Shaken Not Stirred
A Sexy Showhouse on Telegraph Hill
Text by Kendra Boutell with multiple photographers
Villa de Martini, San Francisco Decorator Showcase for 2016, featured a James Bond element. At the Telegraph Hill property’s entrance, an art deco mosaic with interlocking martini glasses greeted visitors. Conveniently, olive and lemon trees surround the asymmetrical Italian Renaissance style estate, the perfect compliment to vodka and vermouth. Built in 1930 by architect Pietro Canalli for the De Martini family, this year’s designers metamorphosed the house into a sexy venue suitable for a bon vivant spy.
For the dramatic living room, Antonio Martins commissioned Willem Racké to lacquer the walls white. Black hot rolled steel floors juxtaposed the sleek light walls. At the center of the room a a pair of floating curved Vladimir Kagan sofas faced each other mimicking arched elements of the architecture. Deborah Oropallo’s time traveling photomontage portrait, “Diver” surveyed Martins’ deft fusion of modern art, contemporary furnishings, and antiques.
Down the hall in the exotic study, Stephan Jones mixed indigo blue with carob brown, evoking an earthy urban atmosphere. An antique Sultanabad carpet grounded the Turquerie styled banquette upholstered in a hand block-printed fabric from Zak + Fox. Jones and his colleague Hilary Hayes selected Rake, an artisanal textured wall covering from Kneedler Fauchère. Against the tactile surface, they installed eight abstract Sumi ink on Japanese paper paintings by sculptor Brian Wall. In the adjacent powder room, Beth Martin echoed the rich dark study with Phillip Jeffries’ tawny raffia walls illuminated by a row of circular sconces finished in polished nickel. From above a giant cerulean lovers’ eye designed by Martin and painted by Linda Horning gazed voyeuristically from the ceiling.
Ascending the staircase to Tineke Triggs’ Master Suite, a massive Abstract Expressionist painting by Tom Lieber in aquatic colors sets the tone of the rooms. Reflecting the mercurial waters of San Francisco Bay, the designer employed a moody blue palette of textiles from Romo Company. In contrast to the cool hues, hot pinks and oranges dominated Anne Lowengart’s Girl’s Room. Sourcing furnishings from online vintage market place Chairish, Lowengart turned to furniture revitalization atelier, Revitaliste, to transform them. A luminous silk Nepalanese rug from Madeline Weinrib anchors the mod assemblage.
When the future Bond girl wanted to escape, she climbed down to the spacious Garden Room on the lower level. Heather Hilliard filled the informal white washed space with organic furnishings in a neutral color scheme accented by verdant shades. The seamless indoor, outdoor space lent itself to both group entertainment and the solitary pursuit of a dry martini.