1stdibs Introspective - On Location - The Pavilion Vignette Designers at The San Francisco Fall Antiques Show
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On Location at The San Francisco Fall Antiques Show October 29 –November 1, 2009 Designers of the Pavilion Vignettes In San Francisco, nothing rocks the antiques and decorative arts world like the annual San Francisco Fall Antiques Show – it’s the four day event, exhibit and lecture series kicked-off by a Gala Benefit Preview Party that many San Franciscans in-the-know know to be the primo party of the year – but don’t let the celebrated Preview soiree overshadow The Show and Exhibit which promises – and always delivers – to dazzle and wow the crowds. With over 65 highly vetted national and international dealers presenting their most prized possessions for sale and show, the Exhibition Pavilion will be a repository of riches, beginning at the entrance where guests will be greeted with the entrancing vignettes based on this year’s theme, “Egyptomania!” designed by four popular San Francisco designers, Cheryl DuCote, Elizabeth Everdell, Grant K. Gibson, and Stephen Sutro. Vignette One: The Living Room by Cheryl DuCote . Designer Cheryl DuCote is a renowned color specialist and author on the subject of “Color and You,” who employs her expertise in pigments and shades in creating spectacular home environments – and no room in history could have been more spectacular in style or consequence than Cleopatra’s living room where the magnificent queen beguiled and ultimately conquered two of the world’s most powerful men: Marc Antony and Julius Caesar. The inspiration for the living room for the Queen of the Nile came to DuCote in a dream the night after she toured the King Tut exhibit at the San Francisco de Young Museum. When asked about the biggest challenge of designing Cleopatra’s room, DuCote without hesitation responded, “The scale! The vignette space is 14. 5-feet-high by 14.5-feet-wide, but only 4-feet-deep so you can imagine that the scale and perspective have to be perfect in order to create the illusion of a full-sized room.” With 17 years as a principal of Cheryl DuCote Interior Architecture & Design, and a 5-year member of The San Francisco Fall Antiques Show Designer’s Circle, DuCote’s joie de vivre and excitement are infectious. “ I love the opening night party and the really wonderful lecture series but more importantly, I appreciate the privilege of seeing the collections of foremost antique dealers not only from throughout the country, but the world over; what an inspiration!” When asked about whom she is looking forward to see at this year’s show, the delightful DuCote is as charming as she is diplomatic: “Honestly, everybody is a celebrity at the opening night party. I love seeing what everyone is wearing and there is such a positive buzz, but if I had a chance to escort Michael Bruno through the show, I would take him first to our San Francisco dealers. We have some great talent here, one of my favorites being Eric Petsinger of epoca.” And if former Mayor Willie Brown is listening, DuCote picks him quickly as a local San Franciscan for whom she would love to design. “It’s hard to imagine a project being more fun than with a client of Mayor Brown’s sartorial good taste and fabulous sense of humor.” Vignette Two: Nefertiti’s Garden by Elizabeth Everdell San Francisco-based landscape and garden designer, Elizabeth Everdell, principal of Elizabeth Everdell Garden Design studied Landscape and Garden Design through the The University of California, and is a ninth generation professional gardener – her family having been proprietors of nurseries. In her debut at the San Francisco Fall Antiques Show, Everdell will create Nefertiti’s Garden – a lush and serene escape for Egypt’s other most beautiful queen in history on those occasions when her husband Pharaoh Akhenaten endlessly discoursed on his new religion – which even a queen can only stand so long . In planning her oasis for The Lady of the Two Lands as Nefertiti was called, Everdell translated The Queen’s own experiences into creating the garden, something she does for all her clients be they royal or not so. As Everdell tells it, “Nefertitit’s sanctuary by the Nile is a green, tranquil retreat that includes Papyrus, palms, and lovely objects in alabaster and stone, and a leopard skin which represents the hunting culture of the period.” Everdell admits of the design and installation to be a bit of a challenge being that arid desert venues and the use of Middle Eastern plant materials are not her usual palate. “My strength is plants that are appropriate to the micro-climates of the Bay Area,” she tells us. “Living here, we are especially fortunate to have a long growing season and a temperate climate.” It is the mild weather and glorious geography that provide her the landscape and circumstance for the creation of gardens of all styles, one in progress and a current favorite – a large, classical garden in Atherton, one of the nation’s wealthiest cities located 25 miles south of San Francisco. Vignette three: The Dining Room of (The Funky) King Tut by Grant K. Gibson He is called “The Boy King,” so how did the cool, young Tut live and dine at his palatial home? This is the focus of another young man’s musings as we see in his design for The Dining Room. San Francisco designer Grant K. Gibson is the just barely thirty-year-old who can’t seem to keep himself out of national shelter and lifestyle magazines, HGTV, and award competitions – and who less than a month ago had a full page spread in the New York Times about the smart and chic decoration of his own Presidio Heights (neighborhood) apartment. Gibson, the principal of his own skyrocketing firm, inundates The San Francisco Fall Antiques Show with zest and humor just as the Nile floods Egypt. “I really wanted to think of Tut in a different way,” Gibson says, “and not just the typical.” We should say. Gibson’s Tut dines while watching television, and eats Swanson’s TV dinners off of aluminum trays. The tenderfoot pharaoh’s dining room is wallpapered in Egyptian newspapers upon which are commercial building letters spelling out “FUNKY TUT” – and for flooring, what else…but sand! Ladies attending the Preview Gala and dressed to the nines in open- toed heels or backless mules, you’ve been warned: You’re going to get the old sand stuck in my shoes routine from Grant K. Gibson. The dapper (and always in black and white) and droll Gibson speaks of the inspiration for his vignette as Steve Martin performing “Funky Tut” in 1979. “I couldn’t get it out of my mind and knew that I had to somehow incorporate it into my vignette for San Francisco’s most revered and elegant design event!,” he says. Martin’s original routine will be played on a vintage television – programmed to never end nor cease to delight the visitors to Gibson’s dining room. And before convulsing in laughter, notice the sleek sideboard upon which the TV sits. It’s from the San Francisco shop, epoca and flanked by a pair of chairs from Therein. Gibson’s vignette will surely appeal to and make people of all ages chuckle, but the designer also aims to inform younger people who might not consider antiques to open their minds about using them. “I want younger people to realize that antiques can be fun.” Gibson is fun – and also represents a sector of local designers who are facile with incorporating a multitude of style genres. Vignette four: The Study of an Explorer by Stephen Sutro The study of an early 20th-century gentleman explorer fascinated with the ancient civilizations of Egypt is the theme of the vignette by Stephen Sutro, principal of the boutique architectural firm, Sutro Architects. Fantasizing on the fantasies of his 1900’s explorer, Sutro envisaged his traveler to be a man for whom Egypt is an exotic location because of its physical and cultural distance to 20th-century Western society. Appearing in the explorer’s study is an image of the great pyramids – which Sutro tells us is a symbol of the window into the exotic and the brave new-old world. Industrial furniture and early 20th –century reclaimed metal bands in the light fixtures, a recessed blackened steel shelf, and concealed linear lighting are juxtaposed with traditionally framed, hand-colored celestial map prints, refined textures, and a wonderful vintage projector which displays the slide of the pyramids. It is a balanced abstraction of the old and the new, the raw and the highly finished, the rough and the smooth – with nuanced details that are anything but nuance for Sutro’s keen eye and deliberate decisions. A long-time supporter of The San Francisco Fall Antiques Show as a Design Circle Member, this is Sutro’s first time as a vignette designer. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley where he was a competitive sailor for the school, Sutro speaks of his dream assignment to be that of designing a boathouse for the Cal sailing program. “Sometimes a second home or a building for recreation can have uses that can translate to great architecture,” he says. “But for now, my favorite project is quite the opposite from a big house with a concrete apron where crew boats can be loaded into The Bay – it’s a tiny but very open guesthouse in Sonoma with a sleeping loft and an underground wine library.” A pretty wide swath in dream projects, true – but Sutro is an ever appreciator of the broad scope offered in design and the vicissitudes of style, which is similar to what he likes best about The Fall Antiques Show. “I love the show and admire how the pieces range and form so drastically,” he says. And when asked what would it take for someone to purchase Sutro’s Explorer’s Study in its entirety, the architect demonstrates a quick and sensible wit: “A big truck – and pen and paper for introductions to the fantastic vendors who loaned us items and built our study’s backdrop.”

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