The renovation of a San Francisco home includes a dressing room to die for
As one of San Francisco's venerated historic residences, the 1913 Beaux Arts-style home of Dr. Elisa Stephens has a reputation to uphold. And while the home's public spaces were deserving of its "jewel box of Nob Hill" status, its dark, dreary pine-paneled top floor was in dire need of a transformation.
Luckily, as president of the Academy of Art University, Elisa had some useful contacts. When it was time to transform her upper floor from bland to beauteous, she enlisted designer Antonio Martins, a 2004 graduate of the university's master's program in interior design, to spearhead the process.
As the only woman in the house (husband Ed and son Richard, 6, make up the male contingent), Elisa craved a room of her own--a place that offered respite from work and--let's be honest here--a spot to stash her shoes. While nearly perfect, this gem of a manse had a serious lack of closet space. Shoes and accessories were scattered in closets throughout the house. "We actually went from room to room and counted her shoes so we knew how much closet space she'd need," laughs Martins.
With only slightly fewer reflective surfaces than the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, the new master closet/dressing room is as refined as it is functional. No open spaces here. Clothing, shoes, and accessories are all neatly tucked out of view. Antiqued mirrored doors conceal clutter while visually enlarging the space. Organization never looked so sophisticated.
The newly renovated space contains not only the glamorous dressing room but also a casually elegant sitting room and soul-soothing master bathroom. "I used to call it the knotty-pine room," laughs Elisa. "Now it's my sanctuary."
Every detail was meticulously designed to correlate with those on lower levels. "Elisa's vision was that this space should flow with the rest of the house," says Martins. "Downstairs, neoclassical details fit the environment. We wanted to continue that refined, classic feeling here. Every detail was considered with that in mind."
Pine paneling was replaced with picture moldings and paint the color of crème fraîche. Egg-and-dart molding was added--a nod to similar moldings in the rest of the house. Wood floors were designed to match those downstairs. A travertine fireplace mantel anchors the sitting room and is flanked by symmetrical niches that house a kitchenette and desk--each cleverly concealed behind bifurcated white-painted doors with handsome mesh details. Fabrics are over-the-top elegant--velvets, suzanis, and silks prevail. A cozy conservatory off the sitting room provides a rooftop view of San Francisco.
"I'd always read about ladies that had their own room with a view," says Elisa. "And now I have one of my own."
Photography: David Livingston
Design: Antonio Martins, Antonio Martins Interior Design, 1182 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94103; 415/377-6136, antoniomartins.com.
Colorful tassel fringe trims striped-fabric draperies.
Just off the sitting room, the light-filled conservatory offers a cozy seating area for two.
A mirrored vanity in the dressing area of the master bath is pure Hollywood glamour.
Martins enveloped the elegant tub in a shower curtain of luxurious fabric from Bergamo.
A wealth of antiqued mirrors creates a clean slate behind which a menagerie of shoes and accessories can be stashed.
Bifurcated doors were designed to accommodate the narrow space.
The diminutive sink in the makeup area (above) is only 12 inches in diameter!
Martins's theory on decorating a petite powder room? Bring on the pattern! For Elisa's small powder room, he chose a hand-painted, fish-themed silk wallpaper from de Gournay  aptly named "Fishes."
Martins incorporated materials such as travertine and Carrara marble to lend a sleek yet elegant atmosphere.
Designer Antonio Martins created symmetrical niches to accommodate a home office and kitchenette. "The key is to keep the design functional," says Martins. "Add lights that turn on as the doors open, hidden electrical outlets for easy access, and small niches for recessed keyboards and screens."
Another important point: "Add doors to keep everything organized and out of sight!"
Homeowner Elisa Stephens: "The house is so detailed. To have the audacity to try to match it was daunting. It had to be honest."
Designer Antonio Martins.