It was a first class event for the realtors and staff of McGuire Real Estate as they had their turn to visit the 35th annual Decorator Showcase held this year at 2020 Jackson Street on May 1, 2012.
Founded in 1977 by local interior designer Nan Rosenblatt and Phillip Fernandez to help fund the educational needs of San Francisco University High School, for that first event they raised $26,000 for the school’s financial aid program.
Since that time Decorator Showcase has gone on to raise much more for the school and its outreach. For its 35th year, Decorator Showcase pays tribute to realtor Birgit Hall who since the inception of Decorator Showcase has been an essential part of the event. In addition to serving on the Advisory Board she dedicated much of her time to the school. Held in high regard and much-respected Birgit Hall is retiring from the board. Yet it was dedication and vision from Hall and others like Gisele Huff and Rosenblatt that has made the annual Decorator Showcase a must attend on the social calendar.
While May 1 was McGuire Real Estate's night, hundreds of the City's realtors and their guests will be viewing the showcase house for more than a month. Dozens of designers from the San Francisco Bay Area displayed their talents as they transformed the 11,000 square foot, four-story mansion into a diverse gallery featuring the latest in interior, exterior and landscape designs. Each room had a unique design theme and palate that took the realtors through more than 22 rooms which includes formal foyers, dinning room, living rooms, kitchens, seven bedrooms and seven and a half bathrooms along with a master suite. Builder/Architect: Julius E. Krafft envision the Classical Revival style house in 1902 and it served four years later as the temporary headquarters for the Wells Fargo Bank in the aftermath of the Earthquake and Fire of 1906.
Officially referred to as the Hellman Mansion, as it was presented as a wedding gift from Isaias Hellman to his daughter Clara, 2020 Jackson stands out amid the many mansions and luxury unit buildings of the Pacific Heights neighborhood. And, perhaps this is why designers have been charmed to participate in its transformation, even if for only a few weeks. "It is a lot of work and some of that work is not artistic or creative," said interior designer Frank Holbrook. His canopy-tent installation on the top floor terrace with a full set table and chandelier delighted many like realtor Janis Meek who thought the view from that vantage point was spectacular.
"The tent had to be securely fastened and liability-insurance contracts had to be drawn up," he said. Those aspects were not creative. Yet Holbrook emphasized, "the great part of the Showcase event is having the opportunity to meet and have some camaraderie with other designers," he said. "It is a real luxury to be able to discuss, exchange ideas and get acquainted something that we seldom have time to do," Holbrook said.
And, of course meeting all the people, realtors, their clients and lots of visitors, from outside the real estate world is a treat. It is one that Holbrook like many other fellow designers like Dara Rosenfeld and Tinsley Hutson-Wiley, treasure and look forward to.
Established and long-time top-producing realtors like Barbara Callan, Leslie de Bretteville and Mona Skager see Decorator Showcase as a highlight social event for the spring. "It is like going to see a bunch of mini-art and design galleries all in one," said Skager. She like others made mention that the Hellman Mansion is "wonderful to visit and tour but to live there with three staircases, well that's something else," she said.
Even though the immensity of the mansion lends itself more to something of an institution, than a home, it still is a showplace. "This is the second time 2020 Jackson was featured for Decorator's Showcase," said McGuire realtor Cornelia de Schepper. In 1991 the Hellman Mansion was prepared for Decorator Showcase 20 years ago.
While just about everyone had their opinions, each had their favorite aspects to this year's Decorator Showcase event. "A favorite aspect of the showcase for me was the wonderful 'living wall' at the entrance," she said. "What a wonderful "green" idea!"
Each designer added her or his own touches to the designated spaces - that even included "dressing room" style walk in closets. The one designed by Ceramic Tile Design. "You can just envision someone like Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra siting in here," said Neal Ward. He currently has a listing only two blocks away at 2232 Jackson, quainter in its Victorian style, than the Hellman Mansion. Yet, it too, like the Hellman place beckons to another era.
"My inspiration for the terrace was the architecture," said Holbrook. He noted that the classical style built in the Edwardian era quickly lead way to the 1920's. "The historical aspect of architecture takes me back to when the mansion was built. I like to think of the type of lifestyle the people then had and what they most likely did for leisure," Holbrook said. "I envision something like out of the Great Gatsby when people of means had lots of time and having dinner or a party on the terrace with laughter and relaxation," he said. Holbrook noted it is something that many of us today, don't have time for.
The grand staircase gives witness to the demeanor of the time, when ladies dressed in formal gowns with gloves and men all wore ties, vests and jackets. While contemporary attitudes are no match for that bygone era, many still marvel at the grandeur of such a mansion like 2020 Jackson. Decorator Showcase continues until May 28. For more details visit San Francisco Decorator Showcase web site.
Oh, and at present 2020 Jackson is on the market for $17.5 million. Contact realtors, Dona Crowder and Clark Johnson for details.
After the event that evening, taking a few moments to recollect her thoughts, Crowder noted, "listing such a wonderful and historic home is very exciting." "Add The Decorator Showcase to that, she said, and it is an interesting process.
She also pointed out that, "the listing gets wonderful local, national and international exposure! Plus, one becomes familiar with the process, the designers and the fabulous staff and volunteers from University High School that produce this event year after year," said Crowder, "a very San Francisco experience!"
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