• Sue-Anne Wilkinson Brochier

Good Design is Timeless

Updated: Apr 20


Creating spaces that stand the test of time and are more user friendly is one of my favorite things to do.

Although I designed this banquette seating area six years ago whilst working on the project for another designer, Hillary Thomas; it is a space that still feels elegant, livable and light filled. It also maximizes the architectural details of this lovely old 1914 San Franciscan home.

Previously a Decorator’s Showcase home the living room had been traditionally designed but felt very dark and busy. See before pictures below.

By lightening the whole room and removing the busy, fussy drapery and blinds the room instantly felt lighter and brighter and the beautiful detail of the dentil molding was revealed.

The new herringbone floor from old French oak and a French stone fireplace mantel also helped strengthen the room’s architectural bones and provided a fresh envelope to rework the space.

The room now has a fresh Neoclassical feel and its sea toned color palette is calming and restful. The large trees from the nearby park with their grayed bark and green leaves add another textural and natural element to the room

The new floor-plan and furnishing layout gave this grand living room two focal points and a whole new seating and entertaining area for the client to enjoy.

By removing the (E) narrow window seat seen above, and repositioning the piano, the new banquette seating area with its custom shagreen and metal tray tables and layered bronze and crystal lighting beckons on entering the room; whilst the cosy fireside seating is an immediate draw.

Furnishing Influences

Growing up in Australia and traveling to nearby Bali, I am influenced by the lush lounges and tray service enjoyed in the warm tropical resorts and the large velvet banquette with its moveable, pragmatic tray table design was inspired by those memories.

The rest of the furniture in the room was a sophisticated mix of custom Jim Thompson velvet tufted sofas inspired by one in L’wren Scott’s apartment that Hillary loved, custom tables, Paul Marra vintage ottomans and some of my favorite chair designers including Milo Baugham who designed the double sized swivel chair in Roger & Goffigon chenille velvet and Christian Liaigre’s elegant laquer wood back chairs, also in a Jim Thompson velvet.

An Hervé Van der Straeten mirror graces the fireplace and the bronze lights are also made in France. Rug by Kyle Bunting.

Still love the subtle luxury of the drapes I designed with their double layer of Holly Hunt’s Venetian glass satin overlaid with a lustrous floating metallic sheer by Jim Thompson.

Hardware by Jonathan Browning and drapes by Doreen Leong who always finds a way to do whatever I dream up.

From Idea to Installation

Design is a process that is not only creative but has distinct phases. Here visually you can see how a design solution grows from a quick sketch through to architectural and then shop drawings, fabric selection and finally installation.

Fortunately in San Francisco we had some of the best trade specialists to work with on this project! Thank you Patrick Hunter, Marco Fine Furnishing, Moroso Construction and special thanks to William Racke for his incredible finishes. And also to Hillary Thomas for asking me to work on this special house with her.

Pictures: Banquette and Fireside Living Areas, Sketch and Plans via my iPhone during the project.


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