Jonathan Adler is one of the world’s most famous and celebrated designers, with more than a dozen namesake stores and a seemingly endless roster of collaborations. Understandably, he picks his decorating projects carefully. Yet it’s easy to see what drew him to this particular property, a grand turn-of-the-century residence in San Francisco’s Nob Hill that’s filled with rich architectural details. And then there were the clients, Gerine Ongkeko and her husband, Jorge del Calvo, who thoroughly charmed Jonathan Adler with their jovial and daring mindset.
After becoming empty nesters in 2016, Ongkeko and del Calvo decided to move from their longtime home in Silicon Valley to the city where they’d started their professional lives in the early 1980s.
Three decades and several successful careers move later, and the couple was ready for a new sort of homecoming. They hired Jonathan Adler to transform their recently purchased 1915 property into a fun and inviting home that felt “like a breath of fresh air,” all while respecting its Beaux-Arts architecture.
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Jonathan Adler’s first decision was to paint the entire 4,600-square-foot, four-story space in Benjamin Moore’s Simply White, brightening carved-wood panels, elaborate ceiling mouldings, and turned balustrades. He then imbued the space with his signature élan, pairing whimsical pieces from his own collection with handpicked vintage items from admired designers such as Verner Panton, Gio Ponti, and Jindrich Halabala.
In the grand living room, which features a stately fireplace topped by an ornately framed mirror, Jonathan Adler kept a mostly alabaster palette interrupted by bursts of purple and fuchsia. On one end, he placed two of his billowy Ether Cloud settees and high-sheen Alphaville cocktail table; on the other, a Halabala chair upholstered in Tibetan lambswool next to his tufted Baxter sofa. It all comes together in a way that’s chic, modern, and just a little bit over-the-top.
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