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Designers Uncensored

Twenty of this year's Decorator Showcase participants sound off on guilty-pleasure tchotchkes, emerald fatigue, and the lure of the blue-box Swede.

Decorator showcase room you're most excited to see:

Top pick: Martha Angus's family room. "Her designs are tailored but playful and she always selects great artwork." - Catherine Kwong, Catherine Kwong Design

 

Runners-up: Catherine Kwong's living room (pictured), Jay Jeffers's office

Design trend you'd like to kill:

"Color of the year (pictured). Who gave Pantone the right to choose the color of the year?" - Matthew Leverone


"I am going to die if I see another reclaimed wood and metal table." - Kelley Flynn, Kelley Flynn Design


"Flash-sale addiction. I'd explain, but I only have five minutes and 42 seconds left to decide whether to buy this ivory towel set." - Emilie Munroe, Emilie Munroe Design

Designer's house you'd most like to live in:

Tie between Orlando Diaz-Azuy and David Oldroyd: "My house was previously owned by Orlando Diaz-Azcuy, and it was so beautiful and minimal then. His current house is simple and clean, with a view." - Stephanie Fillbrandt, Marsh and Clark Design

 

David Oldroyd (home pictured). "When are you moving out, David, so I can move in? - Matthew Leverone, Leverone Design 

 

Runners-up: Martha Angus, Ken Fulk, Will Wick

Best source for vintage and antiques:

Top pick: Stuff (pictured). "You can lose hours just exploring. Establish a goal before diving in." - Emilie Munroe 

 

Runners-up: Alameda flea market, Past Perfect

How much is too much to spend on a throw pillow?

$400 - Alexandra Ray
Over $800 - Shelley Cahan
$2,000 - Jay Jeffers
$25,000 - Alfredo Gregory
No limit - 15 decorators
"Depends on if it's my money." - Julianna Marinho, Villanueva Design

 

Fornasetti Silenzio pillow, $160 at Barneys New York (pictured).

Best off-the-beaten-path source:

"The Perish Trust (pictured) has the best industrial lamps and an amazing collection of vintage typewriters." - Catherine Kwong


"Loved to Death on Haight Street. I'm dying to propose one of those little kitten skeletons to a client—can you imagine? - Phillip Silver

DIY home decorating project most often gone wrong:

"Spray-painting butt-ugly furniture." - Martha Angus (pictured)


"Anything requiring a glue gun should be reconsidered." - Emilie Munroe

Design trend you'd like to revive:

"Eccentricity. I love nothing more than clients who don't just want their art to match their sofa." -Alexandra Ray, Five Senses Art Consultancy 

 

"Pink. It's a great color, if used correctly." - Willem Racké, Willem Racké Studio

 

"Chintz. I'd like to see it reinvented in a cool way." - Jay Jeffers, Jeffers Design Group

 

(Ken Fulk's home, pictured)

Be honest: Do you own anything from Ikea?

"Raskog, my bathroom supply cart (pictured). It's functional, economical, and a great color." - Emilie Munroe 

 

"I have the Tobias clear acrylic chair with steel tubular legs." - Jaimie Belew

 

"I had a bed from Ikea for years. It finally fell apart about five years ago." - Jay Jeffers

 

"Yes, yes, yes. Where should I start? I often tell clients that it's a signed piece from a famous designer in Sweden, and they believe it." - Antonio Martins, Antonio Martins Interior Design

 

"That place scares me." - Shelley Cahan

Designer you'd most like to have a drink with:

"Melanie Coddington (pictured). She knows how to throw them back, but she's always a lady." - Matthew Leverone 

 

"Kendall Wilkinson. I don't know her, but she sure has style." - Phillip Silver

 

"Jay Jeffers. He's got that twinkle in his eye." - Karen Villanueva, Villanueva Design

Item of furniture you'd sell your soul to own:

I'd not only sell my soul, but I'd give it to the devil for one of those Hudson Furniture Pangea chandeliers (pictured)." -Phillip Silver, Bigelow + Silver


Fornasetti cabinet, for heaven's sake." -Martha Angus, Martha Angus, Inc.


"I would sell a kidney for Edward Wormley's Listen to Me chaise." - Zoe Hsu, Z Dimensions Interior Design


"Scala Luxury's Klismos chair in any finish. So hot!" -Shelley Cahan, Shelley and Co.


"Any piece from the Hermes Maison collection." -Barbara Chambers, Chambers and Chambers

Best source for decorators on a budget

Top pick: Alameda flea market

 

Runners-up: CB2 (Avec Peacock Apartment sofa, $1,199, pictured), H.D. Buttercup

Designer you'd most like to punch:

"Darin Geise of Coup d'Etat (pictured), only because he finds the best pieces. It would be a punch of envy. - Jaimie Belew, Jaimie Belew Interior Design

Best local design store or showroom:

Top pick: Coup d'Etat (pictured). "I really think it's driving the zeitgeist of how design is changing in San Francisco right now." - Catherine Kwong

 

Runners-up: De Sousa Hughes, Kneedler-Fauchere, Hedge Gallery

The 36th annual Decorator Showcase opens on Friday, in which 24 of the Bay Area's top design firms transform Herbst Manor (2800 Pacific Ave., at Divisadero St., through May 27) into an design buff's fantasy. From Catherine Kwong's glam Mick Jagger-inspired living room to Jay Jeffers's decadent brass, bronze, and steel adorned "Maker's Mark Retreat," this is shelter porn at its finest. We polled 20 of this year's participants on their top furniture sources, industry nemeses, low-budget secrets, and drinking buddies. Click ahead for the slideshow.

Originally published in the May 2013 issue of San Francisco.

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