Decorator Showcase, San Francisco 2014 – Top 10 Rooms

Unleash twenty-six interior designers to work their magic on one of the most prestigious homes in San Francisco and what do you have? The annual San Francisco Decorator Showcase – the West Coast’s top home design event which runs from April 26 – May 26, 2014.  The location of this years house is 3660 Jackson Street, an elegant 9,000 square-foot mansion built in 1907 in San Francisco’s prestigious Presidio Heights neighborhood.

Fast forward 110 years and this home has just received it’s latest makeover by local San Francisco interior designers each trying to make their mark with their unique designs. Whilst this year’s Decorator Showcase has plenty of high points, our favorite aspect is the impressive selection and placement of modern art throughout the home – even in the most traditional room schemes.




With views extending over the wide green fields of the Presidio and the San Francisco Bay and with a formal terraced garden; there is a lot to love about this property… and that’s just the exterior. Lets take a look inside.

Here are our selection of Top Ten Rooms – Part 1 (in no particular order) from this years San Francisco Decorator Showcase.

Master Bedroom


For the design of the master bedroom, Antonio Martins of Antonio Martins Interior Design drew inspiration from his family roots in Portugal and the carefully preserved antique Portuguese ‘Bilros’ bed which had been his family’s heirloom since 18th century. “I have always loved this bed, which incorporates our family crest, and the Showcase was the perfect excuse to bring it to San Francisco,” says Antonio Martins.

In addition to the Portuguese bed he decided to decorate the walls in the iconic blue and white tiles (Portuguese Azulejos) found in buildings and churches throughout Portugal.



With faithful copies of 18th century tile patterns and designs provided by his cousin following a visit to Museu Nacional do Azulejo (National Tile Museum) in Lisbon,  Antonio commissioned San Francisco based master decorative painters Linda Horning and Katherine Jacobus to carry out his vision for the walls.  They hand painted the designs onto 242 (24 x 24″) pieces of masonite and finished them off with several layers of glaze to give the dramatic effect of aged ceramic tiles – a process that they estimate took 7 hours per tiles and 7 weeks to complete in total. That’s no easy task!



Not content with simply reproducing the tiles as is, Antonio wanted to give the walls a 21st century twist by not only expanding the tile size, but also shuffling the images around so it became one continuous piece of modern art enveloping the space.  Antonio says “I love the use of traditional designs and techniques in a whole new way.”


The paired down sculptural furnishings (including the John Dickinson tables), white glossy floors and large rope sculpture complete the twist on giving something from the past, 21st century appeal.  Antonio says “the large piece of rope sculpture brings a natural feel and gives reference to the Portugal sailing boats and discoveries of 15th century”.

We applaud Antonio Martins for his bold design – mixing traditional Portuguese tile, contemporary art and an 18th century antique bed passed down through generations. He has designed a breathtaking space that captures history and celebrates Portuguese culture in a modern manner.


The Soaking Lounge


The Soaking Lounge designed by Lisa Bakamis, is a two-part room designed as a teenage girl’s dream bathroom sanctuary. As you enter there is a dark and moody space with wash basin and mirror to your right (see image above) with a striking photograph by Danielle Mourning, called ‘Infinitely Comforting’ hanging above the sink and the walls are covered in antiqued mirror tile with leopard print, part of the new Martin Bullard Hermitage Collection for Ann Sacks. Opposite is a dark roomed WC with small gallery wall of art.

Beyond these spaces the room opens up into a bright and rather indulgent space with large soaking tub, dressing table and seating area. We love the yin and yang nature of these spaces (dark and moody vs bright and uplifting) yet how the natural, rustic elements (the heavy wood sink counter, rope lights, distressed wood wall, shell mirror, wicker chair) connects them visually.


The ‘Garden Butterfly’ wallpaper by Osborne & Little, gold metallic finishes and natural shell mirror creates a glamorous, indulgent, feminine soaking lounge.  Read more about the butterfly print trend in interior design in our earlier post Fluttertastic – Bird and Butterfly Decor‘.


In addition to the ‘Garden Butterfly’ wallpaper which looks convincingly like real mosaic tile, other elements that caught our attention were: the bubble chandelier by The Light Factory; the handwoven ‘Bolene’ wicker chair by Anthropologie; and the large Matthew Frederick oil painting called ‘Testing the Water’, which works perfectly with the color tones in this room. Lisa has created a bathroom sanctuary that would be loved by both teenage girls and mothers alike.




Geoffrey De Sousa of De Sousa Hughes decided to take a lighter approach to the traditional library; creating a wonderfully calm oasis by mixing neutrals in linen, suede and silk.  The calm palette of this quietly sophisticated room allows the lush greenery outside and ever changing views from the bay to take centre stage. The furniture pieces are chosen for their sculptural quality and thoughtfully positioned in the room.  Our favorites include the Padrino Club Chairs, Volt stool and Cast Glass Chandelier (above) – all available from De Sousa Hughes.


Geoffrey De Sousa’s client for this room is a young, IPad centric individual whose library of reading material is kept in the cloud, so  Geoffrey purchased and painted white, enough books to display on the shelves. The books act simply as a visual wallpaper to the room – giving a light backdrop to the dark paneled wood, yet still conveying the atmosphere of a more traditional library. Whilst this might seem a little extreme to some, we can’t help wonder in this age of modern technology whether this will become more commonplace.



Our eyes are drawn to the striking modern art piece by Kurt Manley (a Bay Area native fine art and freelance photographer) hanging above and juxtaposing the very traditional fire mantle. 


This is a beautifully executed old world ‘home library’ in a classic San Francisco mansion house being adapted for 21st century living.


Little Boy Blu Room


As a mother herself, Shelley Cahan of Shelley & Co Interior Design decided it would be fun to design an upscale retreat for the little gentleman of the house. Her “Little Boy Blu” room is conjures up a nostalgic sense of adventure. She is the first to admit “this room is the height of impractical decadence”. This young man has a closet that could rival Ralph Lauren’s, filled with designer jeans, warm cable-knit sweaters and authentic Italian leather loafers and a Hermes pillow on his bed. And what better to store his clothes in, than the gorgeous steamer trunk from Restoration Hardware.


 The homeowners stipulated that Shelley had to work with the existing wallpaper which in itself is quite busy, but Shelley’s clever styling (incorporating the brightly lit Marquee letters, dark painted ceiling featuring original chalk illustrations of airplanes, and the adorable mid-century illustrations by  Clyde F. Seavey) focuses your attention elsewhere. Ceiling illustrations by Shannon Geis.



A vintage steamer trunk and antique toys hint at a worldly, well-traveled lifestyle where affluence is apparent, yet the rom is still filled with boy-hood spirit and fun. Not a plastic toy in sight – this is the kind of room most parents would only dream of for the little one.


Artist’s Home Studio and Observatory


Matthew Turner of MacCaul Turner Design took advantage of the natural light and stunning views from this room, by designing what every San Francisco mansion home should have – it’s own Artist’s Home Studio and Salon. This effortlessly chic and sophisticated interior has a distinct European feel about it, incorporating an antique French brass daybed and Spanish chairs placed around a petrified tree stump. We love the carefully and well edited placement of antique pieces mixed with contemporary pieces.



Matthew says “I channeled a 1920’s Paris garret vibe” complete with peeling paster walls, a salon hanging of art and a sloped painted floor“. Matthew imagined the artist was inspired by the natural beauty of California so it seemed fitting that he included the modern painting entitled  “Bodega Bay” by Raimonds Stapron (loaned from Hackett Mill Gallery), which is featured above on the lit brass easel.



Matthew said “I was very pleased with how the walls turned out and I felt like this painting belonged here”. We couldn’t agree more!

Want to see more? See Part 2 – Top Ten Rooms from Decorator Showcase.


About – San Francisco Decorator Showcase

Open through May 26. Hours: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday and Memorial Day. Closed Monday, except Memorial Day. 3660 Jackson St., S.F. Tickets available in advance or at the door. General admission: $35. Seniors and students: $30.

Jill Brandenburg is a Freelance Interiors Writer & Stylist and Co-Editor of Design Lovers Blog.
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