2019 Showcase Design Award: Catherine Kwong


INTERIOR DESIGNER Catherine Kwong viewed the 2018 San Francisco Decorator Showcase as an opportunity “to put something out there that closely reflected our principles as a design firm: to use quality materials to create layered spaces that are elegant and elevated while maintaining a sense of approachability and scale,” she says. The end result? Each carefully considered element shines.

To create the hand-built cocktail table, Kwong traveled to Pennsylvania to meet with George Nakashima’s daughter, Mira, and select the walnut slab that comprises the room’s focal point. The built-in sofa features linen cushions embroidered by Michael Savoia; the subtle botanical motif was inspired by a photo of a magnolia tree’s shadow.

Photos by Douglas Friedman

A wall lined in European white oak planks is adorned with a round mirror by ASH NYC along with a series of black-and-white Polaroids by Josh Gruetzmacher, which are accompanied by handwritten quotes by the likes of John Muir and Jack Kerouac.

Photos by Douglas Friedman

Kwong also designed a bar; it shares the same hand- troweled plaster wall treatment as portions of the living room and is appointed with Italian marble, cabinetry painted in Farrow & Ball’s Off-Black, and circa-1950 French sconces in black metal and brass by Parscot. There’s a reading
nook as well, where a custom- painted wallpaper by Stevie Howell serves as a backdrop for a Fritz Hansen lounge chair and a Jacques Biny floor lamp, both vintage, plus a stool from Almond & Co. made from a hollowed-out tree trunk. With its serene atmosphere, it’s no surprise that Kwong imagined this as “a place for one to unplug and reconnect with people in a more analog way.”