Thursday, April 24, 2008

Mark Your Calendar: San Francisco Decorator Showcase

So I finagled an invite to yesterday's press preview for the 2008 San Francisco Decorator Showcase. The annual event is a fundraiser for the financial-aid program at San Francisco University High School.

The four-story, 16,000-square-foot Italianate house, built in 1905 and later customized for the anticipated arrival of the Queen of Romania during the 1915 Panama-Pacific Expo, is breathtakingly grand. And the decor, for the most part, is sort of old-money fabulous (or high-end gaudy, depending on your tolerance for these things). Truth be told, it's not even close to my style -- nor, I would imagine, to many of yours. But it is a fantastic spectacle. The tilting parterre landscape, above, is by Surfacedesign. (As always, click any of the images for a larger view.)

It's easy to get discouraged about your own, much more humble abode after visiting a place like this -- after all, the Ann Getty-designed foyer alone is bigger than many homes inhabited by us mere mortals.

Very few of us will ever own an architecturally significant, multi-million-dollar mansion on San Francisco's Gold Coast. Nor do most of us have an unlimited budget, a small army of the city's top designers at our beck and call, or access to such exquisite art, furnishings, and finishes. The fountain above, for instance, was crafted from Tiffany glass tiles.

But inspiration and ideas abound here, in ways that even the most budget-conscious among us can emulate. You don't need a bottomless checking account to notice how a group of disparate objects can be arranged into a striking vignette, or the way a surprising paint hue or unexpected color combination brings a space to life, or how these designers play with scale, texture, and furniture placement to create something incredible -- perhaps even something we can try our own hand at, albeit on a much smaller scale. Design by MacCaul Turner and M. Von Hoppenyan, top, and Ann Getty, Thomas Bartlett, De Sousa Hughes, and Cecilie Starin, bottom.

As refined as the home is, there are dashes of humor throughout -- such as the trompe l'oeil rug in the Shirley Robinson-designed cloak room. Visitor after visitor tried to fix its upturned corner before realizing that the whole thing was painted onto the floor.

The lush stair loggia, with Asian, African, and Middle Eastern furnishings and textiles, was designed by Cecilie Starin.

This proves my theory that you can't go wrong with a fresh spring green-and-creamy white palette, subway tile, and carrera marble in a kitchen. The cake molds over the range lend a homely touch to the stately space, designed by Shelley Gordon.

Terrace design by Megan Van Linda.

The Elsie de Wolfe-inspired stairway landing -- capped by an enormous Tiffany skylight -- was designed by Ann Getty.

I think this was my favorite room in the entire house. In many ways, it's a traditional gentleman's library. But it's also full of unexpected elements -- including the almost-black of the walls, the rustic texture of the stacked firewood, the vintage Belgian hat forms on the shelves, and the industrial-chic light fixtures. The antique brass searchlight is from a ship's prow; room designer Will Wick sells similar, smaller-scale French maritime fixtures through his 1stdibs storefront.

My pictures don't do justice to the living room, designed by De Sousa Hughes. In person, the pumpkin-and-charcoal color combination is positively edible. The amazing chandeliers are from Jean De Merry.

Gorgeous silver-leafing is playfully accented with silk butterflies in the Marie Antoinette-inspired, Candace Barnes-designed salon.

The second-floor guest room, designed by Hepworth + Howard. The art over the desk is by Michael Rich, and the awesome man-lamp is from X21/Sultana SF.

Elegant understatement in the master sitting room, designed by Melanie Coddington.

Girlie-glam lighting in the master bathroom (left) and closet (right), also by Coddington.

The luxurious, traditional guest suite by Owen Design. The portrait over the fireplace is by the late California painter Otis Oldfield.

A feminine, preppy-chic bedroom by Massucco Warner Miller.

A classic bathroom gets the faux-bois treatment from designer Benjamin Dhong.

The view from the rooftop deck is gasp-inducing.

Modern-art statues take it all in.

I love the bright shock of magenta that designer Sean Weatherill used on the rooftop terrace.

Matthew Leverone took a spare and sophisticated approach to the home office and adjoining bath, clad in Cole & Sons' Woods wallpaper. I would kill for that custom-made mirror.

The family/media/party room, by Applegate Tran Interiors.

Believe it or not, there are plenty of other spaces I didn't include here -- so if you're in the area, don't miss a chance to see the house in person. The Showcase is open Tuesdays through Sundays from April 26 through Memorial Day. Tickets are $30 at the door. Click here for more info.


Anonymous said...

Ummmmmm let me know if you need a date! Word on the street is that I'm pretty easy

Anonymous said...

just noticed that anyone with 30 dollars can go. I'd still be a pretty easy date, nonetheless.

please sir said...

OH MY design overload in a GOOD way!

Kathryn said...

I went to SFUHS, and there were a lot of great things about going there, but working the Decorator Showcase was one of the coolest. It is always fabulous and provocative - so jealous of those of you still in the Bay Area who will get to see it!

HOBAC said...

My, what a very long way this has come. Very swish.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know who makes those orange linens in the Massucco Warner Miller bedroom??

Pigtown*Design said...

What an amazing place! Thanks for sharing your pix... and for taking so many!

Leah said...

Abby, I bet if you contacted MWM via their website, someone there could give you info on the bed linens.

All the best,


Unknown said...

I'm so excited to have seen this post! My husband and I are heading to San Francisco later this week. We are definitely going to put this on our agenda!

cassandra said...

just when i needed an excuse to get my booty up to san fran - GORGEOUS STUFF!! thank you so much for sharing with the rest of us who aren't lucky enough to live in that amazing city.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog! Thanks for sharing these amazing photos. I'm kind of obsessed with that "preppy chic" bedroom!


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