Eight Reasons to See the Elle Decor Showhouse


When it comes to interiors and architecture, San Francisco loves a good show. Off the top of my head I can think of three major annual home tours or showcase houses, and that’s not counting the myriad of smaller ones that pop up each spring and fall. But take it from a women who goes to (nearly) all of them, the Elle Decor Showhouse is not-t0-be-missed (purchase tickets here). There are at least eight reasons why.

No. 1: This is going to sound ridiculous to say about a five-bedroom, six-bathroom home, but it’s accessible. Most showcase-style homes seem to be things that you’d have to invent the next iPad to afford. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a very high-end home. However, the spaces are approachable. Maybe you’d just have to work at Facebook, Google, Apple or a shelter magazine (dreams, people!) to swing this 1911 Saint Francis Wood manse. Even if you live in a humble studio apartment, though, the innovation and trappings of this human-scale home will appeal to you.

No. 2: Gary Spain’s living room for Restoration Hardware. There are so many reasons to love this space, including: use of architectural artifacts (check out the Corinthian column tops used as the base of a coffee table), the amazing light fixtures and the quirky trappings and art (there’s a wonderful chess set with gigantic pieces, each one like a small sculpture).

No. 3: Kendall Wilkinson‘s entry foyer and office. The story of the house is writ small here. Check out the gently curving, traditional stair rail that leads to the bedrooms upstairs. Now look at the mesh panel that announces the staircase to the lower (and very fun and funky, more later) downstairs family room. I’ve heard many designers say the entry in a great home needs to make a statement. Mission accomplished.

No. 4: Palmer Weiss‘ kitchen. It is impossible not to stand in this blue-and-white room and feel happy. The joyful patterns and bright yellow pleather chairs make me want to eat a good breakfast complete with jam, butter and toast.

No. 5: Jay Jeffer‘s master bedroom. I fell in love with the subdued color palette and wild textures the moment I stepped into this room. Layers of patterns make it extremely luxe, and the fabrics are so fine you want to wallow in them. But, it’s a tiny space—so small I had to ask to make sure of its master bedroom status. The masterful way Jeffers handled the diminutive room makes square footage a non-issue (I adore the tiny, wall-hung bedside tables). Note: This photograph is by Matthew Millman.

No. 6: Grant Gibson‘s teen girl’s bedroom. Gibson may have made history on a few counts with this room. This may be the only place in the world where a framed photograph of Edward Cullen, uh, I mean Robert Pattinson, adorns a wall covered with bright pink chinoiserie wallpaper. This is most assuredly the only showcase room I’ve ever seen that has a bottle of Ritalin included in the accessories. Gibson’s room is all about fun: bright colors (Pepto-pink molding), bold patterns (zebra bed linens), old-meets-new (X-benches done in bright yellow) and a sly wink (Ritalin, anyone?). It makes you want to go back to high school again. If you see black-and-white when you think of Gibson’s showcase work, prepare to have that image shattered. Note: These photographs are by Matthew Millman.

No. 7: Suzanne Tucker‘s bedroom suite and deck. The Michael Taylor four poster twin beds are stunning on their own (they belonged to the legendary Nan Kempner when she was a girl in San Francisco), but put them against the beautifully patterned wallpaper in this room, and they are drool-worthy.

No. 8: Erin Martin‘s family room. Martin is always good for a surprise. In this lower-level space, she had a local craftsperson create black glass panels with gigantic photos of lace doilies. High-tech meets traditional home arts, great concept and amazing execution.

The Elle Decor Showcase is open just one more weekend (November 20 and 21, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., 300 St. Francis Blvd.). Go and be inspired.


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