Perhaps you’re someone who counts down the days from Showcase to Showcase, chronicling life from one to the next. Or perhaps you’ve evaded news of the premier West Coast design event. If you’re not familiar, the annual San Francisco Decorator Showcase brings together some of the Bay’s top design talents under one roof for a showstopping exploration of interior design, the profits from which benefit the San Francisco University High School financial aid program. And if you are familiar, you know that 2017 marks the special 40th anniversary. Standing up to the lofty expectations of an historic year and event, this year’s Showcase is taking place in an 11,000 square foot Classical Revival mansion in the heart of Pacific Heights. Expectedly, there are some fellow North Bay dwellers amongst the designers taking part. See below for more details on these designers and the spaces they dreamed up.
ELAN EVANS – STAIR ALCOVES
Elan Evans’ Stairway Alcoves are where “ascent” gets both literal and figurative. Lucky enough to be part of a Showcase house already equipped with an immediately alluring staircase that proffers as many dazzling designs upstairs as down – with a decadent balustrade to boot – Elan dove headfirst into taking great and making it greater. A purveyor of patterns, champion of craft, and artisan extraordinaire, Elan took inspiration from the soaring arches and the obvious avian imagery that comes to mind with the height and aspirations that truly high ceilings afford. Ever the lover of everyone’s favorite three-angled polygon, she created origami images of birds with hand-painted and hand-cut triangular paper filling up and flying off of a teal painted background.
Elan’s work, both in the Showcase and beyond, shows the capacity for walls to be so much more than the stalwart sides that enclose a room. Whether wallpaper, STRATA (her custom wall coverings – more details here), or another hand-painted creation, walls can definitely find themselves part of that elusive thing we so fondly call “art.” A tad northwards, Elan can be found creating hand-painted and cut wall coverings in her Cotati studio.
MARTIN KOBUS – LIBRARY
Martin Kobus, a Flying Dutchman in his own right, jumping (or dare we say soaring) cohesively from one century to another in his take on a Library in this year’s Showcase. Despite the doom and gloom that tend to come alongside libraries and their almost prerequisite need for solace and seclusion, Kobus uses rich orange hues (as any proper Dutch man would) to enliven his “bibliotheek.” Bibliophiles will find themselves frenetically glancing from one orange book spine to the next, with plenty-an-inviting seat upon which to enjoy their final choice, as the room is suspended in the gravitational pull of the modular cognac seating area in the middle of the space. As with the blend of old and new so intrinsically tied into the historical Showcase house (built in 1904 and with the architectural relics to prove it but with modern updates throughout), Kobus took a contemporary spin on Rembrandt paintings of old, choosing an innovative method of placing the modern homage upon lights that illuminated both the portraiture and, quite romantically, the room itself. Saturated and sultry with dark wood-paneled walls and the indispensable fireplace, it’s a library that could challenge even the most technophile, Kindle-wielding among us to unplug and relent to bibliophilia.
Martin was born in the Netherlands, studied design in Italy, and followed that fabled allure of the Bay straight to his current outpost in Sausalito. He’s known for eclectic and layered designs unique to each client’s needs and each home’s eccentricities.
MOLIE MALONE – GUEST BATHROOM
A historic home can wax from subtle elegance to dramatic grandeur – Molie Malone opting for the latter in her design for one of the guest bathrooms on the second floor of the opulent home.
Born and raised in Napa Valley, Molie has since made her way to Sausalito, where she works with her team to churn out the “livable luxury” perfectly exemplified by her Showcase space.
KRISTA HOFFMAN – CURIO CLOSET
While we can all stare aghast at the atrocities that flit across the screen during an episode of “Hoarders,” there is an art to collecting the sentimentalities that riddle our lives. What better place to evade the outside world, even for just a moment, than a Closet with a well-paved path upwards through memory lane. Such is the approach to the lofty, vertically-stacked “Curio Closet” from Krista Hoffman. You can thank Sausalito craftsman Robert Long of Robert Long Lighting for the soft iridescent glow that so gingerly lights said memory-ridden traipse. We’ve made leaps and strides since Edison’s day of a single albeit revolutionary bulb. In present day, Robert Long is no less dependent on history, carrying on the tradition of his father’s lighting business with unique and distinctive fixtures that quite literally light up a space.
Robert is a master of minutiae, taking a “curatorial” approach to each fixture and all of the constituent components. Taking up the dormant family business fifty years after his father kickstarted it all, he now carries on the legacy of the Sausalito born and bred company.
CECILIE STARIN – MASTER BATH
Far be it from us to dissuade a spa day, but perhaps with a bathroom like the “Restore and Refresh” Master Bathroom from Tiburon-based Designer Cecilie Starin, you wouldn’t have to leave the comfort of your own home to achieve the sought-after spa-like refuge that you seek. If you think “a tub is a tub is a tub” then prepare to lap in the luxury of all that a bathroom can be. Aside from the spacious shower, voluminous tub, graphic floor, and pervasively calming off-white hues, there are dashes of luxurious gold to remind you that opportunities for opulent relaxation are all around us. Cecilie is a master of modern classicism, melding past with present for the same type of elusive and timeless designs as seen in this year’s Showcase.
DIANE ROSENBLUM – THIRD FLOOR HALLWAY
Sometimes when you say things glow, you mean it metaphorically. Sometimes, as is the case with the “Measure of Art” series that draws the eye and guides the path down the Third Floor Hallway, it’s quite literal. Showcase guests have Diane Rosenblum to thank for the enchanting warmth and wonder of their hallway waltz. And while it’s seemingly sufficient to take in the visual clamor of metallic tones, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Diane graphed art market data directly into her canvases to make a graphical display in the style of famous artists. Bridging statistics and art, Diane’s “Measure of Art” is just that – a quantifiable sum made qualitative once again. Both evocative and subdued, it’s an assemblage of work that brings digital culture into an historic home.
JANE RICHARDSON-MACK & VICTORIA WEISS – “AN ELEGANT LIFT”
Sometimes you just need a quick boost. A pick-me-up in the truest sense of the word, the elevator from Marin natives Jane Richardson-Mack and Victoria Weiss proves that size doesn’t matter when it comes to “An Elegant Lift.” Far from the feelings of enclosure you might find in other elevator shafts, expect a commensurate feeling of openness thanks to the two luminous Eglomise panels, appropriately illuminated with the faint, romantic glow of original wall sconces of Moongold Eglomise for their own, far less complicated ideal of a “Gilded Age.” Reflect inward or cogitate upon the reflections of the gilded ceiling and floor. Up, down, through, and around, it’s nothing if not a testament to the fact that elegance can be found in places big and small. Both Jane and Victoria are long-time Marin residents (Jane lives in Fairfax and Victoria in San Anselmo), and veterans of many Showcases in Marin and San Francisco.
The SF Decorator Showcase runs through Monday, May 29. More information on dates and times can be found on the website. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased at the door or on Eventbrite.