2012 CH+D Award Winner for Showcase House Design

Grant K. Gibson, Grant K. Gibson Interior Design, San Francisco
The San Francisco Decorator Showcase, Dining Room

For many neighborhoods in San Francisco, fog is simply a fact of life. You can fight it, ignore it or follow designer Grant K. Gibson’s lead and embrace it. In the dining room he designed for the 2011 San Francisco Decorator Showcase in Presidio Heights, Gibson covered the walls in a smoky gray hemp-cloth wallpaper from Phillip Jeffries and had the ceiling painted to mimic the swirling fog regularly observed through the room’s French doors and arched window. To draw in the verdant colors of the area, he covered a dozen Louis XVI dining chairs in hand-dyed kelly green leather studded with antique brass nail heads. Gibson says that designing a showcase room provides the perfect opportunity to experiment and allows potential clients to see a side of his work that they might not be familiar with. “Most people think of my interiors as being more traditional,” says Gibson. “It was fun to mix it up and juxtapose modern and traditional elements. I mean, Louis chairs covered in electric green leather—you won’t find that in your grandmother’s house.”

Because showcase house designers have to foot the bill for their rooms, Gibson got creative and called in plenty of favors from friends. He gave a particleboard table a faux treatment that mimics burled walnut. The blue-and-white ginger jars were borrowed from Ann Getty’s private collection. Decorative painter Katherine Jacobus gave the floors four coats of high-gloss white deck paint, painstakingly taped off a lattice design by hand over the course of three days, and then applied another four coats of high-gloss black.

Other crowd pleasers in the room were the arrangements of pink peonies. Gibson went with the artificial variety after estimating how many times fresh ones would have to be replaced in a one-month period. “Most people thought they were real,” says Gibson. “One woman put her nose in them and told me they smelled wonderful.”

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