About When Modern Was…

When Modern Was is a unique retail store featuring reinvented vintage furniture created by talented local craftspeople.

The When Modern Was Story

Dona has been a collector of vintage jewelry and found objects since the 1970’s.

Her San Francisco home has been featured on HGTV because of its fun and eclectic design quality. After many years of treasure hunting, she opened When Modern Was in 2007.

Since its opening, she has been busy traveling the States looking for the most creative craftspeople and manufacturers that feature currant styles and beautiful vintage furniture for her store.

When shopping for that special find, When Modern Was will take you to a place that tells the stories of times past and modern pieces to complement the old.

  • Treasure Hunting

    At WMW we hunt down pieces that you cannot find anywhere else. Always traveling throughout the country to find great objects for your home. Most buyers today don’t have the time or resources to hunt down the perfect piece. Leave it up to us, that’s what we do.

  • Craftsmanship

    All our furniture is solid wood with dovetail joints, the way it was made years ago. These creations will last you a lifetime.

  • Customer Service

    We are always available to help our customers with furniture placement, measurements and delivery.
    We can also take notes of what you are looking for and try to hunt it down through our resources and travels.

Meet The Team

Dona Taylor

Dona Taylor

Owner and Founder

Dona is the sole proprietor. She is in and out of the store most days so she can be there when furniture is delivered from the artists. Then comes the fun part, to rearrange the store to make room for all the new pieces. It is a constant visual reworking and placement of the furniture to get all to fit. So much fun for her!

Dona has owned and operated the most creative and unusual retail stores since 1980. She has opened over one dozen retail stores in Colorado, Berkeley and San Francisco. Her expertise is in retail set up, workstation placement, consultation and visual merchandising.

Karen Johnson

Karen Johnson

Annie Sloan Stockist

Karen Johnson is an artist and designer living in San Francisco. She is the founder of KismetSF and teaches Chalk Paint® classes at When Modern Was. Many of the restored pieces for sale at When Modern Was were created by Karen.



Pam has been with WMW for over 5 years. She has a wonderful following of dedicated customers.

Pam’s unique ability to assist in design decisions and provide excellent customer service is a core value of our store.



Monique brings European flair to WMW, with the ability to speak multiple languages she puts everyone at ease.

She is thoughtful, helpful, and always available with ideas to help you find the perfect gift. Be sure and say hi to her friend Sydney when you stop in!

Please get in touch with us via email any time!  We are happy to answer any questions you might have.

What Our Customers Are Saying…

Robin D.

I bought my favorite sideboard for my dining room, it is the most interesting piece in my home!

Robin D.San Mateo
Doreen P.

We found the greatest groupings of hand painted mirrors. We bought 4 of them and hung them in our entryway, now we can see everyone coming and going! Thank you WMW!

Doreen P.San Francisco
Janine T.

When Modern Was is my favorite store! Always filled with outrageous finds. Keep it up!

Janine T.Napa
Joey B.

Great prices!

Joey B.San Francisco