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

Thursday, April 3, 2014

One Man's Folly : GIVE AWAY

It has long been a dream of mine to have a place to put all of the things I collect. It is a dream, and yet perhaps it is best left a dream. As I get older, I find I just want to get rid of things. They seem to become less pleasing and entail more I dream of picking up and starting over with less....less of my own things, but more in the way of seeing everyone else's. Because every thing worth having contains a story.....and I have always loved a good story. Perhaps that is why I am drawn to countries a bit older than ours. There is more "story" there....and after all, other places are where many of the stories of our own "melting pot" country began.

After that little digression.....I must say I do have great appreciation for those who collect lots of things, and do it well with love, interest and curiosity.
 I grew up in a house with a mother who had that indefinable knack to put things with stories from all eras together, and in the process, creating our own story. Perhaps that is why Furlow Gatewood's story appeals to me so much. Enter the new book, ONE MAN'S FOLLY: The Exceptional Houses of Furlow Gatewood by Julia Reed, Rizzoli New York, 2014.

Furlow Gatewood is a man who loves good things and loves the hunt. It seems he has always done so. A true sountern gent, Mr. Gatwood has been building enchantingly charming structures on his property located in Americus Georgia for decades. Some of the buildings were already on the property but on death's door until Furlow administered a bit of CPR to bring them back to life, along with the help of the many craftsmen who collaborated with him over the years. Others of the structures began with a window or door that Furlow brought home during his forays into the adventures of antique hunting, often in the company of John Rosselli, legendary antiques dealer,  and/or Bunny Williams, iconic Interior Designer. Speaking of Bunny Williams, she describes her long friendship with Mr. Gatewood in the book's forward, and also in the last chapter of the book.

ONE MAN'S FOLLY is divided into chapters based on each of the buildings....or "follies".... and described with great passion by the author, Julia Reed. She describes her first foray into Furlow's world, even as to finding the address as being "Peacock Alley" which did not show up on her iPhone's GPS. She describes Furlow's background and family as he grew up in Georgia and his move to NYC in his thirties. This is where he met and became partners with John Rosselli.....and where they became lifelong friends. This is also the time where he developed his passion for collecting antiques for the antique shop he and John owned, and for himself. He has been doing so ever since, and at 94 is still going strong back where his story Georgia.

So here are some of my favorite images from the book. They come from all of the outbuildings known as The Barn (the previous carriage house and Furlow's main residence), The Peacock House (which started as a winter plant house with dirt floors, but became a proper house built around a set of French Doors) , The Cuthbert House ( a house scheduled for demolition on a church grounds in Cuthbert, Georgis, and so transported to Furlow's property to be reborn), The Lumpkin House (which was owned by a cousin and moved to Furlow's property from Lumpkin, Georgia, providing ample opportunity to house more of Furlows abundant collections), and then there is a chapter all about other various outbuildings and the beautiful gardens. But one cannot forget a chapter about all of the collections Furlow has amassed over a lifetime of hunting and gathering.

For anyone who loves a good story, there are page after page of visual fairytale adventures captured at every turn.  There are Peacocks and secret gardens, fabrics from around the globe but never too precious for dogs and cats to feel right at home, gingerbread trim and hydrangeas spilling out from enormous terra cotta pots lining the lane, walking sticks and pagodas, fountains and boxwood topiary. One might never see such splendor that shouts so loudly of "home". Fortunately, we now have this book, this lovely book to inspire us all to make our own little wonderland in whatever way that might be.

So....on to the "good stuff".......


And for one of you it would be so very easy a thing to do! For, you see, in the tradition of acquisition, I am lucky to have found myself with an extra copy.....thanks to the kindness of the wonderful folks at Rizzoli. And I am saving it for one of you. For what good is collecting beautiful stuff if not to share it? is what you must do:

1) Click on the "comment" link at the bottom of this post and leave a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts about ONE MAN'S FOLLY .
2) Make sure I can contact you by including an email address, or make sure your username has a link to a contact email.
3) The Cut Off date to enter is April 26th 2014 ,  at 5:00PM PST. (Tim's birthday! Presents for him, presents for you!) I will announce the winner the next day,April 27th, life permitting!


Stunning images by photographers extraordinaire: Rodney Collins and Paul Costello

Monday, March 17, 2014

Green Certified

 A perfect day for being green. Here are just a few favorite things that make me green with envy! No particular particular rhyme or reason....other than inspiration and beauty.

For more green inspiration and to find out more about these images, hop on over to my Pinterest Page HERE!

Wishing you all a very
St. Paddy's Day!