Perhaps you have never considered your coffee cup to be a piece of art. For Catherine Bailey, co-owner and creative director at Heath Ceramics, however, such practical, everyday pieces play a pivotal role in shaping the aesthetic of her home. “Even this small teapot by Akio Nukaga makes a big statement in defining the style of my kitchen,” she explains. “It paves the way for the contrast of color and texture that I wanted to have around me.” Based in Sausalito, California, just a short drive over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, Heath Ceramics has been producing locally-made homeware since 1948. When Bailey and her partner, Robin Petravic, bought the company nearly six decades later, they continued its lineage of traditional hand-glazed tiles and handcrafted ceramic pieces. Bailey, who loves the “warmth and expression” of ceramics, encourages her customers to build collections that marry functionality with an appreciation for the art form. “For the tabletop, start with the basics: a dinner plate, cereal bowl, salad plate, and a large and medium serving bowl,” she advises. “These pieces can serve multiple uses. A good mug is also essential.” And, for newcomers to the world of ceramics, she is pragmatic about which pieces can be overlooked. “Some of the formal functional pieces are probably not worth investing in. As much as I love a classic teacup, a whole set is seldom used and in my kitchen—there’s just not room to store them,” she says. Instead, Bailey recommends investing in a statement piece that brings flair to your home, like a bowl in a contrasting glaze or shape to your dinnerware, or a distinctive porcelain vase. Finally, she suggests approaching your collection with the inevitabilities of life in mind: “For the functional pieces, look for a line and a company that sticks behind their style and glazes for a long time. You’ll inevitably break a few pieces over time and you don’t want to have to start over because you can’t buy pieces to replace or at least fit with your set.” TwitterFacebookPinterest Related Stories Fashion Issue 19 Nick Wakeman Creating a menswear-inspired line for women, Nick Wakeman welcomes the challenges arising from forging new aesthetic territories. Design Issue 19 David Rager David Rager, co-founder of design firm Weekends, shares his tale of LA and Paris and how he makes time for life’s little distractions. Design Issue 19 A Day in the Life: Frida Escobedo With her own firm and scores of global projects in her inventive portfolio, this architect is transforming Mexico City, one artful building at a time. Design Issue 19 In Anxious Anticipation The effects of adrenaline are positively pulse-pounding, but the physical whoosh we feel in our bodies actually starts in our brains. Design Issue 18 Happiness by Design Think more like designers: The strategies employed to create a perfectly proportioned bookshelf can also be used to enhance our personal well-being. Design Issue 18 Sense in Symmetry From radial swirls to mirror images, the natural world often shows that there’s beauty in balance.