CURBED

Your first look at the 2018 San Francisco Decorator Showcase

From fringe wallpaper in the master bedroom to a closet turned DJ room, these Bay Area designers take their talent to a new level

By Brock Keeling@BrockKeeling  Apr 26, 2018, 2:27pm PDT

Photography by Patricia Chang

The annual San Francisco Decorator Showcase, where some of the Bay Area’s top interior designers are given one room inside a tony home in which to create magic, has become a more subdued affair over the years. The city’s preferred design as of late leans toward the monochromatic and modern. However, this year’s more restrained looks haven’t make the showcase any less interesting.

Moving down from the peaks of Telegraph Hill and Pacific Heights (where the 2016 and 2017 showcases took place, respectively), this year’s home can be found smack dab along the Marina Green. For the first time in its 41 years, the abode’s facade got in on the action care of Simon Breitbard Fine Arts.

Artist AJ Oishi created a large-scale, on-house art installation grounded in bullseye patterns. Christened Eyes on Hue, the work was one of two proposals submitted to the Showcase Design Advisory Board, who selected the bolder, more daring concentric circles design seen on the facade. (Perhaps the city’s flaccid Planning Commission can learn something here?)

Eyes on Hue is a coup for the showcase, especially when one considers the fact that the neighborhood has unwritten rules of order—e.g., during the holidays, only small white lights can be displayed on homes’ exteriors. Oishi’s piece will prove to be this year’s most Instagrammable moment.

Once inside the 1920s Spanish-Mediterranean Revival, the foyer and staircase, conceived by Molie Malone Interior Design, offers an earthy cloudscape wall design complimented by brown giraffe-print stair runner. 

The living room, compared to last year’s emerald extravaganza, is a more subdued affair. Mead Quin designed a room you would want to sink into after a long day, one that features tranquil shades of while and beige.

Quin also breathed new life into a dying concept—the living wall. Her work on the ground floor terrace boasts a goose necked strip of air plants, also known as tillandsia, fashioned onto the exterior wall. A refreshing change of pace. Along with the facade, it will be seen all over Instagram.

Drawing inspiration from sand, driftwood, sage, and sky, interior designer David Bjørngaard created the formal dining room’s new look, which is now a more casual affair mixing art and family dining. 

A custom Kyle Bunting rug provides perfect contrast to the room, while a mobile by Julia Condon substitutes for a chandelier. The Condon composition, which uses both found and hand-blown glass objects, refracts light onto the floor and walls—a deliriously joyful piece.

Other highlights include Elan Evans and Cynthia Spence’s reading room, which she says uses the “slow design” philosophy of using only local pieces. (“A return to analog,” explains Spence, “the opposite of mass produced.”) 

Lane McNab transforms an otherwise neglected passageway into a wine room with vine-like pendant lighting. 

And Decorator Showcase regular Jon De La Cruz dreamed up ‘the Lady Cave,” a curtain-covered room which he describes as “introverted” and “a big warm hug.”

But the big bang of this year’s showcase is happening in the master bedroom. Indigo fringe wallpaper, to be specific. 

“The idea of hanging fringe seemed too wild at the start,” said designer Jeff Schlarb, who dreamed up the loose-threaded master bedroom. “But once it went up, it looked so soft.”

Indeed, the bravado of fringe on a 1920s flapper appears toned down and whimsical once affixed en masse to an entire room. The affect is warm, cozy, and—yes—irresistibly tactile.

A pair of citrus themed rooms, coincidentally placed next to each other, offer blasts of summer-tinged color to this year’s showcase. One room, “the Tangerine Dream Lounge” by Susan Lind Chastain and Willem Racké, features hues of orange as well as—swoon—a high-gloss ceiling. (The importance of high-gloss paint on a small room’s ceiling, which results in an open and enlarging effect, cannot be overstated.) 

The other fruity room, “Lemondrop Lullaby” by Dina Bandman, comes with an acrylic baby crib and lemon tree wallpaper featuring a smattering of bejeweled citron on the vines.

The home’s loos also shine bright at this year’s Decorator Showcase. 

Adele Lapointe’s master bathroom uses forest green tile from Fireclay Tile as inspiration for an impressive and alluring space. An upstairs jack-and-jill bathroom, created by Roberto Tiscareno, is titled “Androgino” for its androgynous and dark concept. Beth Daecher’s “Sea Scape Powder Room” offers two wall coverings, one braided and one vinyl, and a lighter take on onyx. And Stephan Blachowski’s downstairs bathroom, “Above, the Garden Awaits” is an exercise in duality.

A.J. Oishi