Feb 15, 2023 3 min read

Inside Ingleside’s Unassuming High-End Wallpaper Studio

A handsome but low-key storefront on Ingleside's stretch of Ocean Avenue is home to a high-end wallpaper studio. | File photo

Surfaces by David Bonk has produced unique and custom wall coverings in the neighborhood for decades. Here’s the Legacy Buisness’s story.

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Multiple paint covered workbenches, screen printing equipment and blank sheets of paper vinyl or cloth fill this unassuming storefront on Ingleside’s stretch of Ocean Avenue.

Here designer David Bonk has spent decades running his custom wallpaper studio, Surface by David Bonk, growing a flourishing business with products sold throughout the world.

He strives to hire locally, recruiting students from the City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University interested in careers related to interior design and the arts.

First operating out of his home on Faxon Avenue, Bonk along with consistent help from his partner Jose Canelo grew the business until they could buy a storefront on Ocean Avenue.

Nothing is mass produced. The studio’s products, wall coverings of vinyl and grasscloth, are carefully hand painted and come in a variety of patterns such as athenos, gingham, linea plaid, zephyr and more.

The company’s mission is to provide quality work and exhibit the highest quality of customer service.

The small business joined the San Francsico Legacy Business Register in 2020.

The Designer’s Path

From 1986 to 1988, Bonk operated Surfaces Architectural Painting. He painted directly on different interior surfaces for his clients.

Cecile Bradbury, owner of Bradbury Collection, suggested that Bonk move into wallpaper.

“When I lived in Los Angeles I was an artist who did painted finishes in people’s homes,” Bonk said. “The majority of the homes I worked in were in Bel Air and Beverly Hills. After I moved to San Francisco I decided to paint the finishes I was doing in these homes on wallpaper.”

He opened Surfaces by David Bonk in the living room of his Faxon Avenue home. His first customer was Stuart Lampert Associates, the interior design firm, which remains a customer to this day. The operation moved to another house on Orizaba Avenue before finding its place on the 1900 block of Ocean Avenue in 2000. It’s been operating there ever since.

“I like the diversity of the neighborhood,” Bonk said.

The studio's interior. | File photo

Global Reach

Surfaces by David Bonk displays its products in showrooms across the globe in Beijing, China and Seoul, Korea and more. They are also displayed across the United States in Arizona, Atlanta, California, Chicago, Colorado, New Mexico, New York, Texas and Washington.

Companies such as Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Louis Vuttion and in hotels in San Francisco at the Grant Hyatt Hotel near Union Square and in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace also use Bonk’s wallcoverings.

Famous clients like Eddi-Rue McClanahan from “The Golden Girls” television program, Major League Baseball player Jason Giambi and others.

They have also been featured in The Textile Eye, Connecticut Cottages and Gardens and Traditional Home and Luxe Interiors + Design.

The studio has a strong following on Instagram, under the handle of @surfacesbydavidbonk. Many of his followers express love, support and interest toward its products.

“We love what we do,” Bonk said. “Most of our clients are interior designers. We work with them closely to create their vision.”

Surfaces By David Bonk

Address: 1942 Ocean Ave.
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Phone: (415) 239-1078
Visit Website

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Anne Marie Kristoff
Anne Marie Kristoff (she/her) is a recent graduate from San Francisco State University's journalism program. She enjoys writing about the arts, entertainment and nature.
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