This year marks the 40th anniversary of the San Francisco Decorator Showcase, one of the most well-known and prestigious designer showcases in the country. And the home this year is at 2698 Pacific Avenue in The City. It is an 11,000 square foot Classical Revival home built in 1904 by the legendary San Francisco architecture firm of Newsom and Newsom for Julius J. Mack and his wife Irene.
The entrance to the pleasingly symmetrical, "pebble dashed" stucco house is through a colonnaded portico. New landscaping shows off the structure nicely.
Dutch designer Martin Kobus turned the library of the home into a modern take on Dutch masters...as only naturally he would. He kept the existing, Gothic-arched wood paneling and beams but stained them an even darker, more dramatic color. (Indeed, I was pleased to see many spaces in the house embrace darkness and a darker color palette.) Kobus sourced plaster panels to go above the picture rail moulding and between the ceiling beams. The relief pattern on these panels is an organic form of leaves and branches yet the almost-Art Nouveau style perfectly bridges Old World and Modernism. Modern ringed LED chandeliers partner with modern furnishings in this antique space. This contrast brings great interest.
Another clever way to blend old and new are the art pieces Kobus chose for the room. Enormous, oversized works--one by Rembrandt (A Lady and Gentleman in Black, a piece that was stolen from the Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990 and remains missing to this day), and modern photos of women, one in a hat of flowers and another in a shredded paper doily collar reminiscent of Dutch clothing of the time period--are backlit and take on a living quality because of the glow.
Window covering specialist Chris Bergin put fascinating modular architectural panels in the front windows instead of expected drapery or shades.
And here, side by side, is a BEFORE and AFTER comparison. I love it when the designers make available a BEFORE photo...
Next on the tour was a delightful powder room by design team Benni Amadi and Courtney Springer and another example of dark space. Powder rooms are natural candidates for something dark and dramatic and Amadi and Springer ran with this idea, painting the walls a high-gloss black. Color relief comes with the extra large marble sink basin, the wallpapered ceiling, and the gorgeous floor of blue Fireclay tiles laid in a herringbone pattern.
One must pass through a double-sided elevator to travel from the vestibule and powder room on to the side entrance and kitchen. And of course, as with any Decorator Showcase, no space is spared: this elevator by artists Jane Richardson-Mack and Victoria Weiss features verre églomisé panels (a French term referring to the process of applying both a design and gilding onto the rear face of glass to produce a mirror finish)...as well as a gilded ceiling and floor!
As one exits the other side of the elevator, one is at the side entrance of the home and the start of the kitchen...the sweet little black and white sheep in this foyer set the tone for what is to come...
The kitchen in this year's Showcase was designed by Jon de la Cruz and is actually House Beautiful's Kitchen of the Year for 2017! Congratulations Jon! The SF Decorator Showcase housed another kitchen of the year in 2014, a spectacular black affair by Steven Miller.
Jon de la Cruz used the idea of sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper for his kitchen color (and texture!) palette in this space he calls "Mise en Place." The space is cavernous and can take a lot of different and unique finishes, starting with the floor. The designer said he wanted to create a black and white floor to honor the history of the house but instead of laying an expected checkerboard pattern, he freshened the idea of a black and white floor with large scale tiles of Italian white marble and Belgian black limestone...lining up the black and white tiles but in a slight offset that moves back and forth in a diagonal. The stunning, light colored weathered oak cabinetry along with brass and gunmetal hardware support the sea salt and cracked pepper motif.
A custom-made pot rack by metal worker Jefferson Mack hangs over the double-prep sink island, offering organic, twisting shapes to balance the linear kitchen.
Fireclay firebrick tiles in Meteorite are set in stacks of three (a FANTASTIC touch to stave off the inevitable subway tile ennui) with a one-third offset for a fresh look.
The walls and ceiling of the inviting eat-in breakfast nook are papered in a Thibaut wallcovering.
When I saw some sneak peek photos of the Showcase this year, I have to confess that I was quite doubtful about Jonathan Rachman's salon vert. But once I saw it in person, he totally won me over. There is something so comforting about being enveloped in a monochromatic color scheme. After designing a grand entry inspired by Kate Moss for the 2014 Showcase House (previously here), Rachman this year looked back at the friendship between Audrey Hepburn and fashion legend Hubert de Givenchy for inspiration. Green was chosen to represent Givenchy's green salon in his apartment on rue de Grenelle in Paris. In fact, the room is titled "A Muse'ing April In Paris."
Rachman chose to hang the San Miguel chandelier by Boyd Lighting as the main pendant fixture in the room. The beautiful matte and polished brass chandelier has nearly 1,000 teardrops that hang from mesh panels and "tinkle" with a passing breeze.
Only the rosettes on the plastered ceiling are gilded.
Here is a lovely, iconic photo of Hubert de Givenchy and his friend Audrey Hepburn walking along the Seine.
More images of Givenchy and Hepburn...
The bespoke wallpaper by de Gournay is not only hand-painted but hand embroidered as well! You can see it in the light detail at the bottom part of the leafy fronds. (Just to give you an idea of how luxurious de Gournay products are, the wallcovering alone for this space came in at a heart-stopping $65,000.)
Moving up the stately central staircase to the second level reveals an arresting wall treatment by artist Elan Evans. She took M.C. Esher's "Liberation" as a starting point and turned cut paper triangles into three dimensional origami birds soaring upward on a perfect turquoise sky.
The perfect turquoise continues to the landing of the second floor where Simon Breitbard Fine Arts has installed large-scale photos from Andy Freeberg's series Guardians which depicts women security guards, some obviously on a volunteer basis, in Russia's national museums.
Molie Malone turned a small bathroom into an edgy yet luxurious statement with a black and white graphic wallpaper that riffs on classical Greek design. Floor tiles made to look like patinated metal and a bright orange ceiling are the perfect foils.
A little boy's bedroom with a sweet, African safari-theme by Sherry Hope-Kennedy boasted a little ready-made fort based on the enormous mounds termites build on the veldt. The young man from Hope-Kennedy's design firm who was manning the room that day was encouraging people to get down on the floor and crawl inside to see the view up toward the roof of the structure. No one took him up on it except your blog master... because that is just how I roll! And it was worth it--look at how the chimneys appear from the ground looking up!
A bedroom for a teenage boy was both muted and exciting thanks to Ian Stallings' design skill. Not one afraid of a theme (see Stalling's Stevie Nicks-"White Witch" room from the 2016 Showcase previously here), he explained to me the inspiration for the many-textured stripes on the wall (the stripes when one adjusts the tracking on old VCR machines) and the deliberate height choices of the bed, art, armoire, and drapery rod. This room is a very personal manifestation of memory for Stallings who included movie posters from his youth and the very armoire from his bedroom when he was thirteen, the age of the boy this room was designed for. And of course the ultra-cool Lindsey Adelman light fixture is a thing to behold in and of itself.
Like I said earlier, no space is spared in a Showcase house and Krista Hoffman created a striking little bar area located on the loggia of the second floor she calls the "Curio Closet." Pewter wallpaper with matte black roses, deep blue cabinetry and shelving, and softly glowing sconces make this an engaging spot to stop and pour a bourbon...
Please stay tuned for Part 2 of the San Francisco Decorator Showcase in next week's posting!
Until then, happy designing!