Monday, April 29, 2019

San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2019: Designers Paul Wiseman and James Hunter of The Wiseman Group Celebrate Forty Years of Design with a Superbly Realized Décor and Concept

This barrel-vaulted room overlooking San Francisco Bay, is vast in scale and was originally somewhat daunting with its strong interior architecture, grand fenestration, and massive paneled walls. It was originally a dining room for the turn-of-the-century residence.

Paul and James have reshaped the room into an inspiring art-filled retreat/music room/study, rich with art collections, jewel colors, lavish textiles, and witty contrasts of materials, textures, and ideas. Hand-painted silk panels with a chic faux bois pattern add charm and interest to the ceiling beams. And Paul’s worldly collections of Han animals, sculptures, books, scrolls, paintings, and furniture (Ned Lutyens), and beautiful crafts give a sense of a multi-generation family room of cosmopolitan tastes.

Paul and James added vivid colored film to the upper windows, in homage to James Willis and his Moroccan style.

Bravo to Paul, this year celebrating forty years of design. His firm was first launched in 1980. This is Paul’s ninth showcase room—and I believe it is his best and his most autobiographical. It reveals his depth of knowledge of design, architecture and art. And it portrays a designer at the height of his career. Congratulations.

Photo by Diane Dorrans Saeks

The Haute Hideaway, A Tribute to Connoisseurship

Paul looked to two of the 20thcentury’s greatest connoisseurs and art collectors for inspiration on the approach and style and focus of this showcase room.

The Wiseman Group was inspired by Pierre Bergé and Yves Saint Laurent and their passion for collecting and travel. Bergé and Saint Laurent started collecting art and antiques and fine objects in the sixties…and continued through last year when the collections were finally sold. Bergé and Saint Laurent collected paintings from Goya to Picasso, and Greek classical sculptures and African masks and Chinese bronzes and books and Moroccan carvings and Orientalist paintings. And equally Paul Wiseman, with open mind, has had a life-long passion for beauty, eccentricity and rarity.

The Wiseman Group’s room serves as the perfect escape for bohemian guests to listen to music, read, dine, chat, and gather with friends and family. Colors are muted…with a jolt of silk jewel tones on pillows and upholstery.

The room showcases international design elements with an emphasis on historic mid-century California paintings resulting in a modern day room with a distinctly West Coast point of view.

Paul Wiseman, founder of The Wiseman Group, with design director James Hunter.

I am very excited to feature one of my prized possessions, a William Kentridge sculpture I bought in Cape Town, South Africa. It seems apropos, considering it would not fit nor could I have afforded it for the first room I did for showcase 32 years ago, says principal Paul Vincent Wiseman, recalling the linen closet he did at Le Petit Trianon in 1982. “Today, as we are designing the main dining room, I feel we have come full circle.” 

Layered in classical, contemporary, and custom furnishings and artwork, the hideaway features a statement antique Oushak carpet with an Edwin Lutyens octagonal table and chairs.

The original fireplace has been re-imagined with custom Moroccan Star Zellige Tile (In Homage to Saint Laurent in Morocco) by Monique De La Plaza through Da Vinci Marble. 

A custom geometric 5-panel velvet screen inspired by artist Gustav Klimt, a Steinway grand piano, a Ming Dynasty coffee table, and a window seat banquette in Jim Thompson woven fabric create a sense of maximalist eclecticism.

“Designing with eclectic furnishings and objects can result in a space that leans traditional or moves toward the contemporary, the only limitation is personal taste,” said design director James Hunter, who collaborated on the concept and design with Paul for TWG 

Photo by Diane Dorrans Saeks


Principal photography by Douglas Friedman @thefacinator

Additional photography by Diane Dorrans Saeks

Additional Resources:

Da Vinci Marble

Hardesty Dwyer & Co., custom pillows

Hilde/Brand Furniture, banquette

Jim Thompson and Shears and Windows, fabrics

The Noguchi Museum, lantern

Protean Steel, metal shelves

C. Mariani Antiques, wood paneling and furniture refinishing

Ironies, tables and chair

Mansour LA, rug

Steinway & Sons, grand piano

Truax Lighting Group, lighting design

About The Wiseman Group

The Wiseman Group, with Headquarters on Potrero Hill overlooking San Francisco, now employs over thirty specialist staff…and works on projects around the world.

Paul Vincent Wiseman
Paul Vincent Wiseman opened his San Francisco firm The Wiseman Group in 1980. At the age of 27, success in design world was still just a dream. Today, his business is recognized as one of the top interior design firms in the world.

Paul has a deep appreciation for history, culture, art, and architecture. Artisan studios from Paris to the Far East provide the custom design elements that have become a signature of TWG projects. A commitment to the environment and to the importance of sustainable development motivates Paul in his design work. Whenever possible, projects are designed in accordance with LEED guidelines.

Born in the Delta country of California's Sacramento Valley, Paul’s formative years were spent in an agricultural community have made him both sensible and grounded, but he has always marched to the beat of his own drum. After studying at the University of California- Berkeley, his zest for travel took him all over Europe and the Far East. By his mid-twenties, he had lived for extended periods in both France and Australia. It was during these youthful travels that he realized his passion for design.

Paul, a lifelong collector of art and beautiful objects, continues to study design on specialist architecture and design tours around the world to enhance and sharpen his understanding of design. After forty years of success he remains inspired, curious, and highly passionate about design and architecture.

James Hunter
Born in Upstate New York, James Hunter has worked at The Wiseman Group for two decades, guiding clients and creating interiors that are well composed and cohesive. He has also developed relationships with a wide variety of artisans to create and execute custom designs.

As an undergraduate, James majored in Art Education at State University College in Buffalo, New York; his course work reinforced the importance of scale, color, balance, and proportion. He spent a semester abroad in Siena, Italy, and later visited museums and sites of historical and architectural interest throughout Europe. On his return, James remained in Buffalo, obtaining a Master of Science in Art Education (magna cum laude) and completed post-graduate work in textile design and surface printing. He continues to travel globally for work and inspiration.

James lives in a modern high rise in San Francisco.

The Wiseman Group

San Francisco Decorator Showcase

Now through May 27

3800 Washington Street

No comments: