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Rooms That Wow

Anh-Minh Le | June 14, 2018 | Story Interiors

Local design and decorating aficionados who visited this year’s San Francisco Decorator Showcase were treated to roughly 5,420 square feet of ideas and inspiration—and that’s not even including the outdoor areas. For the 41st edition of the event, which once again benefited San Francisco University High School’s financial aid program, more than two dozen artists and designers worked their magic. Simon Breitbard Fine Arts’ collaboration with artist AJ Oishi, “Eyes on Hue,” a colorful mural on the exterior, made the 1930 residence easy to spot along Marina Boulevard. For those who missed the Showcase (which closed Memorial Day) or who want to relive its glory, we’ve rounded up some of the home’s most mesmerizing spaces, from an office/lounge where midcentury meets ombre to a bedroom with walls covered in fringe to a sweet and sunny nursery. Prepare to be impressed.

For a gender-neutral nursery, Dina Bandman created a veritable lemon grove, with charming details at every turn. The de Gournay wallpaper that Bandman dreamt up featured the occasional handbeaded lemon for next-level chicness. Flanking the custom Lucite crib were Sabrina Landini sconces composed of yellow silk, antiqued brass and silvered glass. A menagerie including a giraffe and fluffy sheep no doubt appealed to any kiddos who entered the space, while the Hardesty Dwyer wingback chair allowed adults to hang out and enjoy it too. Since Bandman inherited a room void of compelling architectural elements, she conjured her own—including crown molding, baseboards and a ceiling decked out in latticework (on which a Coleen & Company chandelier is mounted). She envisioned the clients as parents with “an appreciation for all things bespoke and carefully curated,” she says, “and who want their child to grow up in a home where design matters. I chose the career of interior design because living a life surrounded by beauty matters to me and so my fictitious clients would be like-minded.”

Although petite in size—about 9 by 7 feet—this lounge/office by Willem Racké and Susan Lind Chastain packed a visual punch. The jumping-off point was the fabric used for the drapes, a Rosemary Hallgarten cashmere featuring a gradient cream-to-orange effect. Racké devised the treatment that appeared on two walls and was inspired by abstract geometric paintings from the 1960s, such as works by Frank Stella. Going from darker to lighter shades of orange, the paintings created a sense of depth that made the space seem larger. Layers of primer, paint and lacquer yielded the high-gloss orange ceiling that seemed to glow, while a nearly 100-year-old Turkish Konya carpet grounded the space. The vintage vibe continued with the Jean Touret desk and Guglielmo Veronesi settee, both from the 1950s. According to Racké and Chastain, the room was “bright and tranquil at the same time. ... We witnessed people smile as they walked through the door and said, ‘Ahhh!’”

“The room is where I could see myself spending all my time, which led me to start thinking of using the dining room in a different way,” explains David Bjørngaard. “I rejected the traditional/static formal dining room used only for special occasions. The design is multifunctional as a space to enjoy morning coffee, read a book, work from home, have a friend over for tea or a glass of wine after work, or host a cocktail party.” Inspired by the view of the San Francisco Bay and Marin Headlands, Bjørngaard introduced materials and a palette that nod to the setting. The walls were finished in a rough sand-hued plaster and the floors topped with a sisal carpet. A round Kyle Bunting hide rug in shades of green echoed the swath of grass across the street. The custom floating window seat included Larsen fabric and bleached teak, which for Bjørngaard “evoked a faded oceanfront cottage.” Above a walnut table encircled by vintage Axel Einar Hjorth Lovo dining chairs, he installed a mobile by artist Julia Condon, one of several alumni of the Headlands Center for the Arts residency whose works the designer incorporated.

With the integration of plants and hunter-green Fireclay tiles, a verdant and calming vibe permeated the master bathroom designed by Adele Lapointe. But it wasn’t always such a modern sanctuary. Lapointe first had to do some reconfiguring to drastically improve the flow (the commode was relocated around the corner, so it wasn’t the first thing you saw upon entry). An expanse of beautiful Calacatta marble lent an organic quality, as well as created a sense of movement. The herringbone-tiled flooring and wood slats framing the shower’s glass walls counterbalanced the curves of Allied Maker’s Well pendant lamps, the sink vessels and the mirrors above the vanity. Brass fixtures, hardware and accent pieces injected a subtle gleam to the room. “When thinking about this space, we tried to create a tranquil environment,” says Lapointe. “The lines are very masculine, but the softness of the room adds a feminine touch.”

Where to begin in the master bedroom, which was brimming with surprises and delights? Considering that Jeff Schlarb—known for his irreverent schemes—was responsible for the space, we wouldn’t have expected anything less. For the walls, the designer opted for Tracy Kendall’s three-dimensional, handmade Fringe wallpaper. Meanwhile, a Glamora wallpaper lined the ceiling—its lighter palette “in the middle of the room is supereffective in diminishing the low-ceiling feel,” says Schlarb. A Studio Bel Vetro chandelier was suspended above the custom bed, upholstered in a Kneedler-Fauchère plaid. With no actual client for whom to design—as is the norm for a design showhouse—Schlarb and his team “just did the dream bedroom that our studio loved the most,” he observes. One of his favorite features was the bookcase/planter positioned in front of the window, which served an important function for anyone waking up in this space every day: concealing the traffic right outside, along busy Marina Boulevard.

It was a striking concept, awash in a custom Farrow & Ball “earthy blue,” as Ian Stallings describes it—from the cabinetry to the BlueStar appliances. “I wanted to pull from the bay, the Marina Green and the garden,” says Stallings, who designed the kitchen and adjacent family room. The eye-catching hue in the former was complemented by acrylic drawer pulls from Design Theory and marble countertops from Da Vinci Marble. Perforated brass panels fronted some of the cabinet doors—a design choice that, according to Stallings, distracted from the fact that the doors and drawers throughout the space lacked uniformity in size. “In addition,” he says, “the application is bold, and I wanted to use it sparingly for a stronger impact and to focus attention to the hood,” which was trimmed in brass. On the far end of the kitchen, Stallings also carved out a stylish workspace with a desk and chair from Coup Studio. The end result was a high-end kitchen perfectly suited for gourmets and aesthetes alike.

Originally published in the June issue of Silicon Valley

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