SF’s Top Interior Designers Gear Up For Decorator Showcase

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A living room at last year's Decorator Showcase
A living room at last year’s Decorator Showcase by Beth Martin of the Martin Group

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Right this moment, many of the city’s most illustrious interior designers are hurriedly putting the final touches on their rooms for the 41st annual Decorator Showcase. The home opens this Saturday, April 28 and will be on view Tuesdays through Sundays until May 28. “It’s like the Real World. You’re living with 27 strangers for 30 days. You’re in really tight quarters. It’s stressful at times. There’s always some drama, but you quickly become tried and true friends through it all,” Dina Bandman, of Dina Bandman Interiors, told Haute Living by phone late last week.

Dina Bandman in the laundry room that she designed for last year's Showcase
Dina Bandman in the laundry room that she designed for last year’s Showcase

Photo Credit: Ian Chin for Drew Altizer Photography

Bandman is one of 27 designers chosen to participate in this year’s show. She’s designing a luxe nursery titled, Lemondrop Lullaby. All of the rooms must be ready by Wednesday when previews begin. On Friday night, there is an opening party where the designers will meet and mingle with interior aficionados.

The dining room at the 2017 Decorator Showcase
The dining room at the 2017 Decorator Showcase

Photo Credit: Ian Chin for Drew Altizer Photography

It’s Bandman’s third time participating in the showcase, and while she finds the process incredibly rewarding both personally and professionally, it’s not easy. “It’s by invite only. I believe that there’s a committee at the University High School and then there’s a Design Advisory Board,” Bandman explains. “Their job is to research designers in the area, new designers. They want the house to be interesting, of course, because it is a fundraiser. The goal is to raise money.”

The showcase benefits the financial aid program at University High School. After invitations are sent, the house location is revealed and designers are told a day when they can come and check out the space. This year is the first time that the selected house is in the Marina. Architect George McCrea built the home in 1930. It’s on Marina Boulevard directly across the street from the Marina Green. “Another designer and I nicknamed it the mutt house.” Bandman says. “It has so many different architectural styles all in one. It’s extraordinary.”

A living room designed by Jonathan Rachman in the 2017 home
A living room designed by Jonathan Rachman in the 2017 home

Photo Credit: Ian Chin for Drew Altizer Photography After the invited designers view the home, they have a week to put together a proposal of their vision for each room. “You have to come up with a presentation board with a space plan. You have to have furniture and fabric picked out. Then you describe your concept behind the design as well—what inspired you and why,” Bandman explains. Many designers can apply for each room, but only one is selected to carry out the project. From the entry hallway to the in-house wine grotto, a designer is assigned to each space.

Then the real work begins. Designers have about a month to realize their project. For the third year in a row, Bandman is working with luxury wallpaper brand, de Gournay, to create custom, hand-painted wallpaper for her nursery. Inspired by a recent trip to Italy, Bandman chose lemons as the theme for her gender-neutral baby room. “I got back from Italy not long ago, and I was obsessed with the Amalfi-coast lemons. They are so fresh, clean, and cute. De Gournay just came out with this hand beading—it’s a new technique for them. So I believe that I might be one of the first people to have hand-beaded wallpaper.” She’s also sourced delicate lampshades from Italy and custom designed a four-poster crib with Plexi-Craft.

Last year, Bandman's gorgeous laundry room featured custom de Gournay wallpaper
Last year, Bandman’s gorgeous laundry room featured custom de Gournay wallpaper

Photo Credit: Ian Chin for Drew Altizer Photography

Besides Bandman other designers include Willem Racké Studio, Simon Breitbard Fine Arts, Jeff Schlarb Design Studio, Lane McNab Interiors, and many more. The event is a celebration of the San Francisco design community, and although Bandman admits that it’s a lot of work, she loves participating. “Part of what makes Showcase great, and what has made me return for the third year in a row, is the design community. I have made some of my closest, not even just design friends, but closet friends via Showcase. The SF design community is very welcoming. I mean there’s always a diva or two in the group, but that is to be expected and it makes the entire process that much more entertaining, interesting, and fun—it really is a wonderful community to be a part of.

Tickets for the 41st annual Decorator Showcase are now on sale.

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