Martin Kobus Reaches to his Roots for San Francisco Decorator Showcase InspirationAuthor:Lindsey Shook
When designing his San Francisco Decorator Showcase room called the Bibliotheek (Dutch for “library”) Martin Kobus looked within, tapping memories of his home country, the Netherlands. The result is a room that mixes the old, the new, and the deeply personal. It’s not what he set out to do. “Before going to tour the house, I looked online and was sure I wanted to do the living room. I had it all planned in my head,” he says. “But when I went to see the spaces in person, it was the library that spoke to me.” The room caused him to upend his plans in favor of a room that’s filled with Dutch references and is nearly completely handcrafted.
The tone is set by three oversize, illuminated pieces of art. Two of the images are portraits of a woman; in one she sports a large, ruffled neckpiece and in the other she wears an outsize Dutch hat crafted from tulips. “The woman was an intern in my office,” says Kobus. “I saw her sitting at her computer, and I said ‘guess what, you are going to be our model.”
The images are silkscreened onto a piece of fabric and stretched across five-foot-tall light boxes ordered from the German company that more frequently makes the glowing surfaces you see in a Apple store. “The photographs are referencing the portraits Rembrandt and Vermeer painted back in the 1600s,” says Kobus. “This is my modern take on them. The light gives them a 3D effect.”
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