2014 at 11:12 am

Also- did you know that Banana Republic has a Merimekko line out right now? http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/05/preview-marimekkos-collab-with-banana-republic.html



39 Design Mom June 6, 2014 at 4:05 pm

I had no idea! Thanks for the heads up. I’ll be near a Banana Republic tomorrow — I’ll be sure to check it out.


40 Kate the Great June 7, 2014 at 10:32 pm

EQ3 looks like Ikea. I kept flipping past the pictures on my feed so I could read the oldest stuff first, and I was convinced you had done a post about Ikea.

I don’t know whether I like this. Ikea’s store and wares are gorgeous, but the store is also a nightmare to negotiate and all their stuff is made in China.


41 Anna Culp June 8, 2014 at 9:33 pm

EQ3 looks great! I love Marimekko (I’m Finnish), and I work at a store in Minneapolis which is the biggest supplier of Marimekko in the U.S. (plus a lot of other Finnish goods such as Iittala glass): http://www.finnstyle.com/?gclid=CPWfzdHt674CFbRxMgod22YA5w
I promise I’m plugging only because you’re a fellow appreciator of Marimekko. ;)


42 Joanna Nousiainen June 10, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Don’t know if you knew but Marimekko ships to states so basically you can buy much more of their products online. https://us.marimekko.com/#US Random greetings from Finland ^_^y


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