What’s the Popular San Francisco Decorator Showcase All About?

The San Francisco Decorator Showcase, which began in 1977, has taken place at some of the most prestigious addresses in some of the most breathtaking neighborhoods of San Francisco including at Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Sea Cliff, the Marina, and more.

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Photo: SF Chronicle


The Showcase has raised over $16 million in the past 42 years to benefit the San Francisco University High School (UHS) financial aid program. Every year, dozens of Bay Area designers transform a site into a playground of interior design. This year, the site is at 3800 Washington, known in local real estate as “Le Petit Trianon.”


Image result for the sf decorator showcasePhoto: SF Station


It’s an 18,000-square-foot, circa-1904 mansion in the Presidio Heights inspired by the original Chateau at the Versailles Palace in France.

Image result for the best sf decorator showcasePhoto: Curbed SF

Tickets cost $35-$40 and the event runs from April 27 until May 27.

Here’s a peek of the interior designs in the mansion:

Everyone will be talking about the downstairs ballroom by Vernon Applegate and Gioi Tran of Applegate Tran Interiors, who transformed the stodgy, windowless space into sleek, black discotheque reminiscent of a Berlin nightclub. The expansive basement, which once played host to many a cotillion with crinolines galore, was transformed into a swank spot to sip rose and relax:

“Ballroom” by Applegate Tran Interiors.

Brandon Pruett’s balcony garden, features a verdant halo with cascading tree ferns and orchids encircling the home’s central atrium.

“It’s meant to be looked at from down below,” says Mission District-based gardener and landscape artist Brandon Pruett of Brandon Pruett Design, whose garden perch drapes off the top-floor railings just under the central atrium.

In addition to providing a shock of greenery to the home’s white center, as well as being a refreshing break from the ubiquitous living wall, Pruett’s work, which features an array of plants and ferns from California to Colombia, also filters the air.

The home’s rotunda with “the Balcony Garden: the Skylight Conservatory” by Brandon Pruett Design

The 3800 Washington mansion offers several living rooms, and two noteworthy ones inside the 2019 showcase are located on the first floor toward the back.

First, the Wiseman Group’s room, inspired by Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent (who both founded the YSL label), uses browns and earth tones to bring reign in the space with classical, contemporary, and custom furnishings. Of special note, a Ming Dynasty coffee table and a sprawling two-window seat banquette:

“The Haute Hideaway: a Tribute to Connoisseurship” by the Wiseman Group.

On the opposite side of the Wiseman Group’s room is Chris and Susan Weir Collins’s minimalist living room, providing a balance to the former’s ’70s maximalism. Here you will find walls painted uniform white, mirrors reflecting the garden outside, and an aubergine circular sectional:

“Living Room” by Studio Collins Weir

Created for 13-year-old twin girls “who recently relocated from Singapore,” Eva Muller Bradley and Alicia Cheung Lichtenstein’s bedroom features flora and fauna prints, bamboo light fixture, and two acyclic swings at the foot of the beds. The beetle-print wallpaper gracing the room’s entrance provides a whimsical, entomological touch:

“Daydream Believin’” by Studio Heimat (Eva Muller Bradley and Alicia Cheung Lichtenstein)
“Daydream Believin’” by Studio Heimat (Eva Muller Bradley and Alicia Cheung Lichtenstein)

Susan Lind Chastain, who dreamed up the Rooftop Rendez-vous Retreat, took the French theme of the house and ran with it for this corner room. The chartreuse sofas that sit ramrod straight also come with metal studs adorning the top to give them a contrasting edge.

“They will also keep people from sitting on the arms of the sofa,” notes Chastain.

And the wallpaper done in a custom toile print, designed by Willem Racké, will delight locals with San Francisco scenes – like a protest at Justin Herman Plaza, nude bike riders, and a scene outside the Castro Theatre.

“Rooftop Rendez-vous Retreat” by Susan Lind Chastain and Willem Racké Studio

Both the Breakfast Room and Wabi Sabi Soak Room are peaceful affairs that take advantage for the top-floor’s abundance of natural light. The soaking room/toilet is highlighted by wooden slats covering the rub, vanity, and skylight, with a metal Foscarini Spokes light fixture adding a sculptural touch. The nearby morning dining room comes with a new terrazzo floor flecked with greens and grays, adding a vibe that plays well with the vintage furniture:

“The Breakfast Room” by Eche Martinez
“Wabi Sabi Soak Room” by Clara Bulfoni of Geddes Ulinskas Architects

Jonathan Rachman’s emerald living room from 2017 was still being talked about at the press preview for this year’s showcase:

Image result for Jonathan Rachman’s emerald living room from 2017Jonathan Rachman’s emerald living room from 2017

His work for 2019 will also be one of the most talked about spaces. Once again, the designer wisely sticks to de Gournay wallpaper—in this case, recently discovered blue rolls that date approximately 200 years—for his room inspired by Houghton Hall, a circa-1722 country mansion built for Britain’s first Prime Minister.

The lengthy power pink sofa pairs nicely with the comparatively calmer walls and decorative ceiling. Lauren Bacall and Humphry Bogart’s old credenza is here. There’s even a small salon room, drenched in jewel blue, just off the main room, ideal for private one-on-ones.

Don’t miss the horsetail hair used as trim on the coffee table.

Jonathan Rachman’s Houghton Hall-inspired living room with 200-year-old de Gournay wallpaper reeks of 1930s allure:

“Houghton Hall Reimagined” by Jonathan Rachman Design

Alexis Humiston conceived of this master bathroom as a room of repose for Eloise, the granddaughter of La Petit Trianon’s original homeowner, Cora Koshland. (Psst, be on the lookout for an actor playing Cora’s ghost.) This luxe bathroom, which comes with a fireplace, features garden and oceanic themes, as seen in the de Gournay wallpaper.

Highlights here include the 1970s marble cocktail bar reused as a toiletry vanity and the tiled shower closet with dual heads.

“Master Bathroom/Spa” by Alexis Humiston of ABH Interiors

“Feminine and fanciful in its design,” notes designer Dina Bandman, who created Marie’s Magnolia’s as a reimagined space for Marie Antoinette. Most notable is the plaster treatment of white magnolia branches and flowers that creep up the walls and onto the ceiling.

“Marie’s Magnolias” by Dina Bandman Interiors
“Marie’s Magnolias” by Dina Bandman Interiors

From the mind of Sunset District-based architect Virginie Manichon, the Bizibots Bedroom displays her handcrafted wooden toy creation, the Bizibot robot. A rocket room divider pairs perfectly with the adorable, mechanical creatures.

“Bizibots Bedroom” by Virginie Manichon of Atelier 19

Manichon’s window screens use Paris Metro maps as a design reference—which will thrill kids and transit geeks alike—while the galaxy ceiling lights up in an array of colors, replete with the occasional passing comet.

The child’s “maker studio” bedroom by architect Virginie Manichon

Catherine Clark’s vestibule/foyer adds a moment of contemporary reflection—literally. Her use of artist Katherine Vetne’s melted leaded sculptures, akin to your great-grandparent’s wedding silver, take an old reference and make it fresh.

“Vestibule/Foyer” by Catherine Clark

In the adjoining hallway, Scott McMahan of Scott Robert Design uses a chevron pattern with oak and steel panels on the floor, which is reflected in the black lacquered ceiling. The light fixture, a standout ring of glass and metal, ties the whole thing together. A clever use of small space:

“Classically Modern” by Scott McMahan of Scott Robert Design.

Kelly Hola’s unisex lounge/cave features abstract floral wallpaper in purple and lavender hues that give this room a soft yet edgy look. The mini bar is a much-needed tipsy touch.

“The Wo-Man Cave” by Kelly Hohla Design

Outside is also a sight to see as it’s one of the home’s more dramatic moments: Jarrod Baumann’s geometric garden that tips its hat to both neoclassical and contemporary styles. “From the beginning light of day and on into the evening, the garden will continue to change and offer constant surprises,” says Baumann:

“The Gardens” by Jarrod Baumann of Zeterre

The white sculpture was designed by Yoko Kubrick, whose work is the focal point of this expansive exterior space.

The San Francisco Decorator Showcase runs from April 27 to May 27. It’s open from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Monday, except on Memorial Day).

Open Tuesday – Sunday
(Closed Monday, except Memorial Day)

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday:
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (last entry)

10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (last entry)

Sunday and Memorial Day:
11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. (last entry)

Sources: decoratorshowcase.org, Curbed SF

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