Raised in a midwest farming town, John Pemberton discovered his eventual muse in the Shakers, whom he first encountered as a kid on a road trip through Kentucky. Known for their handcrafted wood furniture—and their method of hanging furnishings on pegs when not using them—the sect inspired in Pemberton an early appreciation of simplicity and functionality.
Two decades later, after moving into a cramped Outer Richmond studio, he adapted the dated peg concept for San Francisco renters. “I saw the Victorian picture rail as a version of the Shaker peg board—a way to get things off the floor and free up space,” he says. Pemberton, who has also worked at local furniture firm Ohio Design, built his first prototype at Tech Shop: a modular, customizable shelving system that hangs from Victorian picture rails. This fall, he partnered with a Bayview woodworker and metalsmith to launch Carlysle Manufacturing Company, bringing his sleek, sturdy wooden shelves to the masses. The space-saving ledges mount in less than a minute—just hook the rods over the top of the rail—sans screws, power drill, or stud finder.
The Goods—Picture rail–mounted shelving and lighting (From $150)
Find it—Maker and Moss, 364 Hayes St. (near Gough St.), 415-928-1287
Originally published in the December 2013 issue of San Francisco