Friday, February 6, 2009

Hanging with the Pros!

Just returned from the San Francisco Design Center’s 2009 Showcase (Day 1). It was a great event the Keynote Opening moderated by Eric Engstrom, retired kitchen designer extraordinaire. The subject was Women in Food and Design: The Second Generation and featured; Holly Baxter, co-owner of AVA in San Anselmo and Marche aux Fleurs, in Ross; Susie Biehler, a leading restaurant concept developer and public relations consultant; Jennifer Johanson, President and CEO of EDG and an award-winning restaurant architect and designer; Sarah Schafer, Executive Chef, Anchor and Hope in San Francisco and Anne Le Ziblatt, Proprietor, Bon Su in San Francisco and Tamarine in Palo Alto.

As an aside, have you heard that Jamie Oliver now has his own magazine? Aptly titled Jamie magazine, it hails from England and will of course feature recipes from Jamie and other talented chefs, as well as articles about restaurant design and innovation. I’m looking forward to my first issue. You can check it out here.

The lectures offered were many and varied. Including;

  • Room for Green: Sustainability in Home Design
  • The Influence of Culture and Design
  • Local Trade Resources…Updated
  • A New Fuse at Sloan Miyasato
  • Practical Feng Shui for Design

and finally, what I went to the show for….

  • A Conversation with Michael Smith


The very handsome Michael Smith, getting ready for his presentation.

Michael Smith is an incredible designer and after hearing his presentation, I’m even more enamored by him and his design philosophy.


Michael’s latest book, Houses.

Speaking from the Shears & Window Textiles Showroom in the Galleria, Michael spoke of being led by the architecture of a building or space, working with clients, different design jobs that he’s had, personal anecdotes about his own home and what he looks for in prospective employees (hint…. it’s not the resume!).

Michael came across as relaxed and fun, with a real intuitive stance toward design and design concepts that any designer would love to have.


Michael and me at his book signing. He was very gracious in answering questions and posing for photos.

He announced up front that he would not answer any questions regarding his commission to redesign the White House interiors. He stated “check back with us in 10 years and we’ll have some information for you.” I don’t blame him. Why even go down that road right now when he’s probably still in the programming stages of the design? Plus, with the limited budget that he has to work with, he’ll most likely have to make good use of the furniture pieces in White House storage, and it is going to take a while to go through those inventory catalogs.

Given Michael’s ability to mix and match periods, materials and styles, I think it’ll be a no-brainer. The Obamas chose well.

Michael Smith 3

Michael’s breakfast room in his own home, which he admitted that he rarely uses, due to it’s separateness to the kitchen space. It’s a gorgeous room nonetheless!


My friend Aletha and Michael at the signing. Both so photogenic!

Thank you Michael for your time and if you need someone in the Bay area to help you scout out treasures, I’m your girl!

Also at the Showcase, much to my surprise was Barclay Butera! He wasn’t on the schedule, nor were there notices that he was going to be there for a book signing (hmmm… what happened SFDC?), yet I spotted him lunching in the Galleria.


Barclay Butera and me at the SFDC Galleria. This photo doesn’t capture his blue eyes!

Barclay couldn’t have been sweeter! He was so down-to-earth and friendly. He chatted casually with us for a bit, like we’ve been friends forever (well, in my mind anyway :)…) He told us that he was a last minute fill-in. You are more than a fill-in Barclay!

Barclay invited us down to the book signing, which took place at Kravat trimmings. Barclay’s new book, Barclay Butera Living In Style, is a wonderful design book filled with incredible images of his designs, broken up into different themes…. i.e. mountains, beach, city, desert, and town and country.

Barclay Butera 1

Here in one of his beach-inspired settings, Barclay uses natural materials in his furnishings, which evoke a natural transition to the outdoors. Beautiful!

Barclay Butera 2

And here in one of his mountain settings, Barclay gets wild with a punch of animal print in an otherwise southwest-styled room.

Barclay’s book is wonderful to look through. It’s got a little something for everyone and his appeal seems universal. Check it out here.

**An important note… there are bloggers out there who have been lamenting the loss of the Domino magazine and now one of them has done something about it. Go to Save Domino and sign the petition to keep Domino alive!


LindsB said...

Looks like you had such a great time, I'm jealous of your brushing with fame, especially two amazing designers like them.

And I singed the Save Domino petition, I really hope it works!

vicki archer said...

Sounds like a great day Becky. I must get those books especially the Michael Smith, xv.

Melissa Lewis said...

Too fun!

I heard about Jamie Oliver's magazine. Glad to see something good coming out since I'm losing all my good home design mag's.

Callie Grayson said...

oh, i am so excited about jamie magazine!! thanks for the info. I so have a crush on him. and now I need to get this mag!!

what a fun adventure you had.

Pigtown-Design said...

It sounds like a perfect day!