Thursday, June 4, 2009

The San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2009 – Part V

Photo courtesy Heather Hilliard

Some of you wondered how I acquired the photos of the last four posts on the San Francisco Decorator Showcase. The Showcase staff was checking cameras at the entrance but when I explained that I was a blogger and planned to feature some of the designers, they graciously allowed me to keep my camera. Unfortunately, before I was finished touring the second level, my camera was unceremoniously confiscated. I am truly grateful for the photos I was allowed to take but at the same time I was sad that I did not have it for the penthouse and roof garden.

Photo courtesy Heather Hilliard

When I first turned the corner from the narrow staircase, I saw a warm and comfortable room bathed in natural light spilling from the picture window.

And when I say picture window, I mean PICTURE WINDOW:

Photo courtesy Heather Hilliard

If you look closely through the window, you will see the Golden Gate Bridge shrouded in the fog. But that was not what we saw that day. These photos came courtesy the designer Heather Hilliard and were taken a different day. On this day we saw this:

Photo courtesy Stephanie

Can you believe this view? Can you believe that ribbon of fog across the Golden Gate Bridge, modestly revealing only her tower tips and legs? And if you follow that ribbon, you will see that it obscures most of Sausalito across the San Francisco Bay, but leaves the dome of the Palace of Fine Arts untouched.

Photo courtesy Stephanie

It is days like these that make me feel like I’m the luckiest person in the world.

My daughter may never emerge from the girly bedroom and bathroom, but if I lived in this house, I may never emerge from the penthouse. Heather Hilliard struck a perfectly understated note with comfortable neutrals and gentle pops of color echoing the view: blues from the bay waters and International Orange, the Golden Gate Bridge’s paint color.

Photo courtesy Heather Hilliard

I would curl up on the comfy sofa with a great book, sipping Irish coffee brought to me by my staff.

Photo courtesy Heather Hilliard

I wouldn’t even have to worry about leaving a ring on the coffee table because the cool plexiglass tables are protecting the pretty hassocks beneath them. Or I would blog about my perfect life filled with Dutch tulips and Tony Bennett softly crooning “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” on the stereo.

Photo courtesy Heather Hilliard

“SNAP!” Back to reality, please.

Oh yes, where was I? I was giving you a tour of this fabulous house, but now I have no more photos. I can not show you the roof garden that encircles the penthouse providing a view in every direction. Nor can I show you the myriad of geometric patterns created here with succulent plants. I can not show you the fourth level of this house, the lower level, where:
  • the walk-in safe has been re-purposed as the wine cellar
  • you can sip cucumber water in the zen-like yoga studio
  • your kids can dump, er I mean neatly place, their sports equipment in the, well, sports equipment room
  • the bathroom will play your favorite playlist of songs as soon as you close the door and you can gaze at the ceiling of celestial lights
Ramsey, of FogBay, asked an interesting question in a comment in Part II of this mini-series.
Which better describes your feelings in the home?
A. Lovely, I could move in here tomorrow.
B. The designers are showing off, I could live here but I'd have to completely remodel.
C. Other
The house, for the most part, has a great layout, especially considering its age. It exudes a warm and alive feeling. I was not surprised to read that Nellie Norris Cravens and her family, who lived in the mansion for 27 years, “used every room, every closet, every space.” As is often the case with these showcase houses, the designers are alleviated from the pressures of reality; I do not recall seeing one TV or computer. The decorations were not all my style, sometimes a bit too “drippy” with luxury or too avant-garde for my taste, but some of the rooms, like the family room and breakfast areas, I wanted to transport directly into my house. And you already know how I feel about the penthouse. How about you? How would you answer Ramsey’s question?

I overheard someone say that the house was for sale for $14 million. When I googled the address, it said it was on the market for a mere $10 million. Just think, you save $4 million! Please buy it and then invite me. I will bring Irish coffee for everyone, straight from its birthplace, The Buena Vista Café in Fisherman’s Wharf. I won’t stay long, honest!

Stephanie, thank you for capturing the view with your photos! Thank you for inviting me to your birthday celebration; touring the Decorator Showcase was a great idea! We all had a fantastic day.

DSC05797 Happy Birthday Stephanie


Relyn Lawson said...

What an incredible way to celebrate a birthday. I love that idea. Happy late birthday, Stephanie.

OK. on to your question. Like you, I thought some of the rooms were incredible and I was ready to move in. Mostly, though, I think designer showcases are just that. A place for the designer to showcase their talent. Not design for the masses. Or even just for me. So, no. I wouldn't want to live with most of those designs. But, I sure loved looking at them.

What I do love, that powder room. I mean, I really, really, really love that powder room. Especially the plaster walls. And in a dream world, I'd keep the puppet theater and gift wrap room. Such fun!

Ruth said...

I'm with Relyn, I loved the powder room. And I agree with you about the penthouse, which is grand in a simple way - clean and a proper "frame" for the amazing view out those windows. I enjoyed the tour immensely, thank you.

Why could Stephanie take photos?

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Relyn,
I went to a Benjamin Moore talk last year. They had a display of those "plaster" walls. I think they called it Venetian plaster.

Dear Ruth,
Stephanie had a compact camera in her purse so I asked her to take a photo of the fog creeping over the bridge. I didn't think there would be a problem with taking a photo of the view since that would not compromise any of the designers.

paris parfait said...

That view in that city tops all the comfort of the house - although it's beautiful. Thanks for sharing the photos!

A Cuban In London said...

I had to SNAP, too :-)! Happy birthday (belatedly)! Many thanks for the fantastic pictures. The ones with that ribbon of fog around them were incredible.

Greetings from London.

the paris apartment said...

Happy Birthday! Your tour was fabulous. I really don't know what the hangup is with photos. It's really a buzz kill when you're just promoting an event for a good cause. It's not a dang museum, they need to lighten up!

Emily said...

What gorgeous photos, once again :)

studio wellspring said...

wowsa sweet dutchess ~ the photos of the blue skies & fog ribbon pierced thru with that bright orange bridge are just breath taking! and oh how i miss buena vista cafe. i have enjoyed many an irish coffee there. but i think i would enjoy even more sharing those hot toddies with you in your penthouse. it is simply lovely, and so are you!

Sherri said...

Wow! Those views are amazing. I love the Bay area. I always get excited when we fly over the Golden Gate Bridge and I get to take a peak.

Elizabeth said...

Your photo's are beautiful and you are so lucky you were able to make them. Maybe making photo's wasn't allowed because there is always the possibility that there is a person planning/preparing for some unkind action. (I assume, someone is really living there)

The best picture is that with the tulips. Oh how I love tulips, that is why I made them my official symbol for friendship on my new canvas called Soul Food.

Ik kon het vandaag niet laten om dit symbool te laten zien samen met het liedje van Herman Emmink, Tulpen uit Amsterdam. Nostalgie hangt in de lucht.

Hoe lang mochten jullie eigenlijk rondkijken? Het uitzicht op de Golden Gate Bridge moet je tot je nemen daar kun je je toch echt niet in haasten. Dit lijkt me een hele grote woning, hoe vinden die mensen elkaar? Of te wel dat is mijn probleem om m'n man te vinden als hij ergens in of rondom huis is en ik 'm snel nodig heb en wij hebben een klein huis maar met een grote tuin.

Het is weer een heel epistel aan het worden in plaats van een kort bedankje voor de mooie foto's.

Groetjes uit Denemarken.

Dutchbaby said...

Dear Paris Parfait,
I agree, the view took my breath away.

Dear Cuban,
I'm sorry I had to SNAP you to reality, Cuban, maybe that was cruel...

Dear paris apartment,
Thanks for your support. I think Elizabeth (see her comment below) had a good point; they might have been afraid I was going to be mischievous and unflattering in my blog. Thanks for visiting dutchbaby.

Dear Jemm,
Thanks for coming along!

Dear studio,
I love the sound of "dutchess" and "your penthouse"! I feel elevated already. Here's a toast to us in the penthouse!

Dear Postcards,
As often as I've crossed the Golden Gate bridge, I never tire of it. The view from above is even better.

Dear Elizabeth,
I think you make a good point here. I think they feared the lack of control of the content. I don't know if anyone is living there now; the house is up for sale.

Ik hou ook zo veel van die tulpen. Ik krijg heimwee als je zo van "Tulpen van Amsterdam" spreekt.

We mochten zolang als we wilden rondlopen. Het was een enorme grote woning met vier etages. Ik denk dat het mogelijk is om elkaar weken lang niet zien. Men moet afspraken maken :-)

Ik hou van jouw epistelen, dan kan ik mijn Hollands oefenen - als je maar mijn foutjes vergeeft.

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