With interior designer Dara Rosenfeld, Stephanie Marver looked to her couture wardrobe as inspiration for her Pacific Heights flat.
By Diane Dorrans Saeks
With glamorous closets bursting with custom-crafted Giambattista Valli, Fendi and Dennis Basso party dresses, Stephanie Marver knew exactly the design approach to take for her newly acquired Pacific Heights apartment, built in 1928.
“I love couture gowns, and I appreciate every subtle and original touch, every stitch and layer and trim. I wanted that same attention to detail and luxury with the decor,” says Marver.
Her 6-year-old daughter is equally hypnotized by style. “I wanted Carissa’s bedroom to feel very girly, with Mark Shaw’s iconic ’60s photographs of Dior fashions on the walls, and a golden bed,” she continues. “For me, I wanted a tranquil bedroom and a larger closet, and beautiful rooms for entertaining.”
She turned to her friend Dara Rosenfeld to design every corner. The S.F.-based decorator looked to great 20th-century women designers. “I found a Chanel-inspired chair, and we visited Chanel’s apartment in Paris. We found ideas in Helena Rubinstein’s Paris apartment and the work of Dorothy Draper,” adds Rosenfeld.
Marver also credits Paris fashion legend Valli: “He gave me courage to create the design of my dreams, to take risks, create new ideas and to express who I am,” Marver says of her longtime friend. He designed her frothy, lace-appliqué embroidered, tulle wedding dress for her recent marriage to Jim Marver, the co-founder and managing director of a local venture capital firm.
“Giambattista is a master of mixing textures, of creating hand-crafted luxury, at adding ‘secret’ unseen luxury touches that only the woman wearing it can see and feel,” she says. “Dara and I took that concept and included custom-made trim for curtains, handcrafted door handles, embroidered silk wall coverings and antique lighting that’s like jewelry in the hallway.”
“It’s rare to have a client this passionate about the details of haute couture and jewelry,” says Rosenfeld, whose design background includes a richly varied career with The Wiseman Group, and in-depth study of antiques and art while working at Christie’s. “We translated fashion details like trim and hand-stitching and embellishment onto almost every surface.” Her first Valli dress, for example, was an ombré cheetah-patterned chiffon cocktail number, and it directly inspired to hall carpet. With her jewelry collection in mind, Rosenfeld designed a rose gold fireplace screen for the dining room, made by Tuell and Reynolds. A pair of crystal-encrusted chenets, also crafted by the NorCal company, were inspired by Van Cleef & Arpels Maharajah earrings.
A quick design concept turned into an extensive one-year remodel. They took the awkwardly renovated 3,100-square-foot, three-bedroom layout down to the studs. “We wanted it to look layered, as if I had lived here for years,” says Marver. She adores the beautifully proportioned new interior architecture, complete with a new plaster ceiling in the living room, refinished oak floors, even hand-painted dining room walls in a soft, glowing “makeup” color. “When guests arrive for a fundraiser, there is a always a ‘wow’ moment,” says Rosenfeld. Carissa calls it “our fashionista pad,” and for this family, the residence is uplifting, glamorous and fun.