Emerging from a long period of minimalism and stark, modern design, we seem to be re-entering the realm of maximalism. After years of white and pale wood, clean lines and angular lighting, we are seeing more designers returning to the playful (and dare I say, more real) world of color, antiques, floral patterns and soft, plush fabrics. Last year I was enchanted by the Drawing Room created for the Kips Bay Decorator Showhouse by Philip Mitchell. Maybe it’s a throwback to simpler times when objects held real value and things we collected meant something to both our past and future — but the return of antique furnishings, vintage items and color kind of make me happy. I am not a huge collector and I certainly love modern design- clean lines and no clutter bring me inner peace. But, I also love walking into homes where there is a history — visually, architecturally and culturally. And I’m starting to think the rest of the world is too given the recent resurgence of chintz, old-world furniture, bold colors, wallpapers and a focus on collecting.

This year, the San Francisco Decorator Showcase was held at Le Petit Trianon, a historic SF landmark home built between 1902 and 1904 in the style of the original le Petit Trianon in Versailles, France. Having endured several years of neglect, the newly renovated SF property is a perfect example of what can happen when modern style inhabits old-world architecture. The showhouse designers went for maximum impact (which they almost always do), but the contrast between stark minimalism and the ode to maximalism was dramatic and fun. My favorite rooms were the “Haute Hideaway: A Tribute to Connoisseurship” by the Wiseman Group, and the incredibly over the top “Houghton Hall Reimagined” by Jonathan Rachman Design. These rooms made me smile for all the reasons I noted above: people who live in homes own and create a history and some of that history is reflected in our belongings. Keeping the quantity of these belongings to a manageable level while incorporating them into design is the key to great style. Both of these rooms reflect the past, like the Ming dynasty coffee table in the Wiseman Group room, and the recently discovered blue rolls of DeGournay wallpaper that date back approximately 200 years—in Jonathan Rachman’s room inspired by Houghton Hall, a circa-1722 country mansion built for Britain’s first Prime Minister.

And speaking of maximalism, the ballroom — over the top glamour! The team at Applegate Tran Interiors definitely delivered in a high impact way. The once formal white and gilt expansive ballroom was painted a deep, high gloss black. The ceiling features a Kyle Bunting hide rug adorning the ceiling and the stage features a white balloon wedding dress a la Marie Antoinette. A dance floor, multiple seating areas, and some amazing art complete this ode to glamour. Other fun highlights of the showcase home include the over-the-top gorgeous and huge chandeliers in all of the rooms.

My favorite items:

The oversized chandelier in the Living Room by Studio Collins Weir: Regis Botta for Ozone

studio collins weir

These gorgeous custom cabinet handles from Hoffman Hardware featured in the Fleurs et Orangerie Butler’s Pantry created by Kari McIntosh Design

The orangerie also featured some amazing wallpaper from Abnormals Anonymous. Love their whimsical take on wallpaper.




The Edward Lutyens Octagonal Table in the Wiseman Group’s Haute Hideaway.

san francisco decorator showcase


Available at Dering Hall, or from Lutyens Furniture.

Wallpaper: Any and all!  But de Gournay stands as one of the best in the industry. Jonathan Rachman showcases this wallpaper discovered in the attic of Houghton Hall.

san francisco decorator showcase


Does it get more maximalist than this incredible custom fringed settee horsehair fringed ottoman?

san francisco decorator showcase


This colorful oven by Hestan and the fabulous marble featured throughout the “Petit Kitchen.” This marble has a thin line of purple – unexpected but gorgeous: Marble: Lilac marble 

Stay tuned for more on Hestan Appliances – as we explore their recently launched residential indoor and outdoor appliances.

san francisco decorator showcase



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