SF Decorator Showcase 2013 – Top 10 Rooms

A chocolatier’s lab, a penthouse retreat, a sacred space to bathe, a Danger Zone, the Atelier… sounds like a James Bond novel. Instead these are all beautiful spaces dreamt up by a selection of San Francisco’s hottest interior designers as part of the annual San Francisco Decorator showcase opening this weekend (April 27 thru to May 27).

This year 27 designers let their imagination run wild as they designed rooms for their fantasy clients, transforming 24 spaces in a historic mansion home which will later be put on the market for sale. The  8000 sq ft Georgian manor (the iconic Herbst Manor) is located at the corner of Pacific and Divisadero street in the upscale Pacific Heights neighborhood.

I was fortunate to take a peek inside this home and am excited to share some of my favorite rooms with you.  For further details about tickets and opening times visit Decorator Showcase. Enjoy!





Catherine Kwong gave this formal room an injection of  Mick and Bianca Jagger style circa 1970’s.   “I wanted the room to be just like Mick and Bianca: luxe and decadent, but with a rock ‘n roll edge.”

“I loved the intricate detail of the original ceiling,” says Kwong. “It’s very traditional, which is not usually my style, but gorgeous, and really deserved a room that let it shine. The ceiling presented an interesting challenge: how do you design a room around such a classical and stately element, while still making the space feel fresh and modern?”



She achieved this by incorporating brass pyramid studded doors, oversized gems and polished stone, vintage Italian fringe light fixtures, a large black and white photographic print of backstage NYC ballet and a dramatic black glossy floor with white painted brushstrokes (Inspired by the iconic paintings of Cy Twombly). The floor is a bold statement, but one that pays off. The design most definitely hits the mark of being glamorous yet rock and roll all the same.








Modern, airy, orderly, balanced and most of all invigorating.  A freestanding bathtub is placed alongside what designers Kevin Hackett and Jessica Weigley of Siol Studios describe as a ‘healing wall’. Mint, geraniums, lavender and other herbs grow in the living wall and can be snipped off and placed in the bath as you soak. The rain style shower is positioned in the centre of the room and basins at the opposing end.  There is also a vanity area near a large window making it the perfect place to check those smile lines.  It was their intention to design a space that allowed you the time to shift your perspective and nourish your spirit. Mission accomplished!





Shelley Cahan of Shelley & Company turned what is often a very dull and functional space into something so glamorous and fun that you might never want to leave.  The walls are lined with mid-century print wallpaper (I’m starting to think this is a must in all wardrobes), the ceiling is painted a bold red and she mixes in vintage and quirky furniture and finds. But most of all it was the gorgeous oversized tassel pendant light that caught attention.  ‘Getting dressed’ no longer seems such a chore.




Alison Davin of Jute Home designed this inviting eat in kitchen with today’s family in mind.  The room is situated in the corner of the home and is a destination to get too, so she wanted to create a space that is multi purpose and where the family would linger. Think kids doing homework or playing board games, mum sitting by the fire with a glass of wine.  Overall the look is modern and streamlined but she has added warmth and personality by installing ceiling beams with walnut trim, wainscoting, white oak herringbone floors and a cozy fireplace and seating area.  Other delightful touches include an eclectic mix of vintage chairs around a central farmhouse table, Metro pendant lights and a gallery wall.



The circular shape of the Metro pendants by Remains Lighting compliment the pattern of the tile splashback from Ann Sacks.


Cabinets are painted in Benjamin Moore Midnight Blue and small accents of the blue are also found in the gallery wall above featuring art by Serena Bocchino. There is much to love about this room.




Martha Angus and Eche Martinez created a fun and artful play room aptly named “Danger Zone”. It featured a variety of custom made furniture pieces and art including a Vegas style bulb lit sign with the words ‘Everything you Want’, fabulous flocked foam ball chairs sourced at Art Basel and Design Miami, custom teepees made from bright orange alpaca fabric from Peru and held up with acrylic rods.  The bold rug is inspired by the sidewalks of Rio and a fireplace is stacked with dynamite.  This is a fun hangout space for both children and adults.







The fantasy client of this room is the man of the house who spends his spare time restoring treasured items. The walls are adorned with antique tools, as homage to those craftsmen who made the objects he now repairs. While this is definitely the man of the house’s sanctuary, the room also serves as a guest room for his grandchildren who share his passion for working with his hands. This room designed by Antonio Martins oozes style and substance and no detail has been overlooked.  Natural elements like burlap, wood, metal and leather help create this refined yet rustic, inviting and tactile room.






Kelly Hohla’s (of Jeffers Design Group) inspiration for the room she named ‘The Makers Mark Retreat’ is the urban artisan.  A place where a young couple would retreat to at the end of a long day for conversation and cocktails in front of the fireplace.  Metals like bronze, brass and blackened steel are mixed in with a dusky grey-blue palette creating an very atmospheric space.  It has a perfect blend of masculine and feminine details like the tweed style fabrics alongside the jewel toned mirror.


I am totally obsessing over this custom hide-on-hide wall covering is by Kyle Bunting and the custom earth-cast bronze mirror by British design team Gabriel Scott. Oh, and the ceiling and wall lights, the tailoring and layering of fabrics and the vaulted ceiling. This room is delightfully tactile and uber chic. … need I say more?






Kriste Michelini has created a beautiful light and airy writers retreat in what was previously a small bedroom and bathroom. The Draper stripe citrine and cream runner by Dwell does a terrific job of visually leading you into the space and directing you to the my favorite aspect – the silk wallpaper by ‘Elitis’ lining the alcove wall and the day bed covered in soft Summery print pillows. It is fresh, inviting and a fabulous use of a challenging space with sloping walls.


Image credit: Open Marketing




Matthew Leverone was inspired by the natural light in the this room and envisioned a tailored space within the decorative French Baroque envelope. He set out to create a modern interior that would be both sophisticated and comfortable and suitable for the 21st century.

Gilded walls were painted a subtle “Whisper White” and the ceiling finished in a iridescent waxed and buffed Venetian plaster in a high polish which was beyond beautiful. Each piece of furniture carefully selected – from the vintage hand-knotted Moroccan rug which adds a geometric element to the classic backdrop, and the late 20th century Italian bent chrome plated steel frame chair wrapped in a custom leather sling through to the 60 year old Monterey Pine trees in custom containers.

This room is definitely for the modern man or woman who appreciates the finer things in life and the luxuriousness that a Salon represents.


My favorite piece of all has to be the renaissance style modern photographic print with blurred effect hanging over the ornate mirrored panel. I love the layering of picture on mirror. This is where the old and new come together perfectly.





Alex Ray of Five Senses Art Consultancy says the Georgian architecture of the house and it’s magnificent staircase provided and ideal place for an art collection.  She chose pieces based on their form and material. Each piece a statement in itself, yet somehow with the vast space in which they are displayed they all work together. From the free-flowing nature of the black lava sculpture by Darren Waterson contrasting against the orderly nature of the period staircase to the shiny steel orb sculpture by Randy Colosky and Sandra Osborne’s porcelain pile of blank notebooks and papers. They were certainly unexpected – but is a great example of period architecture working with modern art pieces.

Also love this geometric carpet which runs throughout the centre of the home and a soft shade of gray on the walls.


For more information about products used in these photos please contact the mentioned designers directly.

There are many more beautiful rooms to see so if you are in San Francisco for the next month don’t forget to stop by this years Decorator Showcase. It is definitely one of the best yet!


Picture credit: All images belong to Design Lovers Blog unless otherwise mentioned. If you wish to use any of our images please do include a link to our blog.





Jill Brandenburg is a Freelance Interiors Writer & Stylist and Co-Editor of Design Lovers Blog.
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4 Responses to “SF Decorator Showcase 2013 – Top 10 Rooms”
  1. I went to this yesterday and was blown away!!! So much inspiration. My favorites were the Family Kitchen and that guest bath inspired by the ocean- the medicine cabinet and window were unreal- obsessed!

    • Jill says:

      Hi Darina – yes this year’s Decorator Showcase was outstanding. I have driven past that home a million times so cool to see what it was like inside. The family kitchen was so livable and that guest bath was beautiful. It was so small but everything was so perfectly put together in it. The way the medicine cabinet glided was perfect and I also loved the floor tile. It was hard to capture those elements on film but I agree – another fabulous room.

  2. Trebor.eniotna@gmail.com' Trebor says:

    This decorator showcase is the worst ever. What’s going on? Where are talents gone? Is management the problem?
    Worst of worst is the living room. It is just a bad joke. No inspiration, no talent, nothing. Sorry I don’t mean to be rude but need to express my frustration of a customer who paid to see this window dressing.
    I like new ideas, innovations, risk takers, but this has to come with inspiration and some talent. None of those here. The room is dull, inspiration is copy of old Mike J he doesn’t live in anymore, it is cold and empty. Don’t trust the pictures, go see it and wonder if you would live in it. A bunch of things brought there as if they were in a warehouse. That’s the spirit: warehouse!
    That’s the first time I walk out of this showcase with nothing to remember, nothing inspiring, except some little details. I would have better spent my time in the design district.
    In hope this helps.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Stitch loves the bold colors, wild patterns and retro vibe of designer Shelley Cahan’s womans dressing room at this years San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2013. Partnering with Shelley on the window covering, Rachael Brune and her team at Stitch provided a custom roman shade in white fabric with a large,  graphic greek key applique feature, adding to the bold patterns in the room. In fact, Shelley’s bold and playful dressing room was a pick as one of the top 10 rooms in this year’s showcase by Design Lovers Blog . […]

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