Two retail pros open their own shop

Photographs of Hudson Grace at 3350 Sacramento Street by Matthew Millman

SACRAMENTO STREET’S collection of antique shops, interior designers and home accessory stores got a boost — in offerings and experience — when Hudson Grace opened at 3350 Sacramento a few weeks ago.

The new store is the brainchild of Monelle Totah and Gary McNatton, who helped build Williams-Sonoma, Banana Republic, the Gap and Restoration Hardware into international juggernauts.

“But I’ve always wanted to have my own store,” says Totah. “Gary, too.”

So instead of working on corporate stores around the globe, they decided to focus on just one: their own. And they wanted their “shared dream” to be on Sacramento Street. They named the store after their dogs, Hudson and Grace.

“I love this neighborhood,” says Totah, who lives nearby. “It was really the only street we wanted to be on. And the neighborhood has been so welcoming.”

Hudson Grace’s offerings, they say, are “items that make a house a home.” That includes their own line of white dinnerware, serving pieces, flatware, glassware, hand-dipped candles and “perfect linen napkins” in 21 colors. There is also a library of lavishly illustrated coffee table books on various designers and tastemakers.

“We blend simple design with the beautiful quality of European craftsmanship,” says the company manifesto. “We believe that in simplicity there is longevity.”

In many ways, the pair have been sourcing their store during the four decades of retail experience they bring to the undertaking.

“A lot of it comes from seeing beautiful product when we traveled,” says Totah. “It wasn’t hard for us to have a meeting of the minds.”

They both bring something personal to the store. For McNatton, a perfumer, that is scent. It includes home fragrance from the classic Cire Trudon line and scented candles developed specially for the store in collaboration with artist R. Nichols. Nichols will be in the store for the unveiling of three new fragrances on March 21 from 3 to 6 p.m.

Totah, an inveterate traveler, brings found objects from Europe — especially vintage hotel silver and serving ware.

“That’s a huge passion of mine,” she says. “On business trips I love antiquing.”

The store itself is a study in modern simplicity. It was designed by Michael Bodziner of the Gensler firm, who is McNatton’s partner.

“We made sure the store is beautiful,” says Totah, “but it shows off the product first.”

She says that despite their corporate backgrounds — or perhaps because of it — both she and McNatton like running their own store.

“We both love working with customers,” she says. “I think that’s important. For that reason we didn’t start with a website. I like customer interaction.”

Photographs of Hudson Grace by Matthew Millman