For the past 37 years, spring brings with it the San Francisco Decorators Showcase, a month-long event staged in a different private residence somewhere along the city’s Gold Coast. More than 15,000 visitors stream through a featured house, generating ticket sales with proceeds going to a local high school’s financial aid program.
The stage is set
In 1907, the classic Edwardian home at 3660 Jackson Street was commissioned for Rose and Alfred Sutro, nephew of San Francisco’s former mayor. In a commanding position atop Presidio Heights, palladium windows to the rear of the three-story residence offer sweeping views of a formal terraced garden leading to forested parkland and a sparkling bay beyond. The six bedroom home sold last year for $18 million, reportedly within one week of being listed, after which the house underwent its latest makeover by 26 leading decorators.
Decorators are inspired
The premier design show house event on the West Coast moves to another venue each spring, allowing top interior and landscape designers to install new interiors for visitors to appreciate in person. A blue and white master bedroom with hand-painted walls is inspired by the decorator’s 18th century family heirloom Portuguese bed with family crest. Birds singing from original Chinoiserie dining room wallpaper harken to another time and place, anchored in today by the carefully chosen contemporary artwork. A music room, an artist’s loft/observatory complete with telescope, the mixologist’s quarters, a woman’s sleek home office, a powder room, a potting shed and a handsome library replete with period features are among the themed spaces. A chandeliered master bathroom and salon with checkerboard cowhide floor would not be out of place at Paris’ presidential Elysée Palace. Heaven-at-home bedrooms, such as “Lily’s Pad” in turquoise and coral for the adolescent girl, call out for homework perfectly done and belongings tidied without dissent. Every square inch reflects full-out creativity, and the rooms go on.
Chefs whip up tastes
This year, a new twist takes place on selected days in the stunning chef’s kitchen. Cooking demonstrations presented by Whirlpool are hosted in House Beautiful’s Kitchen of the Year, as top culinary talents from famous San Francisco restaurants make guest appearances. In a gleaming kitchen featuring black cabinetry and white countertops and floors, nary a crumb would escape notice. Francis Hogan of Bluestem Brasserie, Thomas McNaughton of Flour + Water, Francis Hogan, Robin Song of Hogs & Rocks, and Ryan Pollnow of Central Kitchen will wow visitors with hors d’oeuvres served up from an adjacent lounge and generous suntrap deck (where even the outdoor sofa is heated) overlooking the knockout views of San Francisco Bay.
Ticket to tomorrow
The annual Showcase benefits San Francisco University High School’s financial aid program. Conceived in 1977 by a parent at the coeducational independent school, the first showcase netted $26,000. In 2013, another $622,565 was added to the pot. Since 1977, some $12.5 million has been raised in tuition assistance for the college preparatory with a student population representing diverse racial, ethnic, religious, and economic backgrounds. More than $2 million in financial assistance is currently distributed to 20 percent of the 390 members of the school’s student body.