Behind Closed Doors at the Decorator Showcase House

On May 1, the elaborate doors of the 2010 San Francisco Decorator Showcase House will swing open to the public and style connoisseurs will fill the Washington Street mansion to admire the work of some of the top designers in the city. What they won't see is the tough decisions and the drama that go into the making of what have proven to be some of the most intriguing rooms of the year. Today we launch a series of blogs that go behind the elegant finished spaces for a look into the creation of a Showcase project. We begin with a first look at the rooms being remodeled by newcomers George Brazil and Cecilia Sagrera-Hill of SagreraBrazil Design.

The design duo, described by insiders as smart, creative and organized, launched their firm five years ago. They are looking at their Showcase rooms as a way to establish a name for themselves and prove what they can do. In order to make a splash, they selected a bathroom and adjacent dressing area that were so dated, Sagrera-Hill says they were "screaming" to be renovated.

"The tile was mottled pink, and everything--the toilet, the tub and the sink--was really low," says Brazil. "The rooms hadn't been touched in a long, long time."

The designers began by creating an imaginary client. Brazil describes her as: "A fashionista who has recently moved back to her parents' home after graduate school and is looking to establish herself professionally, socially and philanthropically."

In this day and age, a recent graduate who moves back to the nest sounds pretty believable. Luckily, in this constructed reality, the parents have been unscathed by market fluctuations, which allowed the designers to selected lux bookmatched marble, subdued aqueous paint colors and a chic bohemian wallpaper. In a statement written for the project, the designers describe their idea of the room as a little black dress that can be accessorized either in a stylishly subtle or happily exuberant way. This sketch shows plans for dressing area.

Then reality intruded on the creative vision: The owners, who were originally planning to sell the home, decided they might just stay. Suddenly, when it came to bathrooms and the kitchen, there was a very real client with concrete needs. Can the designers mesh the requirements of the dream client (a young iPad loving fashion plate) with the desires of the current owners (a couple who want to preserve the existing closet units)? Stay tuned to find out.

 

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