Launching on the 27th of April and closing one month later, on the 27th of May, this year’s SF Decorator Showcase is grander than ever. It is located in one of San Francisco’s most emblematic buildings, Le Petit Trianon – a faithful representation of the palace built by Louis XV for Marie Antoinette several centuries earlier. Over the years, Le Petit Trianon has had a tumultuous past, at its peak as one of San Francisco’s most elegant structures, and at its worst, abandoned to squatters. Over the years, it has found its way back to its original glamorous state, and now more than ever hosting the SF Decorator Showcase for the second time (the first was in 1982).
With over 39 different spaces being designed by the West Coast’s top designers, there’s a lot to take in. As a little taste of what the SF Decorator Showcase has to offer, we’re giving you a tour of the “Oak Room” by Sindhu Peruri – a compact lounge to enjoy an aperitif. Sindhu has designed a jewel box of a space, with many subtle layers creating a beautifully nuanced yet glamorous room. We spoke with the designer about this project:
Congratulations on being one of the selected designers for this year’s SF Decorator Showcase! Have you participated in a design showcase like this one before?
Thank you! I participated in a Woodside Showcase when I used to work for another company. That one was on a much smaller scale and nothing like the San Francisco Decorator Showcase – I truly understand and feel the prominence of being part of it.
What sort of projects do you normally work on?
I work on designing residences though I designed my first restaurant and bar in Los Altos which was an amazing experience. Last year, my projects have been complete home designs including new constructions. I really enjoy that process since I get to have an impact on the entire home and tell a cohesive design story.
How was the design experience different this time, without a particular client?
As a designer, you learn to be a good listener and understand your clients. In that sense, it was daunting at times, because I had to make decisions for myself and understand what my aesthetic truly is and bring it to the forefront at the Showcase. In the end, it was liberating. I feel like my room is a true representation of my style and a collection of colors, materials, and finishes that I love.
What inspired this space? Any particular references?
Although there are no particular references, I admire the work of greats such as India Mahdavi and Kelly Wearstler. I knew that I essentially wanted to create a tone-on-tone jewel box. But also show my love for natural materials and earthy textures such as steel, quartzite, and petrified woods. I love the tension between these hard materials combined with softer and more feminine elements such as the brass accents, mohair fabrics on the banquette and the sparkly mirrors.
The room in its structural design is quite layered. How did you come up with the concept for the moldings, wallpaper, and tile?
You said it – I hoped that anyone walking into this room would perceive and notice all the layers. I love heavily layered design and I feel that such a design can be successful by extreme editing. I asked myself at every stage: “Is this adding to the design? Is this cohesive and how?” I especially feel that this is a critical step in a small space.
I loved the texture of the backsplash and it was the first choice I made for the room. I ran with that color story and achieving the right color for all of the other peripheral elements, forming the first layer of the space. I then had Paper Mills create the wallpaper in this particular color and we had to go through multiple revisions until it worked.
The banquette backrests held up by leather straps are quite an inventive concept. How did you come up with it?
When I first walked into the space during the open house, I felt claustrophobic and I wanted to eliminate that feeling. Tucking the large banquette into the corner helps with that. I decided to install the backrests on the wall to save space.
To come up with the mechanism, I went to my local hardware shop and started looking at devices such as loops, snaps, and bolts, etc. A little bit of online research led me to a Strapworks in Oregon that sold all sorts of snaps in different finishes that worked with my design! That was an exciting day! I had my upholstery shop make the leather straps and attach them to the snaps. The backrest itself is hung from a french cleat so the snaps are purely decorative.
There are some interesting pieces in this space: the blue sculpture, the different leveled shelves, the barstools, sconces and pendant lights…Could you tell us about each one?
The Blue Sculpture is by Matt Devine. Simon Breitbard Gallery was kind enough to loan that piece for us. I’ve always loved Matt’s work and this sculpture is edgy and a great color.
As for the layered shelves, I wanted to create an open and airy feeling by bringing down all the existing cabinetry. I was toying with the idea of fretwork and patterns and started sketching something that was interwoven. Making the shelves different heights, widths, and depths was the goal.
The barstools are by a designer out of Chicago called Greta de Perry.
I had used the Aquitaine chandelier from Coup D Etat for a client before. With that, I designed these sconces that were narrow and with elongated glass bars of different lengths. The chandelier above the bar table is made by John Liston, through Coup. He has a sconce that is similar but I elongated the rods and turned it on its side so that it functions as a ceiling light. The small pendant light above the display vitrine is by Fuse lighting, through Hewn SF.
The bar is stunning! Who created it for you?
While traveling in Milan, Italy, I came across this firm called Alcarol. They source petrified wood from the Italian Alps called Abonos Oak and make beautiful furniture out of them. I love the idea of preserving something that is centuries old in this cool edgy manner. I had them custom make this piece for my room.
Can you share where the tiles and flooring are from?
The tiles are from Da Vinci Marble and the brand is called “Oceanside”. The flooring is original to the house. I refinished it and updated the stain.
What paint colors did you use?
After several trials, we decided on Benjamin Moore’s “Gray Huskie 1473” – it worked perfectly!