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$45 Million Home Showcases Marin Designers

Extravagant house in Belvedere offers plenty of rooms for annual designers showcase.

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If ogling expensive houses is a tradition in Marin, then the new $45 million, 15,500-square-foot home in Belvedere that houses this year’s Marin Designers Showcase is sure to draw crowds. And the 22 designers that have filled out the palatial rooms will be an added bonus for sightseers.

Construction crews were putting the finishing touches and sanding down banisters this past Monday as they prepared for the opening Tuesday night.

The Marin Designers Showcase will run daily tours Tuesday through Sunday until Feb. 26. The $30 tickets raise money for the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership, which supports nonprofit organizations in the county and promotes volunteerism. The showcase is the only fundraiser for the center.

“This has been a year in the works for us,” said Linda Davis, CEO of the center. “If you could have seen it [Sunday night], you would have thought this was never going to happen.”

In fact, it very nearly didn’t.

Davis said last year they approached the owner/developer, Jeff Paster, but he was building the new property from the ground up after the lot had been abandoned for over 20 years and he didn’t think it would be ready in time or that the showcase would be a good idea in the brand-new building. The center then moved on to look at a house in Ross, but when that fell through they went back to Paster. He agreed to host the showcase in November or December, two months later than it is usually held. But, construction delays pushed even that timeline back even further until finally the showcase was ready to go Jan. 31.

The three-level, seven-bedroom house now features 22 different designers showing off their work in each of the rooms.

The designers toured the unfinished house months ago, prepared inspiration boards filled with ideas, and submitted those plans before being selected.

San Rafael-based Sunrise Homes has been involved since the showcase started in the early 1980s and has participated every year the showcase has existed, said Sunrise Home President Anne Bowman. This was the first year Bowman wasn’t directly involved with the room Sunrise Homes designed, instead handing it off to her two youngest designers, Catherine Coy and Alison Wilson.

The duo chose a slightly nautical theme for their en suite bedroom (all the bedrooms are en suite) overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and the city. (Nearly all the rooms overlook the Golden Gate Bridge and the city.)

They filled the room with warm tones and some small rustic touches, like unfinished wood.

“The house gave us a lot of inspiration,” said Coy.

Robin Barnatto, of Studio Home in downtown San Anselmo, filled an upstairs bedroom with color and fun textures. She wanted to make it new and modern, with a corner headboard that made the bed less the focal point of the room.

For Barnatto, who spent two months working on her room, it was exciting to work without many constraints and in her own style. She typically does everything from small consultations, simple room decorating to entire remodels.

“Clients don’t always the budget or inclination to do everything you want to do,” she said.

Though the designers had to stick with their plan they submitted and work with the chief designer, Beth Laughlin of San Rafael, they were relatively unlimited in terms of ideas and budget. Designers paid for everything out of pocket and will either sell the pieces or take them back after the showcase ends.

If you see something you like, you can pick it up at the furnishings sale on Feb. 27.

The artwork on the walls is also for a sale – and a new feature of this year’s showcase.

The Mill Valley-based Stephanie Breitbard Fine Arts curated the entire house, filling the rooms and hallways with art that fit together, and working with each of the designers to find artwork to go in their rooms.

“We’re trying to tell a story, so that it really feels like a curated collection,” said Breitbard.

She runs a cross between a gallery and an art advisor, and treated the showcase house as an example of how she would work in a client’s house. She comes in, looks over the space, makes recommendations from her collection of about 150 different artists she works with, and the clients can then buy the artwork for their homes. Brietbard doesn’t charge her clients fees, but takes a small cut of the artist’s price, which she says is much lower than the fees galleries charge.

“It’s basically really similar to real estate,” she said, but for art.

While the design and artwork is impressive, some of the biggest draw will be the expensive and expansive home itself. The entire home is wired to iPads in the walls, which control music, light and temperature. A touch of a button slides back a window in the kitchen and nearly all the doors open out onto a giant, wrap-around balcony.

The rooms that visitors may linger over the longest have little design in them – the wine cellar, massive walk-in closets, and mini-theater complete with projector and recliners in studio seating.

With a one-of-a-kind house in the hills of Belvedere, the showcase tour this year is as much a tour of extravagance as of design. And, of course, the house is also for sale with Olivia Hsu Decker, at Sotheby’s International Realty. See the full listing for Villa Belvedere at $45 million.

If you can’t afford the $45 million price tag, though, buy the $30 ticket to see what it looks like. And don’t miss the $5,000-a-pop giant plastic ice cubes floating in the pool.


If you go: Tickets are $30 a person, $25 for people over 62-years-old. Tickets can be bought at marinshowcase.org or by calling 415-479-5710. Tours run Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lunch is served every day for an extra $20. Thursday night wine tastings run from 5 to 8 p.m. for $40 a ticket.

There is no parking near the house. A shuttle will run from downtown Tiburon at Tiburon Boulevard and Beach Road.

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