Monday, August 4, 2014

Lunching with Creative Minds at Coup d'Etat

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of lunching with a bevy of creative souls at one of my favorite San Francisco Showrooms, Coup d'Etat and hosted by the indomitable Jeff Schlarb of the Interior Design firm Green Couch

I was a bit late getting to the event after navigating the bumper to bumper gridlock over the Bay Bridge. Getting to view the San Francisco skyline with the sea air floating through the sunroof....really, I could not complain. When I arrived, most of the attendees had already served themselves a delicious lunch of salads, beautiful fruits, chicken and corn  and were sitting at tables chatting and eating....waiting for the panel discussion to begin. So I followed suit and found myself a seat with minutes to spare.....

Jeff Schlarb of Green Couch
Jeff Schlarb was the moderator, and his enthusiasm is so infectious, I knew we were in for a good time. The panelists were selected to represent creative minds in architecture, design, art and dance. They included Stephen Sutro of Sutro Architects, fine artist Katina Huston, and Alonzo King of LINES Ballet. Amazing talents, all.

Stephen Sutro, Katina Huston and Alonzo King
I have to say, it was one of the most inspirational panels I have seen. It was especially interesting to hear how these three panelists each approached creativity in a different way, no doubt influenced by there respective disciplines. Jeff led them through a series of questions that unearthed their attitudes about tapping into their inner creative genius. I took lots of notes and was ready to share all of the intricate insights with you, but then I was lucky enough to receive a little recap of what we all got to experience. Jeff sent out a vimeo teaser which you all can see here:

SF Design Salon 2014 - Trailer from Green Couch Interior Design on Vimeo.

(Somehow, I unknowingly ended up in this video more than once. Clearly I have a habit of chewing my lip and nodding in agreement when listening intently..... Jeez.) But seriously, many thanks to the film Producer/Director/Editor, Hunter Preston Boucher. Nicely done!

 For the full presentation in four parts....hop on over HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE!

After being thoroughly inspired to return home and get going with my own creative process, I still needed to get my Coup d'Etat fix before leaving. It never fails to remind me why I am in this biz. I hope you enjoy a little design jolt to spark your imagination.......

Happy Monday!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Come Right In: 2014 San Francisco Decorator Showcase

Isn't always nice when visiting your friends to be greeted at the door with a little champagne? Jonathan Rachman did just that when I found him in the Entry Hall and Main Stairway at the 2014 San Francisco Decorator Showcase. Jonathan just seems to know how to entertain, and he does it with great finesse in this space. He was inspired by fashion icon Kate Moss and the song "Royales" by music artist Lourdes....and I did feel a bit royal walking in. Gold and crystal, neutrals and white all combine in a luxurious way and just make one feel pampered and a bit special! 

Have a spin around this space before we move along into House Beautiful's 2014 Kitchen of the Year designed by San Francisco's very own Steven Miller.....

Jonathan Rachman
I walked through the Dining Room next, (but we will get to that later) and then into the Butler's Pantry, which, as it turns out, was a perfect precursor to the House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year. Steven Miller is no stranger to a Decorator Showcase Kitchen ( he designed THIS spectacular kitchen for the 2009 Modern by Design Showhouse in San Francisco). He hit it out of the park again here. Quite the sophisticated take with the glittering mica wall covering my Phillip Jeffries, and iridescent back splash tile from Ann Sacks and black lacquer cabinets from Kitchenmaid all warmed up with walnut wood drain board by Grothouse Lumber at the Kohler sink.....

The main kitchen also has the black cabinets making the black appliances from Whirlpool right at home. White floors and walnut counters make for a very handsome impression....sort of "white tie and tails" glamour...

One of the most eye popping details in this space was the custom quartz crystal ceiling cove lighting installation by lighting designer Christopher Boots. Steve and Christopher collaborated and the original recessed box ceiling was transformed into a white surface with a recessed space for the light sculpture. Fantastic!

Just a little info on the generous sponsors for the kitchen:
Whirlpool brand provided their Black Ice Collection of appliances
Kraftmaid Cabinetry supplied those black enameled cabinets
Kohler for the sinks
Caesarstone countertops
Grothouse Lumber supplied the very beautiful Walnut counters
Wallcovering by Phillip Jeffries
Backsplash Tile by Ann Sacks
Paint by Valspar
Some Furniture items by Made Goods

Steven also took possession of the Family Room and adjacent Deck space.....lots of greys, white an black make this space the perfect calling card for Steven Miller's new gallery aptly titled The NWBLK (read: "the new black") . Many of the peices are from the gallery, which is a new showplace for outstanding furniture, lighting and accessories. All of you design junkies have a new place to get your fix!

Just off the Family Room is the Deck, also appointed with items from The NWBLK. Just another reinforcement of Steven's "cool" factor, in case you needed another reminder.....

Steven Miller
I hope you all have a chance to head over to the 2014 San Francisco Decorator Showcase! It runs through May 26th....this hop on over!

More to come soon!

Monday, April 28, 2014

San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2014: Back to Front (and Book Giveaway Winner!)

Time again for the San Francisco Decorator Showcase, and this year it quite a special one! First of all, 2014 House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year designed by Steven Miller is part of the festivities this year. And then there is an amazing display of talent throughout which I am excited to show you!

But first, I have to say the day was just spectacular. I decided to approach the city by driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. For those of you who know San Francisco, it is much faster to take the Bay Bridge when driving from the Valley, but since the Showcase house was right next to the Presidio area, I knew I would get to it right off of the Golden Gate Bridge. And there is something about entering San Francisco this way that never fails to fill me with awe. What a day!

I quickly found the house and made my way inside. The Showcase house is a 1908 Classical Revival owned by Alfred and Rose Sutro located on Jackson Street overlooking the Presidio and San Francisco Bay. Designed by the architectural team of Walter Danforth Bliss and William Baker Faville, the red brick home with Palladian style windows is 8,820 sq. ft. with six bedrooms, six and a half baths, and six fireplaces. There is an entry foyer, and then another much larger formal foyer....a sitting room, and then a much larger Living Room.....get the picture? This scenario sort of repeats itself throughout. 

Before I inspire you with all of the beautiful work by the very talented interior designers, I wanted to show you the exterior. After does seem that Mother Nature has a way with providing limitless amounts of inspiration....... 

As I mentioned, the day was perfect and the views spectacular. Sunny, warm but not hot, and Spring is in its glory. The gardens at the Showcase were enhanced by the talented team at Living Green Design. They added the eye catching red bench and Alice in Wonderland scaled snail sculpture, as well as the sculpture of Hercules. They also enhanced the Formal Gardens with new plantings. Take a little stroll...

Dunkirk and Associated provided the red bench by McKinnon and Harris

Hercules torso by Luciano Tempo
Rhododendrons were in full bloom!

Team from Living Green Design, principal Davis Dalbok

These two have been involved with quite a few of the recent Showcase houses, and every time I see their work, I do stop and stare. Just beautiful!

Another team who came together to create a special space outside is comprised of landscape designer, Katharine Webster and Thayer Hopkins Architects. These two took an otherwise unusable space and created a wonderful little wonderland. One enters from the back deck down a staircase and around the side of the house, passing white flowering plants, white roses and variegated greenery. The deck was constructed from reclaimed wood and leads one through the white garden into a space under the kitchen deck......

 The designers continued the decking underneath creating a space that could make a wonderful setting for an informal garden dinner! They lined it with boxwood and added a couple of fun swinging chairs.....

Just past this "indoor" space, one is drawn into a fanciful rhododendron tunnel lined with chartreuse ground cover that is sprinkled with shards of broken mirror and lined with undulating silvery ribbed fencing.....

Up the stairs, there is a courtyard with mirrored columns creating a multidimensional garden reflection. Fantastic!

As one comes all of the way around back to the front of the house, it is time to re-enter and start tour on the wonderful inside! I hope you will join me.

I will be back with more in days to come!


The Winner of the book:

Courtesy of Rizzoli

Janet Rose

(Janet, I hope you see this because you did not leave any contact information. Please email me at or comment again with your contact email so I can send your book to you! I will pick a new winner in a few days if I do not hear back.)

Friday, April 18, 2014

It's Showtime!....Curtis Park Home Tour

Spring has sprung in sunny fact I am already having to put netting over our fruit trees before the birds and squirrels steal all the plums, peaches, and apricots just starting to appear. Spring means home tours around these parts, and Curtis Park, the neighborhood I live in,  is gearing up for a great tour this year.

It is a day where vintage cars  from the Capital A's Model A Ford Club drive around this neighborhood bringing back the feeling of when this neighborhood was born back in the early 1900's. Our house was built in 1911, and most of the houses were built between 1910 and 1940. We have a great variety of architectural styles, from Victorian Farmhouse, to Craftsman Bungalow, to Monterrey style, to Tudor style here. We moved here because Tim and I both love the history, the variety, the gardens, but most of all, the neighbors. It is the people that convinced us this was the place for us....there is perhaps one degree of separation here. Everyone knows someone who knows someone else. It has a community spirit that is not easy to find.
Last year's tour with an example of the vintage cars found throughout the neighborhood on tour day. The little green Tudor across the street was our first house in Sacramento!
Photo by Katie Denham
Which brings us to the annual Home Tour! Every year, there are very generous people who allow us all to look through their homes....often times there are recent remodels or decorating changes to see. But most often they are simply community minded souls who want to contribute in any way they can to making this a better place to live. They want to share their lives with us and in doing so, our neighborhood is able to contribute financially to our Community Center, Sierra 2 Center, as well as to our local Elementary School, Bret Harte.

This year, the line up looks great! There are seven homes, a couple of Monterrey style, a few Tudor cottages and an American Foursquare. I will be taking lots of photos on Tour Day and posting more afterwards. There will be food and drink available and picnic tables under the shade trees in the park where you can listen to local bands while enjoying lunch.

You can buy your tickets online HERE!

Hope to see you there!!!

All photos by Rudy Calpo unless otherwise noted