5 Reasons You Must See Marin Designers Showcase

I've always enjoyed the Marin Designers Showcase, but this year was different. This year, I LOVED it. Visitors to the 15,500-square-foot home will be treated to the work of more than 20 designers on what can only be described as a breathtaking waterfront site on Belvedere Island.

Inside and outside the home, visitors will discover many familiar designers along with some new (to me, anyway) faces. There are many, many things to enjoy, but here are my personal picks.

1. The Homesite Itself (above)

The contemporary home, dubbed Villa Belvedere, features $45 million dollar views of the bay and San Francisco. The fun begins on the exterior, with a landscape by Stephen Suzman. Simply standing on the deck is worth the price of admission.

2. The Art

This house features something that's relatively hard to come by in Northern California's older homes on small lots: Soaring, dramatic public spaces. The designers have crafted many wonderful, inspiring rooms, but walking through the public spaces (entry, stairs and hallways) is also a visual treat because they are outfitted with wonderful works of art. The large scale of the area allows for some really "wow" pieces.

3. Suzanne Tucker's Living Room

I'm hesitant to call out one room or element, because there were so many I liked (Kriste Michelini's bedroom, Katie Denham's guest suite, Linda Horning's brilliant painting in the powder rooms by Jim Coch), but I really loved Suzanne Tucker's living room and office.

Living room by Suzanne Tucker of Tucker & Marks. Photo by Elliot Karlan.

As designer Ian Stallings told me at our CH+D Design Awards party this week: "It's great to see Suzanne Tucker's work in a contemporary setting." The more I reflected on this space, the more I appreciated the clever use of mirrors to incorporate the dramatic views, the skillful mix of traditional and modern and the large-scale art and indoor plantings. Tucker's work is always filled with wonderful details, and the closer you look, the more you will see in her eclectic accessories.

4. Gioi Tran's Master Suite

The master suite is all about sexy drama. Slightly elevated from the rest of the house, and blessed with perhaps the very best views, its trappings are both subtle and glamorous. "I wanted to do a master bedroom that had a masculine side," Tran told me.

Master bedroom and bath by Gioi Tran, Applegate Tran Interiors. Photo by Elliot Karlan.

The room's sleek furniture, most of it designed by Tran, includes a great modern take on a four-poster bed. There's plenty in this serene space that both sexes will enjoy.

5. David Kensington's Family Room and Kitchen

Although I've never scouted this well-known designer's work, the examples I've seen in other showcase events and magazines have been more traditional. Like Tucker, Kensington showed his modern side in the kitchen and family room.

Kitchen and family room by David Kensington. Photo by Matt McCourtney.

The event, which runs through February 26, benefits the Center for Volunteer Nonprofit Leadership. Check the website for hours and ticket information.

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