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Showhouse tour

Josephine Fisher Going to the Chapel

Something old, something new, something blue—Josephine Fisher’s “Going to the Chapel” room had it all. Perhaps the most heart-stopping piece was the custom wedding gown by Suzanne Hanley. “The soft blue walls, silk curtains, and French daybed created an ethereal palette—the magical surroundings of a wedding day,” Fisher says. The low ceiling was coated in Farrow & Ball’s high-gloss “White Tie,” which made the room more reflective and thus seem larger.

Bay Watch Views of San Francisco inspired breathtaking design at this decorator showcase


Written by Clara Haneberg P h o t o g r a ph y b y ph i l i p h a r v e y P r o d u c e d by H e at h e r Lo b d e l l

he spring months mean starting fresh. For inspiration, you need look no further than the annual San Francisco Decorator Showcase (open this year April 28 through May 28). In 2011, 33 designers styled 25 rooms in a brick Italian villa located on one of the most coveted blocks in the city. Proceeds from the showcase benefited San Francisco University High School.

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With views of the Golden Gate Bridge and beyond, the home’s sprawling interior heightened expectations. Dramatic historic architecture and unmatched textures provided an ideal background for whimsical accessories, making the refurbished rooms exceptionally memorable. Guests were treated to a showhouse that managed to be simultaneously traditional and unexpected. ➤

showhouse tour

Willem Racké + Leigh Edwards Entrance Hall

Willem Racké and Leigh Edwards did not deviate far from the home’s Mediterranean roots in this entrance hall. “We wanted it to encourage guests to see more of the house,” Racké explains. The original woodwork and marble-tiled floor drove color direction. Gold highlights were added to the ceiling, finished to look like rich red leather. Artwork by San Francisco artists was hung on the entry’s high-gloss walls leading to an arched doorway.

Jo Ann Hartley

Moiré Powder Room and Alcove Designer Jo Ann Hartley wanted to wow guests when they walked into the powder room and alcove. “I broke the rules and made the small rooms dark and sexy,” she says. A moiré-patterned vinyl wallpaper by Robert Crowder in the powder room was the design element that drove Hartley’s decisions. Adding charm to the room was a hand-cast mirror with a branch motif by Blind Spot. Plus, sparkling silver and crystal accents were sprinkled throughout the two spaces, and subdued lighting created an intimate setting that flattered guests. Sticking to the nature-inspired theme, Hartley designed a silver-leaf pattern for the Venetian plaster wall in the alcove.

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Kathleen Navarra Living Room

A living room minus decorative details gave designer Kathleen Navarra plenty of opportunities for embellishment. Plum tones wonderfully complemented the room’s green hues and a bright fuchsia bench. The designer had a wallpaper pattern by Romo enlarged, giving the ceiling a more contemporary look while simultaneously scaling down the room. The sprawling 8½-foot-long sofa showed contrasting colored fabric in its vents and corner pleats, while a striking chandelier by Jonathan Browning created shadows on the ceiling with its bronze-cast ginkgo branches. “Subtle details are the most wonderful discoveries,” says Navarra of the space’s varied and novel features. ➤

showhouse tour

Marion Philpotts-Miller + Jonathan Staub + Lowell Tom Rumpus Room

A riot of tribal colors combined with textures of clay, leather, and wood create a natural environment that exudes excitement in this rumpus room designed by Marion Philpotts-Miller, Jonathan Staub, and Lowell Tom. A tribal-themed gallery look was achieved by animating the deep navy walls with images from New Guinea by Brian Hodges. Birdcage chairs surrounded the coffee table, offering perches where guests could enjoy Bay views. “As the sun set, the room came alive, with the walls receding and the dramatic large-scale photographs coming to the forefront,” says Philpotts-Miller.

Alison Davin

Champagne Cellar

Tish Key Kitchen

Tish Key designed a kitchen that was both elegant and efficiently functional. The oversized marble mosaic Waterworks clock with metal hands was a dramatic, moving eye-catcher under the kitchen range’s existing large brick hood. Black marble countertops and dark wood floors contrasted with cabinets painted in Benjamin Moore’s “Super White.” “The brick, the tile, and the different honed and polished marbles all make you want to touch them,” says Key of the room’s textures. The patterned Malayer Persian rug provided unique colors complementing the charcoal-papered walls that smoothly wrapped the whole space together.

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Mimicking the look of French oak barrels used to age champagne, designer Alison Davin decided to cover the cellar’s four walls in reclaimed wire-brushed oak. “I wanted to provide guests with a cozy atmosphere where they could open a bottle and want to stay awhile to enjoy it,” she says. Black-and-white concrete tiles by Ann Sacks covered the floor but didn’t compete with the wood. Bottles of Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Sublime lining the shelves, along with accents by Airedelsur on the countertop, accessorized the otherwise simple space. ➤


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Snap this tag for tips from the area’s top designers on what to see and where to shop and eat. Or, go to www.

showhouse tour

Cathleen Gouveia Penthouse Bedroom

Breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay reminded designer Cathleen Gouveia of Otis Redding’s song, “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” With that in mind, she transformed the penthouse into an urban oasis in a loft-like setting. Echoing the Golden Gate Bridge and nearby floating docks, she suspended the bed using manila ropes fastened to the ceiling. “I wanted guests to feel immediately relaxed and experience the serenity of sitting on a dock—feeling the tactile, organic surfaces, the movement of the sea, the waves, and the kinetic forces of nature,” Gouveia explains.

2012 San Francisco Decorator Showcase

Stephen Rice + Lynn De Tienne

Guest Bath

Stephen Rice and Lynn De Tienne used recycled aqua mosaic tiles to brighten the bathroom’s grayand-white palette. “It references San Francisco’s notorious gray fog and rain showers,” says Rice. White floor-to-ceiling cabinets flanked the woven-finished vanity.

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This year marks the 35th anniversary of the West Coast’s premier design event. Open through May 28, the 1902 home located at 2020 Jackson Street (between Laguna and Octavia streets) features designs by the region’s best. For more information, visit Special thanks to Benjamin Moore for support of the 2011 San Francisco Decorator Showcase.


Bay Watch  

This showhouse feature appeared in the May 2012 issue of Traditional Home magazine.