Decorator Showcase House 2012, San Francisco

Today is the official opening of 35th Annual San Francisco Decorator Showcase  – one of the most anticipated design events in the city. Each year a large number of the West Coast’s top Interior Designers pitch for the opportunity to design a room within a carefully selected historic mansion home.   This year, around 30 designers were chosen to showcase their talents by transforming a room within this prestigious (albeit slightly run down) property in the desirable Pacific Heights neighborhood.

The property (2020 Jackson Street) was built in 1902 by Wells Fargo Bank President, Isaias Hellman as a wedding gift for his daughter. However, it served instead as the temporary headquarters of Wells Fargo following the 1906 earthquake and fire.

I was fortunate to take a peek inside this huge (11,500 square foot) Classical Revival home this week and have photographed some of my favorite rooms to share with you.  For further details about tickets and opening times visit Decorator Showcase. Enjoy!

This Great Gatsby inspired outdoor space includes topiary plants, a green striped tent with peach accents and an elaborate chandelier to create a glamorous yet intimate outdoor dining space. Combined with the killer views across the San Francisco bay, who would ever want to leave?  Terrace designed by Frank Holbrook Design.

I love this unique approach of adding plants to a garden wall instead of the traditional potted plants.  It adds texture and interest to the space and immediately draws you into the home.  Quite a twist for such a traditional home. Vertical Entry Garden and Portico by Living Green and Plants On Walls.


This family room is part of the open plan kitchen, which leads out onto a large terrace with bay views.  I love the calming color palette of gray, black, white and mustard accents; the organic and geometric patterns (particularly that hide rug and artwork); and usual artifacts (like the gold inlay branch) and stacked bowl lamp from Gregor Jenkin Studio in South Africa.  One of my favorite rooms for sure.

Kitchen and Family Room  – Designed by Tray and Jeff Schlarb at Green Couch Interior Design


Check out this oversized sofa (seats ten) with large nailhead trim and bed-like headboard on wall – all custom pieces by Amy Weaver.   The neutral toned Ikat rug adds to the sophisticated yet welcoming feel of the room.

Opposite the large sofa is a high tech television encased in a two-way mirror.  Grey faux hair on hide walls help muffle the sound of television. Luxe fabrics mixed with contemporary pieces by French contemporary designer Christian Liagre make this one sexy room. Media Room by Weaver Design Group.



The galley shaped Press Room (or what we might refer to as Laundry / Ironing Room) was given delightful makeover with an industrial, vintage, modern look combined with organic furniture and accents.  Lisa Bakamis also incorporated a bar into the space to give it a modern twist. Who doesn’t want a drink or two while they iron?  One of the smallest, yet one of my favorite rooms almost had me asking – anyone need some ironing done?

There were many clever features in this room to admire including the concrete floor that had been molded to pick up the grain and shape of wooden planks.

I had a major crush on this leaf coral mirror highlighted with gold dipped edges, and the green trellis wallpaper. Quirky vintage objects, like the lady pincushion and vintage ironing board below added additional charm and character to this space.

 The Press Room by Lisa Bakamis Interior Design 


Quiet, sophisticated and truly eclectic, much like the designer himself. I loved the careful editing and selection of objects in this room – each piece important and almost an art form in its own merit. Matthew MacCaul is a master of mixing the old with the new.   The Listening Room designed by MacCaul Turner Design. 



As the smallest space in the house, this lift space is no less worthy of a mention.  Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Lawanna Cathleen designed the lift with some quirky and fun elements. The traditional lift door was reworked with a cut out keyhole, then covered in ostrich skin and nail head details.  Inside the lift was opposing oval mirrors, topsy-turvy vintage lights and a clock on the ceiling making you feel like you were in some kind of crazy dream state. Lift designed by Lawanna Cathleen Design.



Kathy Geissler Best did a great job of designing a space for the fictitious ‘Jack’, a 9th grade high school student.  It’s a room that is welcoming, yet edgy, relevant and able to grow with Jack.   Jack’s bike hangs on the wall as do his collection of hats, which create an almost textural art piece. The headboard is molded out of foam in a wave formation enhanced by the light and dark shades of the felt fabric. A great space for a teenage boy. Boy Cave and Retreat designed by KGB Interior Design.



The creative duo behind Ma(i)sonry, Napa Valley (a destination where guests can appreciate and acquire art and furnishings all while savoring limited production, boutique wines) decided to have fun with this bathroom and their efforts paid off.  It is part gallery and part bathroom. The bath and umbrella is a creation of one of their featured conceptual artists, Michel Pred. She makes sculptures of confiscated items from airport security checkpoints-scissors, pocketknives, lighters, and nail clippers. All of her materials for this project come from San Francisco’s International Airport, obtained and confiscated since 9/11/2001.  In the corner they have a sculptured jacket made out of paper by Greg Lauren, painter and sculptor, and nephew of Ralph Lauren. It was refreshing to see someone do something totally out of the box for this room. Bathroom designed by Ma(i)sonry.



This fun and girly ‘Teen Only’ hang out room certainly delivers it’s promise. What’s not to love about neon? Designer, Emily Mughannam tells me that the quote ‘You only live once” is rapidly becoming one of the most widely used quotes by the teenage generation spurring a new acronym ‘YOLO’. Very fitting for a teenage room.  I am instantly drawn to the heart print wallpaper applied to the ceiling and the cute heart shaped arrangement of photos on the wall – so playful and fun.  Emily mixes vintages pieces with modern lines and materials, and accents them with neon colors to create a truly unique space.  Teen Only Hang Out designed by Emily Mughannam of em design interiors. 



Inspired by the stately fireplace, Matt Murphy set out to create a luxury guest bedroom that reminded him of a hotel in London that he often stayed in. I love the dreamy neutral palette with pops of plum color and rich materials and furnishings including the Tommi Parzinger daybed and unique drum table.

Guest Bedroom designed by Matt Murphy Studio 



Like many large homes in this neighborhood, this house had two kitchens. The main one is on the lower floor and this smaller catering kitchen is located on the middle floor. Designers, Alison Bloom and Tinsley Hutson-Wiley imagined this space as one where the family would gather for breakfast, after school snacks, or for a cup of tea and a break between activities so set about designing what they call the ‘Modern Pantry’.

The color palette of cream, khaki and kohl was inspired by Popham Design’s Union Jack tile pattern. A perfect choice for this small narrow space, creating an open and airy atmosphere.  I love everything about this room including the color palette, the zinc countertops, the tiles, the geometric pendant lights, vintage breadboards dipped in paint, ‘The Homemaker” wire sculpture by local artist Kristine Mays and most importantly the application of the Union Jack on the one wall.  It gives the room a focal point and character without being too overbearing due to the sophisticated color palette. The design was hand painted onto oak planks with a high gloss lacquer, perfectly balancing the matt tiles opposite.

Image above and below left by John Merkl 

The Modern Pantry by Dehn Bloom Design and Tinsley Hutson-Wiley Interior Design.


Each year there are designs that surprise you, delight you and sometimes even shock you, which is all part of the fun. To truly appreciate the work however, you must stop by and ask the designers to show you the before photos of their rooms.  You won’t believe your eyes.

The house is huge, so if you are visiting allow plenty of time to explore. I only discovered after I returned from the preview, that I missed the master bedroom, dressing room and study.  Oops!

See Part Two of my decorator showcase review.


The goal of the Decorator Showcase is to raise needed financial aid funds for University High School.  Over the past 34 years, Showcase has raised nearly $12 million and benefited hundreds of Bay Area students.

The Showcase will take place at 2020 Jackson Street from April 28 – May 28, 2012.  Public viewing hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.,  Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sunday and Memorial Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.   General admission tickets are available at the door for $30, with a Senior rate of $25 (60 and older).


Images: All images (unless noted) are copywrite to Design Lovers Blog. If you wish to use any of these images please credit


Jill Brandenburg is a Freelance Interiors Writer & Stylist and Co-Editor of Design Lovers Blog.
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5 Responses to “Decorator Showcase House 2012, San Francisco”
  1.' Jill says:

    Both kitchen areas are amazing… love the wire-like maids outfit on the wall especially! Great recap Jill!

  2.' kim says:

    Thanks for sharing, its gorgeous!

  3. Those kitchens are incredible! Would definitely love to have space on my walls for more cutting boards or for spices since they’re always getting jumbled up in the cupboards.

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