Sublime in San Francisco
When trolling the shelter mag websites today I came across a true gem designed by a familiar face and my sorority sister from a few years back at Rollins College…
Enjoy this beauty!
For a distinctive Presidio Heights mansion with a walled garden, designer Hillary Thomas turns back a century of neglect and falls in love in the process
Read the full tale of romance and design HERE.
“The bees are everything,” says Thomas of the hive in her garden. “They make the gardens so beautiful. We have them in the city and in Napa, and we find we can’t be without them now.”
“I love a pink, green, and aqua color palette,” says Thomas, who grew up in Locust Valley, New York, and is “drawn to that preppy palette.” This color scheme is picked up in the wallpaper by Meg Braff; vintage lamps with custom shades by Thomas, and a painting, Alex Mason’s The Spin (2013), from Harbinger.
“The kitchen is the heart of this home,” says Thomas, who did an extensive renovation that included moving stairs to flip-flop the family room and kitchen to allow in natural light from the front yard. The result is an open gathering space with an enviable flow. The reclaimed floors are from Exquisite Surfaces, as are the slabs for the waterfall-stone island and antique tiles. The overhead lights are Urban Electric designed by Steven Gambrel, and the stove area is made from back-to-back La Cornue ranges. Other details, like the moldings, were replicated from the dining room. All the cabinets, which include rolling storage that fits seamlessly under the island counter, are custom.
The kitchen dining area, a favorite of the family’s beloved Bernese Mountain Dog, Bodhi, features a custom built-in banquette designed by Thomas and antique chairs upholstered in Raoul fabric. The sculpture, Muse—Vanity Working on a Weak Head Produces Every Sort of Mischief (2013) by Nick Hornby, is from Travis Hansson Fine Art. The 2012 paintings over the dining area, Chica Boom #2 and Chica Boom #6 by Gonzalo Fuenmayor, we found at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery. The paintings are flanked by vintage sconces from Urban Electric.
A little girl’s room features pink wallpaper by Meg Braff, again in Thomas’s favorite palette of preppy colors. The headboard is custom, and the linens are from Walker Valentine Custom Linens. The painting on the wall is A Walk with Daddy (2008), by Isca Greenfield-Sanders, which was purchased from the John Berggruen Gallery.
In order to add in some light and modernity to the very traditional front foyer, Thomas worked with artist and muralist Willem Raké, who kept the original millwork but had it sanded and whitewashed using a complex three-step lime wash. The runner on the stairs is from Holland and Sherry; the sculpture, Cloud XII (2016) by Jaume Plensa, is from Travis Hansson Fine Art; and Andy Warhol’s Jackie (1964), also from Travis Hansson Fine Art, hangs on the wall leading to the stairs. The ceiling fixture was purchased from Coup D’Etat in San Francisco.
The dramatic dining room is papered in a custom-colored Japanese Garden by De Gournay. The silver-leafed ceiling by Willem Raké studio is designed to complement the wallpaper. The vintage Italian chandelier, purchased at Coup d’Etat in San Francisco, hangs above a black-lacquer 1860s dining table from the Paul Bert Paris flea market which is surrounded by chairs by Celerie Kemble from Henredon; they are covered with Rogers and Goffigon velvet. The Willem de Kooning painting is Untitled (1970–1972) from Travis Hansson Fine Art. The sideboard, original to the house, stands beneath a Michael Smith mirror and holds two 1970s laps with custom-designed lampshades and finials from Hillary Thomas Designs. The mantel is a custom finish and color with a silver-leaf interior and, like the herringbone floors, is from Exquisite Surfaces.
“We wanted something soothing, a bit of a sanctuary,” says Thomas of the master bedroom, which has a dramatic custom bed and canopy in Rose Tarlow fabric. The linens, also custom, are from Walker Valentine, and the stools at the foot of the bed were found on 1stDibs. The vintage mantel—above which hangs a picture by Henri Laurens, Reclining Figure, Study for Sculpture (1934)—is from Exquisite Surfaces. The lamps are vintage, with Hillary Thomas shades and finials.
“We were going for a glamorous ‘New York meets London apartment’ bathroom,” says Thomas of the space, where she chose all the marble slabs to match and had commissioned a custom eglomise border around the top of the room. The mirrored wall’s custom border was inspired by a detail seen during a family trip to India.
In the living room, where the moldings and windows are original, Thomas simply glazed the walls and replaced the window hardware. The banquette was custom -designed by Thomas, as was the the shagreen, antique glass-and-brass-inlay coffee table. In a fanciful ode to a midcentury TV tray, Thomas designed three additional small tables of bronze and shagreen. “They can be pulled in and out for drinks overlooking the Presidio,” she says. The chandeliers were a collaboration with Coup D’Etat; the deep, white swivel chairs are custom; and the 1970s lamps are from the Paul Bert Flea Market in Paris.
Another view of the expansive living room, which is designed around a vintage mantle from Exquisite Surfaces upon which sits Tête d’Orphée Laure (1952) by Jean Cocteau from Travis Hansson Fine Art. The mirror is Hervé van der Straeten. The sofas and coffee table are custom, and the side chairs are by designer Christian Liagre. All of the window treatments are custom, with fabric from Rogers and Goffigon.
“I really love this moment,” says Thomas. The dramatic sculpture that stands at the entrance to the living room, Head of a Woman (1970), is by Joan Miró. The sculpture’s granite base, the backgammon table, and the stools were all custom designs by Thomas. The drinks stand is by Jay Jeffers for Arteriors.
The imposing façade of the 1914 home was recently repointed, and all of the trim was painted in a custom color. The landscaping was designed by Stephen Block and Kimberlee Keswick of Inner Gardens.
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