Once a year, usually in the spring, various charitable organizations procure a residence for the purpose of opening it to the public for home tours. What makes the home of interest is the fact that it’s been remodeled and redecorated by some of the best interior designers, architects, carpenters and artisans in the country. Some of the rooms are sleek, modern examples of contemporary living. Others are over the top confections of fabric, flowers, art and antiques. Inspiration and visual appeal are clearly what show case “visitors” anticipate, drawing them back year after year to their favorite showcase.
I’ve participated in five showcases and two home tours: three as a student, two as a designer and two as a homeowner and all of them were satisfying, worthwhile experiences. From a designer’s point of view, it’s a large investment of time of money. It takes about six months to present schemes to the committees; do any necessary demolition work; procure furnishings from vendors; enlist the help of subs (some are paid, some are volunteers); and complete installations. At the end of the six months there is often a grand opening or evening gala and about two weeks of daytime tours. Ticket prices vary but the daytime tours are usually more affordable.
There was a pair of gorgeous, French antique mirrors and a French sideboard loaned to me by the design store, Fleur de Lis. Many of the furnishings were on loan from various showrooms at the San Francisco Design Center with whom I’ve developed a relationship over the years. There was a parquet topped walnut desk from Wroolie and Company; Tole style planters from Shears and Window; and an overstuffed, linen leaf print covered armchair with a tufted velvet ottoman, both from Lee Jofa.
Two of my favorite pieces were a pair of armless, mahogany framed, olive green velvet chairs from Kravet. They were smashing. I had one of our seamstresses sew up a slipcover to conceal a non-descript wooden bookcase. It matched the “skirt” that went around the custom counter. Original oils by California artists Chuck Waldman and Jack Cassinetto hung on the walls. One favorite in particular was a misty shot of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Click here for more information about this year's San Francisco Decorator Showcase.
Here's to a beautiful spring, Shiree
The designer showcase concept was conceived to raise funds for important causes and showcase design talent. It garners community involvement. It inspires people and helps them to better understand the evolution of style and function in the home. For many, attending showcases with family or friends is a much anticipated, spring tradition.