A & E

From vintage to va-va-voom: Decorator Showcase has it all

Spring’s hottest color takes its cues from the Emerald City

If the decorating fore-casts are accurate, this year’s most stylish homes will be down-to-earth yet high impact. Modern yet vintage. And green in more ways than one. The new trends, including everything from eye-popping paint colors to homespun furniture and accessories, will be on full view through May 27 at 2800 Pacific Avenue, where more than 500 interior and landscape designers transformed a stately Georgian mansion for the 2013 San Francisco Decorator Showcase

So what are the season’s bold new looks? Here are a few of the trends you’re likely to see, not only at the Showcase, but also in stores and catalogs in the months ahead.

Right at home: If you’re feeling nostalgic, you’re in luck, because vintage, handmade and lived-in are the catch words of the season. Don’t be surprised to see homespun accessories like knitted pouf covers, rustic accents such as hand-woven storage baskets, and irresistibly touchable textures like suede and fur for every room of the house. Furniture with a lived-in look, wood finishes that appear aged, and hand sketching as a decorative element on walls all harken back to a predigital age. Palmer Weiss, of Palmer Weiss Interior Design in San Francisco, who has contributed to the Showcase in the past, attributes this trend to the increased accessibility of vintage and crafty items. “In years past, it could have taken months of scouring flea markets for the perfect needlepoint pillow,” she says. “Now, an Etsy search turns up hundreds of fantastic options.”

Even kitchen design is morphing from slick modern to homey modern. Designers are embracing vintage-looking materials such as irregular flooring, weathered concrete, crackle-glazed tiles that look handmade, and woods that show natural grains. Jenny Bittner, director of the Showcase, says at 2800 Pacific Avenue we’ll see a kitchen by Jute that features wood counter tops, storage baskets and hand sketching. She says, “It’s a place that feels homey, whether you’re cooking dinner with the family or enjoying a glass of wine in good company.”

Just the right light: Designers have always known that beautiful lighting can transform a room, and the latest designs do this in a bold new way. This season is all about statement lighting, as glazed ceramic lamps, large sculptural pendants, oversized kitchen lights, dramatic chandeliers, and Art Deco lights step into the limelight. Like a beautiful piece of jewelry, a gorgeous light can make an impact, says Weiss, and “is a great way to infuse novelty or boldness without making too big of a commitment.” Statement lighting may be seen in almost every room in the Showcase, says Bittner. “You’ll see porcelain chandeliers, brass-plated sconces, glazed ceramic chandeliers, and an Art Deco antelope horn chandelier.” And in a living room designed by Catherine Kwong, ceiling-to-floor fringe chandeliers evoke a sexy vintage feel, reminiscent of “Bianca and Mick Jagger in the earlier years.”

Earth Day: Nature-inspired motifs, particularly florals and botanicals, are popping up on everything from home accessories to wallpaper. Feathers are adding texture and fancy to pillows, sculptures, even lighting. But the earthiest appeal comes from eco-friendly design choices. “People are increasingly concerned about using the greenest products in their homes,” says Marla Schrank of Marla Schrank Interiors in San Francisco, and they’re opting for natural materials such as bamboo, recycled glass and organic fabrics. They’re also creating “living walls” of greenery that not only deliver air-purification and humidification benefits to the home’s interior, says Schrank, but also “bring the rustic look of the outdoors indoors, and give the space a tranquil and cohesive feel.”

Tribal power: As globalization brings the corners of the world closer together, home interiors are seeing a broader and more eclectic range of ethnic influences. African inspiration, in particular, is a big trend this season, as tribal patterns crop up on rugs, art and accessories, furniture, and bedding. “It’s a look that’s been around for a long time, but I certainly see it a lot more now,” Schrank says. “There is now an organic nature to these products that evokes warmth and has the ability to sooth.” Look for details such as imitation animal skins, houndstooth prints and ornate wood carvings, all in an earthy palette.

Let it shine: This season’s well-polished homes are aglow with brass, lacquer, and gold accents, as these and other high-gloss finishes make their way into many rooms of the house. Brass makes the biggest comeback, this time mixed with other metals, and Schrank says her clients have also been pining for gold details. “Shine, shine, shine is back,” says Bittner, who confirms that luster is in demand. “At [the] Showcase you’ll find lots of polish and lacquer. You’ll see nickel and brass sconces, nickeled iron ends and Venetian plaster ceilings” with gold accents.

Color’s comeback: A range of punchy hues from lemon sorbet to cobalt blue is working its way into previously subdued spaces, with emerald green the season’s “it” color. “Home décor often mirrors fashion trends, and emerald has certainly been played up on the [recent] runways,” says Weiss, who notes that the renowned color authority Pantone chose it as the Color of the Year. In home accessories, Schrank is seeing “a lot of strong, decisive color choices” such as burnt orange, poppy and topaz, as well as bold black-and-white contrast on rugs, pillows, and accessories. At the Showcase, visitors will see “lots of black, white, and grays with pops of bright emerald, bright pink, royal blue, and chartreuse,” says Bittner, who points out that although the house is very traditional on the outside, “once you walk in, you’ll be surprised by the super chic, modern look on the inside.”

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Maryann LoRusso is a San Francisco-based journalist who also writes a blog for women at