Victorian Jewel Box in San Francisco

Antonio Martins Creates a Lush and Sophisticated Makeover for a Historically Significant Home

Photography by David Duncan Livingston. Interior Design by Antonio Martins Interior Design. Living Room Inspiration. Traditional Living Room. Glamorous Living Room. Eclectic Living Room. Asian Living Room.
Photo by:
David Duncan Livingston
07/11/2016

For designer Antonio Martins, this partial home renovation was more than just a project, it was a dream come true.  During the graduation ceremony for his Masters Degree in Interior Architecture and Design from the Academy of Art in San Francisco, Antonio received his diploma from the President of the University.  While congratulating him, she politely whispered, “Good luck and see you very soon”.

The President was true to her word and  invited Antonio to renovate the top floor of her well-known home in Nob Hill referred to as the “Jewel Box”.  The historically significant building was originally completed in 1913 for real estate mogul Herbert Law.   Law commissioned George A. Shastey to design a “petit palais” with traceried grillwork, Italian marble floors and fireplaces, gilded vaults, an onyx fountain and a leaded glass ceiling.  Now, the client wanted to bring the top floor of her house to the same level of detail and elegance as the rest of the property.

Says Antonio, “We started by designing all the stone work that would include fireplace mantels, a Carrera marble powder room and the entire master bathroom.  It was important to start with the stone as it was going to be fabricated in Italy and shipped to San Francisco. Next, all the woodwork and cabinetry detail was commissioned locally to highly skilled craftspeople who carefully copied all architectural details from the lower floors of the house.”

Finally, after all of this careful, detailed prep work the interior design could take center stage. . .

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Photo by:
David Duncan Livingston

The family room was created to be multi-use and includes a TV area, bar, office and day-bed which can be used as an extra bedroom when needed.  A wall-to-wall shelving unit hosts a large collection of 18th century artwork and books.

Day Bed, Ottoman and Sofa by BELMAR Custom Upholstery;  Sconces by Phoenix Day; Armchair by G.F. Custom Upholstery; Built-in cabinetry by Luis Norori Antique Restoration; Library Lights by Hinson.

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Custom master bedroom wallpaper by De Gournay.

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Master bathroom custom stone design by Antonio Martins Interior Design; Built-in cabinetry by Luis Norori Antique Restoration; Vanity faucets by Waterworks; Sconces by Niermann Weeks; Hardware by California Crystal; Built in mirrors by Paige Glass.

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David Duncan Livingston

“The piece-de-resistance has to be the exquisite dressing room, with floor to ceiling venetian mirror cabinetry.  We meticulously measured the previous closet space to ensure the new closet would have enough room to accommodate shoes, clothes, luggage and an uncountable number of scarves owned by the client.  The make-up table has its own sink fitted with an original Victorian faucet.”

Dressing room built-in cabinetry by Luis Norori Antique Restoration; Hardware by P.E. Guerin; Area rug by Stark Carpets; Make-up table faucet from Tom Roe’s Private Collection; Sconces by Niermann Weeks; Built in mirror by Paige Glass; Custom Portuguese-style corona vanity stool by BELMAR Custom Upholstery.

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David Duncan Livingston

The powder room, which became the favorite room for both Antonio and his client, “was in itself a precious jewel.  The wainscoting in Carrera marble was highlighted by hand-painted wallpaper of Koi Fish, giving the illusion of a magical pond.  The silver background of the wallpaper reflects in the custom mirror”.  Additional design elements include a pair of Boyd light fixtures, further enhancing the “floating” effect.

Custom mirror by Luis Norori Antique Restoration; Wallpaper by De Gournay; Custom stone design by Antonio Martins Interior Design; Recessed vanity and faucets by Waterworks; Sconces by Boyd.

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Custom stone design by Antonio Martins Interior Design; Floor and wall tile by Ann Sacks.

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When the job was complete, Antonio wanted to give the client a present.  “After a lot of debate and anguish, I remembered that I had four original Buccellati pencil drawings  acquired during my ‘past life’ as an event designer in Hong Kong.  What better present to give the owner of “the jewel box”, than original Buccellati pencil drawings? They are now framed and hanging in the dressing room.”

What are some of the artistic details you have included in your Modern Sanctuaries?

Meet the designer Antonio Martins
Bio:

Antonio Martins studied hotel management in Switzerland, and worked for 11 years building a successful hotel career in Asia. From hotel operations to hotel design, he put his mark on some of the finest venues in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Argentina and most recently, Chicago. His residential career began in San Francisco, while obtaining a Masters of Fine Arts in Interior Architecture and Design. Over the past ten years, Antonio’s projects have included residences in the Bay Area, Europe and South America. His commercial designs include hotels in Palm Springs, Mexico, Brazil and several restaurants in Europe.

An artist at heart, Antonio brings an eclectic approach to interior design, with an interesting mix of antiques, modern artwork and contemporary furniture.

Antonio has successfully participated in the 2013 and 2014 San Francisco Decorator Showcases. His 2014 room, “Once upon a time there was a bed….” was praised by, Newell Turner, editorial director of the Hearst Design Group who wrote:

“This room is spectacular. Antonio has clearly tapped into the extraordinary interior design legacy of San Francisco. It’s fresh, original and I’m hoping a sign that designers in SF are putting this city’s wonderful sensibility back on the world’s interior design map!”

Antonio’s work has been featured in Traditional Home, House Beautiful, California Home + Design, Dwell, Elle Décor and many other publications.

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Cynthia Baxter
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