Thursday, January 14, 2010

San Francisco Social Diary

Luxurious surroundings at the Mediterranean-style home of Mary and Bill Poland.
A Book Launch Lunch Honoring Designer Suzanne Tucker
by Jeanne Lawrence

San Francisco ... We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge to Ross, the Marin county community that is to San Francisco what Greenwich is to New York.

In twenty minutes we were at Mary and Bill Poland’s gorgeous Mediterranean style home in its park like setting.

The occasion was a luncheon honoring Suzanne Tucker on the publication of Rooms to Remember—the Classic Interiors of Suzanne Tucker, which features the Poland’s living room, with its tall French windows and luscious cream palette, on the cover.
Interior Designer and Author Suzanne Tucker. The Poland's house is featured on the cover.
Marsha Monro drove over from San Francisco.
Hosts Mary and Bill Poland at their home in Ross, Marin County. Linda Zider chats with Françoise Skurman.
When Bill, a real estate developer, introduced Suzanne, he explained, “I’m a guy from Texas, and I had only two requests for the design: a Texas style barbecue and wide hallways. The rest was up to my wife.” For that generous spirit, of course he got his two wishes!

Suzanne explained that urbane and glamorous Mary (whom she called her “cover girl” as her home is on the cover) wanted a sophisticated city apartment, while Bill wanted a country home. They got a brilliant compromise – the feeling of the city in the country.

Now head of the design firms Tucker & Marks with her husband Timothy Marks, Suzanne began her career with legendary California Designer Michael Taylor. She’s been named to the AD 100, Architectural Digest’s list of the world’s top designers, and The Robb Report called her “The Best of the Best in Interior Design.”
Toni Wolfson. Joanne Horning, Laura King Pfaff, and Cheryl Baxter.
Elizabeth Thieriot enjoys the organic California cuisine.
Mary Poland and Anne Marie Massocca in same setting as the book cover. Laura King Pfaff, Joanie Edwards, and Jeanne Lawrence.
Four lunch, Mary served us a very California style menu—free range poached chicken, organic asparagus, green salad with avocados, and dim sum, followed by the most delicious homemade cookies and tarts.

Afterwards, we sipped our coffee in rooms so cozy and inviting, enveloped in those luxurious fabrics that none of us wanted to leave. At least we had the consolation of taking away a personally autographed copy of the book.

The book created such a splash that New York Christie’s and San Francisco’s Bonhams & Butterfield auction houses also hosted book parties for Suzanne.

It’s lucky Mary’s house is finished, because she just announced that she will be chairing the Opera Ball this September. She’s going to be one busy lady.
Christie's New York hosts a party for Tucker too.
Designers John Rosselli and Bunny Williams with Suzanne Tucker. Suzanne Tucker and husband
Timothy Marks.
Carolyne Roehm, Simon Pinniger, and Diane Morris. Suzanne Tucker with Eleanor Notides
of Christie's.
Symphonix Goes to New Heights at Millennium Tower

I was delighted to get a peek inside the new, much-buzzed-about Millennium Tower, the ultra-luxurious 60-story residential high-rise in the Financial District, when I attended a designer showcase and reception there.

Called “Icons of Design,” it was one of the creative events sponsored by The Symphonix, the younger supporters of the San Francisco Symphony.
Millennium Tower (60-story residential).
The “mini designer showcase” was the inspired idea of Ken Paige, a friend of the developer, Sean Jeffries. Jeffries is a principal in the New York based Millennium Partners, which also built the Four Seasons here.

Ken and his wife Dorothy, who opened their own home as a designer showcase several years ago, invited their designer friends to participate. Thirty decorators volunteered to design a room in one of four 10,000 square feet condos on the 52nd floor and pulled everything together in an astonishing three weeks.
Dorothy and Ken Paige, brainchild of ICONS of design. Damian Inglin and Kathryn Pellegrini-Inglin.
Bob Perun, Kimberly Ayres, Barry Shotts, Kelly Grimes with Maggie and Ted Hazelrig.
Matt Paige. Roberta Economidis, Vaskian Sarkissian, and Makai Fisher.
Gregory Boroff, Keylee Sanders, Derek Besenfelder, Ye-Hui Lu, and Christopher Contos.
What a win-win: a stunning new fundraising venue for the charity, exposure for the designers, and a chance for the curious to check the place out! A young crowd packed the place, enjoying cocktails and appetizers to the accompaniment of music in four different, spectacular settings.

I joined friends congratulating Symphonic supporter Kelly Grimes on her recent engagement to Barry Shotts. I ran into other pals chatting in the closet of a master bedroom. “We’re back in the closet,” they said, obviously joking, for San Francisco is definitely an out-of-the-closet city!

A closet big enough for a gathering is only one of the attractions of the expansive Millennium apartments with their high ceilings, suburban-sized kitchens, wall-to-wall glass views of the Bay and city, and windows you can actually open.
Kelly Grimes announced her engagement to Barry Shotts. Sarah Heidkamp, Jane Burkhard, and Robin Farmanfarmaian. Vernon Applegate and Gioi Tran (Designers).
Blossom Barnes. Ann Brown, Annette Zavala, and Kevin McNiff.
Nick Levenstein, Kristen Hill, and Sharon Strom. Farah Makras and Sonya Molodetskaya. Kelly Grimes, Ye-Hui Lu, and Narissa Pacio.
The public hallways are wide, and the amenities include a clubroom, a 75-foot-long outdoor pool and terrace, an indoor pool, a Sports Club LA, and valet parking.

On the ground floor is Michael Mina’s new, elegantly casual dining room and wine bar RNY4 (where many folks dropped in after the design party, and a lucky few including former Mayor Willie Brown and his friends even managed to snag a table!)

Even after 20 years, I still love my Parish-Hadley-designed traditional home, but I’m very tempted to go for something completely different like this chic, sophisticated place.

To add to its attractions for many a would-be lady buyer, I hear a billionaire bachelor (whom we all know) has just bought the penthouse.
Room by designer Shelby de Quesada.
A Chinese Luncheon for My Friends

Too many diversions, too little time! When I’m in San Francisco, I love to visit the museums, hike in Marin, and visit the wine country — so it’s a challenge squeezing in enough lunches and dinners to visit each of my wonderful friends here.

So I invited all of them to lunch at my Nob Hill apartment, where the menu, inspired by my year in Shanghai, was Chinese. As they happily munched on the passed dim sum, I caught up on every morsel of news.
Chinese inspired luncheon atop Nob Hill.
Gail de Martini, Sally Debenham, and Pari Livermore. Kathleen Solmssen, Ann Seymour, Debra Leylegian, and Catherine Hall.
Gretchen Leach, Rhea Friend, and Diane Chapman.
Jeanne Lawrence and Riccardo Benavides, the party planner. Three authors: Lisa Grotts, Ann Seymour, and Merla Zellerbach.
Melodie Johnson, Sophie Azouaou, and Lois Pavlow.
Kelly Grimes and Catherine Hall. Two Bi-coastals Jeanne Lawrence and Jenny Jordan McCall.
Northern view of the bay and Marin.
Linda Zider, Daru Kawalkowski, and Linda Cannon. Holly Suich and Marsha Monroe.

San Francisco ... There are special times in one’s life when your loyal friends show up. One such time was when San Francisco-based author Ann Seymour’s book, "I've Always Loved You," was published. Released in December the first edition is already sold out, a second edition is on the way.

For years Ann was a feature writer for publications such as the San Francisco Chronicle, Gentry, West Magazine, but this is her first book; one that’s incubated since her childhood.
Ann Seymour signs her book, I've Always Loved You.
The book, “Simply, this narrative tells how warriors' sacrifices impact those they love most.” This is her true story, written from her experience with her American family during the events of World War II in the Pacific battlegrounds, in California, and in Tokyo's Imperial Palace.

The author drew on her family history, letters, diaries, memories, extensive research obtained after the 1995 Freedom of Information Act, and past headlines.

"Ann has written a poignant tribute to her father, a WW II. She has taken us from Pearl Harbor to VJ Day with emotion and historic accuracy," said Admiral S. Robert Foley Jr. USN (ret), former Commander-in-Chief, US Pacific Fleet. “A book I highly recommend.”
Merla Zellerbach, Lee Munsen, Bobby Freeman, and Andrea McManus Star.
Mary Robinson and Louise Brady. Ann Seymour and Mona Skager (former head of Zoetrope).
Friends hosting book parties included Ann and Charlie Johnson of Hillsborough, New York, and Palm Beach given at their Beaux-Art Carolands Chateau in Hillsborough, California.

Her daughter Jennifer Biederbeck and husband restaurateur Doug Biederbeck held another at the popular Market Bar in the Ferry Building. Co-hosts were Lili and Ambrose Monell who flew in from Palm Beach to celebrate. Reading the book on the airplane. "It's a real page turner," Ambrose said. "I couldn't put it down." 
Sallie Bell and Joel Goodrich. Robbie Cavallero and Susie Boeing.
Damion Matthews. Anne and Roger Walther with Urannia Ristow.
Other parties came one after the other as Lexie and Bob Ellsworth, Sue and Stu Engs, Genie Callan, Chotsie and Allan Blank, along with Norrie and Robbie Cavallero all did cocktails or lunches. Genie called the story, "Incredibly poignant. A true love story, but I cried." See what I mean about friends in support.

When reviewer Amy Lignor wrote, "Every once in a while, a book comes along that gives you a whole new perspective on things," that encouraged me to rush out and buy the book.
Diana Dalton and co-host Chotsie Blank. Anne Seymour's daughter Jennifer Biederbeck and Sharmin Boch.
Bill MacColl and Gordon Bellis. Seymour's grandson Justin Foley.
Photographs by Jeanne Lawrence, Drew Altizer, Patrik Argast, Gregory Partanio. New York based Jeanne Lawrence reports on lifestyle and travel from her homes in Shanghai and San Francisco, and wherever else she finds a good story.