2010 CH+D Award for Showcase House Design: Matthew Leverone


When Matthew Leverone set out to design a family room for the 2009 San Francisco Decorator Showcase, it was clear that he had a certain type of family in mind—as in, no toddlers running around with grape juice and finger paints. “We imagined a family whose kids have grown and gone off to college. It’s an adult gathering place for people to relax and enjoy conversation,” says Leverone.

It was an elegant but contemporary update of what was formerly an ornate music room, with walls upholstered in gold heavy fabric, the color and texture of which took away from the classical Georgian architectural details of the room. Leverone wanted to bring the space back to its essence, so he highlighted the moldings and simple columns with nothing more than a satin finish of the same dusty pewter that he painted the defrocked walls. “I wanted to simplify it, gray it out and create a really clean envelope, so all the architectural elements would stand out,” says Leverone.

  The pale gray palette lends the room a sophistication that is lightened with playful textures and shapes, in elements such as two oversize stools upholstered in Tibetan lambswool. Leverone deftly brought color into the space through art. A large Squeak Carnwath painting hangs above the sofa, and all of the smaller abstract works are by Kirsten Stolle. He designed nearly every piece in the room, including an armless sofa upholstered in wheat-colored linen with a grid of leather piping. He selected a Calder-esque chandelier by David Weeks for the living room and replaced the “awful sconces” on the walls with simple pendants suspended from adjustable bronze hinges of his own design.

The breakfast room features the same snowy palette. A white Saarinen table is ringed by ladderback chairs in the style of Carlo di Carli. Their graceful silhouettes epitomize the room’s elegance, allowing visitors to imagine the very grown-up family that might call this home.

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