Monday, November 25, 2013

Great White: A New All-White Apartment on Nob Hill by Matthew MacCaul Turner Celebrates the Beauty of Restraint, Refinement and Exceptional Editing

It's a one-person reverie, light-filled and carefree. In Turner's hands, white offers pristine perfection. See the way California light glances across superb minimalism, creating patterns and sculpting interior architecture — and get to know Matthew MacCaul Turner.

San Francisco’s famous Nob Hill—a legendary destination in the heart of the city with views of the bay, Grace Cathedral and both bridges—has inspired leading taste-makers to opt for all-white décor. It’s a decisive, elegant, oneiric and cloud-like in its purity. There's so much going on out the window, emphasized by the dizzy height and the monochromatic lime-stone/pale stucco/brick scene-scape.

White floats from floor to ceiling and everything in between. That’s the bold, uncompromising and decisive modernist move.

First it was Orlando Diaz-Azcuy and Andrew Skurman, and then it was Françoise and Andrew Skurman. 
The Skurmans and their crisp and dream-like all-white apartment at the peak of Nob Hill has been one of the most popular stories on THE STYLE SALONISTE.

Recently I posted hairstylist Alex Chases’ all-white apartment on Nob Hill. It was a hit.

If you check in my archive and search for Nob Hill you will find these two whiter-than-white apartments, both splendid.

Now I have the newest chic candidate for my White Paint Club. Come for a visit, learn the process, study the superb edit, and meet a fantastically talented San Francisco designer, Matthew MacCaul Turner. He’s made a list of some of his favorite places in San Francisco, for your travel list.

Come with me, and float above Nob Hill, the city location of your dreams.

San Francisco designer, Matthew MacCaul Turner

A retired teacher and talented pianist (he plays every day) purchased this full floor high rise residence 17 years ago, confident that he had the taste and skills to update it himself. And why not? The prominent Nob Hill location sports stunning views in all directions, and has amazing glass walls, lending beautiful light to the spaces throughout. He painted the place white, laid down white wall to wall carpet, and purchased the bare minimum of furnishings.

But as time went by, he was never quite satisfied. He longed for a soothing space precisely tailored to his needs. It must be up to his very high standards, yet be relaxed and sophisticated. He wanted clean lines and white minimal interiors, but he also wanted his home to feel comfortable and appropriate for entertaining. It needed to be open, and accommodate his baby grand piano that had dominated the living room for almost two decades.

But then he met San Francisco designer, Matthew MacCaul Turner. A mutual friend put the two in touch, saying, "Just call him. Even if you don't hire him, you two will be friends." Well a friendship was immediately struck, and the two embarked on a six month redo, tossing all the furniture except for the baby grand.

The bergeres from Minton Spidell are upholstered in "Tribeca" from Casamance, and surround a custom tufted ottoman in white faux patent leather. The stainless steel tea table and sofa were designed by Turner specifically for the space. Drapery fabric is Pierre Frey "Eden", Collection Boussac in crème. An anthropomorphic stool from John Drum Antiques is covered in taupe cotton.

The large abstract "Place de la Concorde" by Gina Jacupke was commissioned by Turner. The silver leaf oval by Katherine Jacobus is also a top for the tea table. The bust of Caesar Augustus is a first generation casting from the original.

The unused second bedroom was opened up to create a music/library/media room that easily handled the piano. "Why waste space on a hallway and guest bedroom when you are single, and live within blocks of so many hotels?" said Turner. Benjamin Moore's "Simply White" coated the millwork, while "Snowfall White" was used on ceilings and walls. Black paint (Benjamin Moore's "Jet Black") was introduced, in sharp counterpoint with the white and to contrast and highlight the black piano. It also disguises and hides electronics (everyone has to tussle with this) and camouflages the wall mounted TV, as well as adds a satisfying and dark contrast to the California brightness. Day and night, there's a tableau vivant out the window. Yes, San Francisco is mostly super-bright and hyper-light--when it is not fuzzy or foggy or misty. Oh, happy day. Yes, California is always sunny and super-bright...when it is not fuzzy and foggy.

The black accent niche is painted Benjamin Moore "Jet Black", and frames Gary Ruddell's "Man on a Wire" from Dolby Chadwick. The Armless Belgian Track arm sofa from Restoration Hardware and vintage cocktail table made from an 18th century bronze grill sit opposite a vintage iron garden chair powder coated black. The Jean Cocteau plate is from Limoges.

Carpet was replaced with high gloss epoxy resin floors, an industrial product that is nearly bulletproof. No more worries about messy guests spilling on the carpet. Recessed lighting and motorized shades were added to control the light and create atmosphere, while Pierre Frey's "Eden" fabric was used to make drapery at select windows, maintaining privacy and views, as well as subtly adding softness to the hard lined space. Two bathrooms were updated with mirrored walls, custom vanities and custom Corian counters and sinks. The kitchen was made symmetrical, upper cabinets converted to glass and mirror, and counters sheathed in statuary white marble.

A Russian revolutionary propaganda poster anchors your view in the kitchen. Statuary white marble counters and backsplash also wrap the window surround. Glass and mirror cabinets display cocktail accouterments.

Columns that flank the windows echo the façade of the Fairmont hotel just across the park, and a hefty base molding aligns with the widow sills. It is a subtly classic detail, yet with a modern, streamlined approach. "Even designing a sleek and pared-down modern space, I call upon my training in classical architecture to correct proportions, resolve details, and lend a thoughtful and composed air to my work.” said Turner. "In the end, a space should feel current, yet timeless."

Art in the Bedroom is Charley Brown's "Black on White Abstraction #3" from Dolby Chadwick. The desk is French Directoire in style, and topped with a Frankart bronze, and the "Pixo LED table lamp" by Pablo Pardo is from Design Within Reach. Pardo is a California designer.

A hair on hide grey brindle headboard by MacCaul Turner Design. Circa studio swing arm sconce in polished nickel. Restoration Hardware grey linen bedding.

No sooner had the dust settled, than furniture arrived. Four bergeres from Minton Spidell surround a faux-patent leather tufted ottoman. A MacCaul Turner designed sofa and tea table can also work for dining. Just lift the silver leafed oval top from the wall, place it on the tea table, and voila, dining for six!

"I love looking at shelter magazines, and thought I could do this myself. I now realize that I am not a designer,” said the happy resident. "The ideas Matthew put out there pushed me to a new level. He really listened to me and expanded beyond what I had ever envisioned, making the process fun and stress free along the way. We achieve the home of my dreams."

Alternating reflections of Grace Cathedral and the Mark Hopkins Hotel vie for attention in the window above a "Glacier White" Corian custom sink and a mirrored vanity. The bronze hand from A & G Merch holds soap next to a bottle of Hermes Voyage.

About Matthew MacCaul Turner

Growing up in Morris County in New Jersey, Matthew MacCaul Turner dreamed of becoming an architect from a young age. He poured over drawings, requesting Palladio's Four Books of Architecture for his ninth birthday. Schooled at Georgia Tech's College of Architecture, he spent a year abroad in Paris. The experience changed him as he reveled in the culture and architecture of Europe, travelling by rail to Barcelona, Rome, and Florence.

His first job out of college changed his path. He was hired by Dilger Gibson, the Atlanta interior designers to Sir Elton John. Celebrity, fashion, and big budgets converged in their practice, but it was the great care devoted to crafting beautiful and unique spaces that attracted Turner. He forged a philosophy of comprehensive design, uniting the two professions of architecture and interiors.

An opportunity to work at Tucker & Marks in San Francisco as the in-house architectural designer and furniture designer was the perfect position to realize his developing interest in comprehensive design. He was involved in every project, and found the firm an extraordinary place to learn. He further honed his knowledge and appreciation for craftsmanship, artistry, and the Baroque working at Fisher Weisman, until he founded his eponymous firm in 2007.

He has been featured at three San Francisco Decorator Showcases, (2008 Elevator as Haiku, 2010 Narcissus Powder Room, and 2012 The Listening Room) where he demonstrated a fresh take on classicism, with a penchant for high quality and compelling juxtapositions.

"Each project, and each client, is as unique as a snowflake,” said Turner. “I don't have a signature look. It is my design principles that stay constant. I take many cues from the client, learning about their aspirations, and forging a vision that feels like it's their own. It is creative, never boring, and every job is an individual work of art."

Matthew MacCaul Turner’s San Francisco Treats

Favorite Restaurants:
Delfina Pizzeria in the Mission, has a great bar and it is the perfect place to have a glass of wine, with their delicious brussels sprouts and Mary's Chicken. Friends always stop by, and it becomes a social gathering. You can also sit outside and watch the passing scene. Great on Saturday night, lots of action.

Dessert follows, across the street, at Bi-Rite Creamery. It’s a delicious and special Mission delight. (Oh, and you can buy pints at Bi-Rite in the Mission and on Divisadero Street. You’ll thank me). The salted caramel and balsamic strawberry are life changing! It’s the creamiest and freshest ice-cream. Pure fruit, real ingredients and colors. You may have to wait in line, so take a friend so that you can taste their ice-cream flavor, perhaps lime-coconut, too.

Study Tours

A few years ago I went on an Institute of Classical Architecture (ICA—if you’re not a member, be sure to join) tour of Montecito. We visited John Saladino in his Villa. Stunning architecture, exquisite gardens, and the most beautiful interiors ever put us all in a state of awe and bliss. Not to mention that John is a hilarious and delightful host. He wrote a book about this house, ‘Villa’. I hear he has since sold it. It’s also in Diane Dorrans Saeks’ book, ‘Santa Barbara Living’ (published by Rizzoli), a dream of a book, very insider.

I'm looking forward to a trip to view English country houses, including Blenheim, and Belvoir Castle. At the San Francisco Fall Antiques Show each year, I’ve had the great pleasure to meet the Duchess of Rutland, Lady Henrietta Spencer Churchill, and Princess Michael of Kent, all of whom are delightful, and graciously offered tours of the Great Houses they call home.


Interior Architecture and Interior Design:
Matthew MacCaul Turner
MacCaul Turner Design
14 Museum Way
San Francisco, CA 94114

General Contractor:
Cliff Adams
C G Adams Construction
1487 45th Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94122
415.513.5993 Tel
415.789.4474 Fax

Jacob Elliott

Shears & Window
101 Henry Adams Street, #256
San Francisco, CA 94103

Dolby Chadwick Gallery
210 Post Street, Suite 205
San Francisco CA, 94108

Monday, November 18, 2013

Electrifying the Culture — RH: From Chic Furniture to Compelling Art and Music

RH (Formerly Restoration Hardware) Aims to Become a Cultural Force for Inspiration, Entertainment, Pleasure and Fun

California-based Restoration Hardware (now known by its acronym as RH, though still called colloquially ‘Resto’ by its clients and fans) has re-invented the concept of a ‘furniture company’, broadening its offerings to include lighting, hardware, children’s furnishings, one-of-a-kind collections, reproductions of notable sculpture and antiquities, as well as outdoor furniture and small-scale designs. Now, after making its mark with handsome sofas, dramatic chandeliers, and chic carpets to collect, the company is looking to the worlds of music and art to find company growth (it’s publically traded now), new concepts, and a world of creative possibilities.

Last week, RH Contemporary Art launched its first art gallery, in New York.

The company recently announced the debut of RH Music (exclusive music to download).

Come with me to find out more—and to see the notables, art collectors, and truly talented party animals that turned out in gallery-hopping regalia for the New York opening night party. 

The handsome brick exterior of the new RH Contemporary Art gallery, with restoration and remodel by architect, Peter Weed.

RH has its world headquarters in Corte Madera, in Marin County, just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco where I live.

I’ve been writing about the company since I met its original founder. Stephen Gordon started the company because he saw a market and need for traditional hardware (think doorknobs and window latches) for historic houses under restoration. Thus the name.

Now the company has significant furniture galleries in major cities, including Boston, Houston, LA and San Francisco. Twice a year, it ships millions of catalogs featuring exclusive new furnishings, bed linens, hardware and lighting, outdoor furniture, baby and child décor, objects of curiosity and tableware, even special collections of furniture and accessories for ‘small spaces’.

I continue to write with interest about RH. The company is in my territory, Northern California, and its new concepts are dreamed up just a few miles from my office. And while there are those who continue to carp about the company, I find RH refreshingly venturesome and sometimes risk-taking (geodes, massive white plaster horse head sculptures, polyhedrons in bleached wood) but always turning out cohesive collections, quality products (the Italian bed linens are so elegant in pure white), and an evolving but restrained ‘look’.

In my design focus I’ve got to know many of the talented staff. It’s a company that’s dynamic, curious, enthusiastic, experimental, always moving forward and taking design into new territory, changing and evolving, and that’s very compelling to me.

The New RH Contemporary Art Gallery Opened Last Week in Chelsea, New York

“We aimed for an art collection of the highest level,” said Gary Friedman, at the opening. “We want to be part of the global art conversation, and to appeal to very sophisticated collectors as well as enthusiastic new collectors. We want to turn our millions of customers into passionate and curious and bold art collectors.”

I attended the opening and met the highly articulate and charming artists, viewed their work—and joined in the celebration.

Exclusively here, you’ll meet the notables at the opening party (top editors and influencers like Margaret Russell, Glenda Bailey, and Michael Boodro) and see the great couturier Ralph Rucci, beauty magnate Georgette Mosbacher, top model and fashion trend-setter Tatiana and her husband, international art dealer Serge Sorokko, RH execs, noted NYC artists, musicians and art collectors and friends.

Artists featured in their first solo exhibitions in New York were Nathan Baker, Toby Christian, Peter Demos, Samantha Thomas and Natasha Wheat.

Read and scroll down to learn more about RH Music. Lots to learn this week. Being the first in the know is always powerful.

At the RH multi-level art gallery in Chelsea, the company introduced five new artists, their exciting art, and new way of encountering art collections, of finding art online, or simply making an appointment with a specialist to enjoy, view and acquire fine art. The price range is from $4,500 to $26,000.

RH Contemporary Art will be available for viewing and acquiring online, through a new quarterly catalog, and at the gallery.

It’s an exciting moment for the company, with Gary Friedman swiftly and boldly moving from chairs and mirrors to paintings, sculptures, a handsome gallery, and a great new crew of musical performers. 

A second group of artists will be featured early new year, with a new focus, new collections.

“I want to thank Holly Baxter,” said Gary Friedman, at the lively dinner that followed the vernissage. “She convinced me that if we wanted to attract and show world-class artists we would have to create a world-class gallery, and must create an effective website and catalog. We’re built the website, and we’ve published the catalog. We come to this with a level of humility, trying to be true to out vision.”

This first collection is somewhat modernist, and the second collection in 2014 will have a broader spectrum of paintings and media.

“We did not set out to have a black and white collection for this first show, but we’re very happy with it,” said Holly Baxter, vice president of RH Contemporary Art.

Toby Christian, 26, the youngest artist in the first show, lives in Glasgow. He is the first artist in residence for RH, taking up residence in the spacious Williamsburg apartment/studio to paint. There he can create and perhaps ponder where his art and motivation has taken him. He previously showed in exhibits in Sao Paulo, Rio and London.

Samantha Thomas, who lives in Culver City, Los Angeles (pictured above with Gary Friedman), is also a surfing instructor. She was the first artist selected. “I present painting as sculpture,” she said. “My interests are always tied within the history of painting, allusions to the landscape, the larger world of ideas and the unconscious,” said Thomas.

artist Peter Demos

artist Natasha Wheat

Glenda Bailey
“Being successful in one genre—and then making a success in another discipline—is remarkable.” — Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief, Glenda Bailey

Michael Boodro

“I haven’t seen work that’s so elegant from a young artist in a long time. Natasha’s work is very impressive.” — Elle Décor editor-in-chief, Michael Boodro

Gary Friedman and Margaret Russell, editor-in-chief, Architectural Digest
Carlos and Andrea Alberini

Gary Friedman, Holly Baxter, Carlos Alberini

Tatiana Sorokko

And then it was a swift drive to The Lion restaurant, where, surrounded by paintings and musicians, DJs and social butterflies and noted collectors, everyone celebrated the brightness and boldness of the evening’s gallery launch.

Guests included the great couturier Ralph Rucci (Tatiana Sorokko was wearing one of his new gowns), Estee Lauder exec. John Demsey, artist Hunt Slonem. 

Ralph Rucci, Tatiana Sorokko, Michael Boodro

Artists Peter Demos, Samantha Thomas, Toby Christian and Natasha Wheat

“Enlisting a worldwide curatorial team to seek and discover international artists, RH Contemporary Art will be commissioning complete bodies of artists work. We have also launched a dynamic online platform. Our concept of introducing art to our existing worldwide audience includes showing videos of studio visits, including in-depth interviews with artists and critical writing in our art catalog. We want to raise artists’ visibility and to build recognition for each artist and their practice.” — Gary Friedman

For additional information on RH Contemporary Art, please visit

RH Music

“RH Music will offer music by emerging artists from around the world. We’ve chosen authentic musicians that we love, and we're giving them the opportunity to create the music they do best, original and compelling. They will be instrumental in their own journey and the path forward for RH Music itself. Our motto, going into 2014, is For the Artist, by the Artist.” — Gary Friedman

WHAT: One Friday evening this fall, Restoration Hardware launched RH Music with a live concert at The Greek Theatre in Berkeley. RH Music launched a new platform for emerging artists.The concert featured performances from high-energy, musicians, all selected by RH Music.

WHO: Performers: 
British singer/songwriter Edei
Vintage pop duo The Brixtons (Donna Missal and Ken De Poto)
Swampadelic sisters Larkin Poe (Rebecca and Megan Lovell)
WHERE:  The Greek Theatre, Berkeley, California

Notable guests joining Gary Friedman, RH chairman, creator, curator and co-chief executive officer, and Carlos Alberini, RH co-chief executive officer and their associate Eoin Harrington, RH Vice President Music included Mark Harmon and his wife Kimberly; Hilary Newsom and her husband film producer, Geoff Callan, Octagon sports agent Doug Hendrickson and his wife Shyla Hendrickson who is CFO of the Pelican Fund; The Battery's Jesse Tombs.

Also enjoying the music were CEO of VSP Capital (and former SF Mayoral candidate) Joanna Rees and her husband tech and music entrepreneur John Hamm; Paul Pelosi Jr., Honorable Hydra Mendoza, Alison Sonsini Turner, Susan Dunleavy as well as owner and partner of Wilkes Bashford, Tyler Mitchell, and his wife Stephanie Oshana, and CEO of Popchips, Keith Belling, and Grant Wernick, along with RH team associates.
The new music company will launch online early in 2014.  For more information:

Launch Party at The Greek Theatre, Berkeley, California

With a distinctive funk-laden, hip hop sound and a spectacularly soulful voice, British singer/songwriter Edei has been touring internationally and watching her single “Loved” chart as Record of the Week for five straight weeks on BBC Radio 2. She is currently recording in the United States with world-famous music producers, songwriters and DJs such as Mark Batson (Eminem, Alicia Keys, Dave Matthews Band) and Samantha Ronson (Roc Nation). Her new album will be released in spring 2014.

A regular fixture on radio charts across Europe and the backup band of choice for the likes of Elvis Costello and Sugarland’s Kristian Bush, Larkin Poe’s music is a brand of ‘swampadelic soul’ with tight vocal harmonies, dizzying instrumental riffs and insightful lyrics. Born and raised in Georgia, sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell are the charismatic soul singing/songwriting duo behind Larkin Poe. Their debut album is slated for release in late 2013.

Their New York retro pop sound is a unique hybrid of soul, rock and classic pop. The Brixtons regularly play to packed crowds at such Manhattan clubs as The Bitter End, The Bowery Electric and The Studio at Webster Hall. The duo consists of Donna Missal and Ken De Poto, both from New Jersey After graduation, Donna focused on developing her songwriting talents, and then she met her guitarist and writing partner, Ken. Playing guitar and trumpet since the age of 7, Ken was raised with eclectic musical influences, ranging from the Violent Femmes to Stevie Ray Vaughan and The Cramps. Ken and Donna’s music blends their backgrounds in different genres to create a one-of-a-kind vintage pop sound. They are currently recording their debut album slated for release in early 2014.

Ali Turner and Amanda Corfman

Ben Soleimani and Gary Friedman

Andrea and Carlos Alberini

Catherine Macfee and Justine Macfee

Courtney Seashols and Damien Hadley 

Jennifer Strom and Heather Bennett

Greg Spencer and Katya Sorokko

Marcy Karpowitz, Lisa Oberwager, Edei, Michael Polenske and Kimberly Miller 

Shanena Gunn, Charleston Pierce, Dana Finegold and Jamie Finegold

Susan Dunlevy, Gary Friedman and Tatiana Sorokko

Tyler Mitchell and Michael Polenske

Images of guests at Greek concert in Berkeley by Drew Altizer,
Images of artists performing at Greek concert, courtesy of RH Music, by Drew Altizer and Paige K. Parsons.

RH Contemporary Art gallery architecture and interiors by Peter Weed.

Images of guests at RH Contemporary opening night party by Patrick McMullan,

All images published here with express permission of the photographers.