San Francisco-based interior designer Eche Martinez was tasked with reviving a 1926 Presidio Heights residence for a young family relocating to San Francisco. Embarking on a new chapter in their lives, the owners fell in love with the property’s grand, classical façade and wanted the home to have an interior to match.
Previous renovations had stripped the property of its personality and historical charm, so Martinez focused on reintroducing finishes and architectural details befitting a house of its era.
Viewing it as a once-in-a-career opportunity, Eche understood the family's need to reinject the residence with its lost sense of classical elegance, while conveying a visual language that felt current, liveable and inviting.
Miraculously, the dramatic spiral staircase, with its original metalwork, was untouched. The grandeur of this surviving feature established the tone for the rest of the finishes.
Read on for insight into how Eche went about creating the finished look – and when you're done, hop over to our page dedicated to the world's best homes for more.
Restoring the property began with the grand entrance hall, where a traditional checkered stone flooring was laid. A vintage Curtis Jeré brass pendant, and a deconstructed Venus statue by European art collective, Troika, show Eche's daring ability to blend modern geometric with classical lines.
In the kitchen, marble worktops and brass accents are a nod to the 1920s origins of the house, whereas minimalist handleless units and a geometric, sculptural take the scheme forward a century.
The library was completely reconfigured to make the most of floor-to-ceiling windows, but Eche wanted to make it look like it had been there forever.
A turn-of-the-century Persian Qashqai Kashkooli rug is paired with a Michael Dawkins desk, a Roberto Lazzeroni Ginger swivel armchair, and a pair of 1950s Maison Lunel suspended sconces.
One key part of Eche's brief was to create a proper showcase for the client’s extensive contemporary art collection.
The seating area is anchored by a portrait by Spanish artist Salustiano, who uses the Renaissance technique of crushing cochineal beetles to produce the work’s brilliant red hue.
The painting is balanced with a muted palette – jet black sofas, a simple marble fireplace surround and a swirling monochrome rug all feature.
In the dining room, Eche mixed new and vintage pieces.
A 19th-century English mahogany dining table is paired with Whisper chairs by CuldeSac for Bernhardt Design, and a collection of 1950s opaline-glass-and-brass pendants by Bent Karlby.
An area rug depicting a map of Manhattan from Joseph Carini Carpets anchors the space.
Each guest bedroom was inspired by an imaginary guest.
The green room is swathed in Benjamin Moore’s Tarrytown Green.
An alcove is outfitted with a Sheraton-style antique desk, a 1950s brass-and-walnut midcentury Viscount Armchair by Dan Johnson, Arteriors Celeste accent table, and a Caleb Zipperer armchair n Zoffany green velvet.
Black walls and gold accents contrast with petite Amedeo Modigliani etchings in the master bedroom.
This surprising red bed gives this room a joyful energy. It's paired with an equally vivid dressing table and chair, which has a classic French look but a modern metal finish.
The furnishings and finishes, showcase a deft mélange of custom, contemporary, and antique pieces. 'We wanted to create the narrative of a home that had been really lived in – cultivated and collected over generations,' says Eche.
It's hard not to believe in the illusion that has been created here. We only wonder how the house will involve to be in the coming years, but we are sure it will only become more spectular.
Interior designer: Eche Martinez
Photography: Christian Harder