2013 San Francisco Decorator Showcase

Recently, I stopped by the annual San Francisco Decorator Showcase to check out the fancy way of life. Every year a different  house in SF is decorated to benefit a local high school. 27 different interior designers are given a room and encouraged to trick it out in any way possible – form definitely over function. This year’s house was no exception. Upgrades to the house included a personal spa that took up the entire top floor and a room devoted entirely to making chocolate (a must in modern day living).

The house, which sits in the upscale neighborhood of Pacific Heights has a history. The 5 bedroom, 4.5 bath house originally belonged to famous SF philanthropist and lady about town Lee Herbst Gruhn. It was built in 1899 by “starchitect” Ernest Coxhead – whose influence is all around the Bay Area.

I used to walk by this house when I first moved to San Francisco because I lived nearby (in a small 1 bedroom apartment so don’t get any ideas) and this house use to give me the chills. In a bad way. I would peer in the windows (which is what you do when you live in a small 1 bedroom apartment and pass these kind of houses) and I would always see stuffed animals creepily staring out at me as well as carousel ponies – yeah like the kind from a playground. Apparently the previous owner/socialite was a little “excentric.” The house reminded me of that crazy 80′s movie – Flowers in the Attic. So naturally after all the stories that I made up about the house,  I was curious to see what the house was really like inside.

Here are the highlights:

Exterior – not really my style or taste, but I would take it if I had to.

house outside

Living room – Glossy black floors with splatters of white paint across it. Apparently they were inspired by a Cy Tombly painting – I kinda loved it. Also – loved the bar cart. On my list  to add to our apartment.
living room
Sitting Room – notice the painting, it is that blurry in real life – that could be really confusing after a couple of drinks off the bar cart.
sitting room
Master Bedroom – not my favorite, a little boring (sorry) and although I love Buddha and all, not sure I want him watching me while I sleep.
master bedroom
Master Bathroom. This is one of the highlights. The bathtub itself is pretty dreamy, but next to it is a living garden wall, complete with herbs you can pick off and put in your bath (or munch on if you are hungry and too lazy to get out of the water)
master bath
In-home spa: This is a little excessive and kind of a waste of space, but if you are wealthy enough to afford this house, then who am I to judge if you want your own spa.
penthouse retreat
Kids playroom – complete with a tipee and a fireplace full of (fake) dynamite. I think they are sending some subliminal messages to the kids
Fancy bathrooms
Stting room and home office
office_sitting area
Kitchen – I really liked the kitchen, probably because it was the most understated part of the house. Between the herringbone floors, light fixtures and butcher block countertops, I could get used to cooking in there.
Chocolate room and  formal dinning room
dinning and chocolate room

What do you think? You like what you see? Overall I liked it, but sad to say that it did not live up to last year’s house that had this view:Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 4.18.11 PM

The house is for sale for a cool $9.75 million – this is a steal compared to what it initially priced at – nearly $13 million. In this SF real estate market, I have no doubt that some 19 year old tech scion will be scooping it up in no time. Click here to buy. 


  1. stef says

    Well, not really my style and not super impressed. I need more old stuff :) Bathroom and kitchen are my favorites!

    • admin says

      Yeah, there was not too much old stuff in that house. Uber modern – the kind of modern that you are afraid to walk around in…but I would take the bathtub and the kitchen..

      • donna says

        Yeah I would prefer living in the long lost recently found Parisian apartment….but this one has a chocolate making room!!!

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