You would anticipate that accession with as assorted an all-embracing accomplishments as artist Antonio Martins would crave a blank-canvas abode to board the across of his abounding influences. Afterwards all, he is of Portuguese descent, he was aloft in Brazil, he abounding university in Switzerland, and he spent a decade active in Hong Kong and Bangkok while alive for the Hyatt auberge accumulation afore affective to Chicago and eventually to San Francisco.
And yet, aback Martins fell in adulation with this circa-1926 home in San Francisco, it was absolutely because it came with its own affluent history, whose complication he capital to honor. The house, in the now advancing Bayview across of the city, was congenital by the Santinis—it has been referred to as the Villa Santini—who were a ancestors of Italian immigrants with a acknowledged business authoritative architectural adhesive moldings (they stored their surplus on their arena akin or abroad acclimated them in their own home). Attracted to its quirkiness and heritage, Martins aboriginal bid on the abode in 2015, but absent it to a ancestors affective to the Bay Across from New York. Aback the ancestors confused aback East two years later, he was able to acquirement the place. Afterwards renovating it in two phases—first, he adequate its anatomy and history (it hadn’t been adapted in 30 years), again he adapted the aloft Santini branch accumulator into a barn and gallery—Martins abounding it with a mix of Chinese and European art, antiques purchased at auction, and a few abreast pieces for contrast.
“You appear central my abode and you apperceive who I am—I consistently say that one day I would adulation to debris aggregate and alpha from zero, but that’s aloof a fantasy,” explains Martins, who transitioned to autogenous design, a adolescence dream, in 2002 afterwards a acknowledged career in auberge management. “We accept so abundant history abaft all of us and that’s how I like to do it.”
Here, Martins walks us through the countless influences in his San Francisco home.
ELLE Decor: What drew you to the Bayview neighborhood?
Antonio Martins: I confused to San Francisco from Chicago in 2002, and I lived in a adjacency alleged Hayes Valley—it was a alteration adjacency aback then. And again Hayes Valley became air-conditioned popular, and in 2008 I bought a abode in an across alleged the Dogpatch, aback no one absolutely knew what the Dogpatch was. And again the Dogpatch became actual fancy. So I was like, What is the abutting neighborhood? The Bayview is aloof 15 account from city and it’s one of those capricious neighborhoods—it was originally for bodies who formed in the shipyard at the about-face of the century. Again aback the shipyards went bottomward it became a simpler neighborhood. And now there is change activity on—artists affective in and some warehouses actuality done for designers and for appliance manufacturers—so it’s boring changing.
ED: Were you able to get a lot of actual advice on the abode aback you were abating and renovating it?
AM: Yes. The abettor who awash it specialized in the Bayview, so he had a few things. And again I went to Burghal Hall and the library and I started award advice on the Santini family. I was able to aggregate absolutely a lot of information, including photos of the exterior, but annihilation of the interiors. The ancestors was appealing able-bodied accepted for their adhesive moldings. If you attending at the moldings in the active allowance and dining room, they’re absolutely oversized. They were apparently not the blazon of abstraction that would accept been acclimated in a simple abode in this neighborhood. But because they ability accept fabricated them for a abundant bigger abode in Pacific Heights or Nob Hill, they apparently said, “Oh, let me do a little added beeline footage and administer it here.” So it was absolutely absorbing to see such a simple abode with such over-the-top moldings.
ED: I adulation the colossal hand-painted tiles in the entryway. What was the abstraction abaft them?
AM: We did these tiles for the San Francisco Decorators’ Showcase in 2014. They were reproductions of 17th- and 18th-century blue-and-white tiles. But instead of actuality the baby three by three inches, we fabricated them 24 by 24 inches. I had them in my barn for basically four years. And I thought, It’s my history, it’s my story. It was absolutely the bulk of tiles we bare for that space—we apparently had to do three added in white. There are 242 tiles. Nowadays anybody wants wallpaper everywhere, but I had all these handmade pieces in my garage, so why not?
© Christopher Stark In the capital bedroom, the bedding is by RH, Restoration Hardware, and the carpeting is 17th-century from Brussels. The larboard ancillary table is an automated potting table, topped with a brace of 17th-century Italian figural candle holders and a argent boutonniere by Luiz Ferreira; the appropriate ancillary table is a Tang absolutism Fat Lady. The wallpaper is by Schumacher.
ED: And those age-old portraits in the active room—you charge accept been accession them for years.
AM: I accept one or two from my family. And I helped a acquaintance adorn his house, and he had a lot. And I thought, Oh, this is so fun. I started to aggregate them from auctions over the accomplished 10 years. And commonly I accept aloof the portrait, the face. I consistently appetite article that’s gold-framed, with a atramentous background.
ED: You lived in Asia while you were alive for Hyatt. There’s a lot of Chinese art throughout your house. Are those all pieces you best up abroad?
AM: In Hong Kong there is a abode alleged Hollywood Road, this artery with all these antiques. I would basically go every Saturday to Hollywood Road and buy and buy.
ED: The kitchen doesn’t accept abundant comestible equipment.
AM: I can almost fry an egg.
ED: Has that not afflicted a bit in the accomplished few months?
AM: Oh my god—I fabricated the best dogie bouillon aftermost week. And again this week, for the aboriginal time, I fabricated a lasagna. And I was like, What is accident to me? In auberge academy we took affable lessons, and my brother is a actual acclaimed chef in Lisbon. So I appear from a ancestors that’s bedeviled with cooking, but I’ve never been able to baker anything.
ED: I adulation that you accept art on the shelves in the kitchen. Could you do that because you knew you wouldn’t accept the accustomed comestible tchotchkes in there?
AM: Yeah, and I additionally anticipate we all accept so abundant being in the kitchen, like accessories we use already a year. So I accept beneath of that, and again adornment and art and sculptures in the mix. I don’t accept a refrigerator in the kitchen—I accept a little minibar, like from a hotel, and all there is central is yogurt, Champagne, and Diet Coke. In the barn bench I accept a big refrigerator, but not in the kitchen.
ED: You put your ancestors antique bed in the bedfellow room—why not in your own bedroom?
AM: It was a ancestors bed that was at a cousin’s house, and again she anesthetized abroad and I affiliated it. For me personally, I adulation baby bedrooms. The added bedchamber area I sleep, the one with the tapestry, is maybe bisected the admeasurement of the bedfellow room. And in absoluteness those beds are not the best applied thing. I move a lot aback I sleep, so it makes the accomplished affair move around.
ED: Why do you like abate bedrooms?
AM: I anticipate they’re cozier. The capital bedchamber I did in a aphotic dejected grass cloth. I adulation bedrooms that go absolutely dark. So that added bedchamber area I beddy-bye every night, you abutting the windows and the window treatments, and it gets absolutely aphotic for as continued as you appetite to sleep.
ED: So you adopt sleeping in a cave, essentially.
AM: Basically, yes. A little dungeon, a aphotic cave.
ED: You accept that carpeting with assorted abstracts aloft your bed, in accession to the portraits in the active room. Are you a awesome person?
AM: No. And anybody comes to my abode and is like, “Oh my god, there’s so abounding bodies staring at you in the active room. Aren’t you scared?” And I’m like, “No, I adulation it!” But that 17th-century carpeting was aloof meant to be. The alone botheration is that I put it up and went to bed the aboriginal night. And it smelled like…hell. Because it had not been bankrupt in 200 years. It was cheaper to accept it adequate in Paris by a aggregation alleged Chevalier, who are the best restorers, than in the United States. The claiming is today that cipher wants this stuff, so I’m so blessed that I can now buy all this.
ED: There’s an advantage to accepting artful tastes that maybe aren’t for the masses.
AM: And if you attending at the craftsmanship, in the paintings in the active allowance or that tapestry, it’s incredible. They are 300 years old and they’ve survived. We are accomplishing a activity appropriate now area the audience don’t appetite annihilation that is old. So we are activity to Paris, London, Milan to buy amazing stuff. You buy a new carpet, it costs added than a 17th-century tapestry, but as you say, it’s a aberration of taste. We did a actual avant-garde abode in Pacific Heights, all-white, all actual clean, all actual modern. But I was able to advertise them on a big tapestry, and they admired it. At first, she was like, It’s so weird. But again they put it up and they admired it. It became a air-conditioned contrast.
ED: The toilet armchair in the capital bedchamber additionally seems absolutely aged. I accept that’s the aboriginal upholstery.
AM: I begin that one at bargain as well. I was consistently in adulation with Rose Tarlow—in her abode in L.A., she has a agglomeration of chairs like this. And I bethink aback the 1990s attractive at Rose Tarlow’s home and thinking, I’m activity to get that. It has so abundant character. The covering is aboriginal and it’s absurd and you can see the horsehair underneath.
ED: I like how you larboard the banisters in the arcade unfinished. Aback you were accomplishing the actual renovation, how did you adjudge what to leave in its aboriginal accompaniment against updating?
AM: This is a aback staircase—there’s additionally a advanced one. And the aback handrail was abounding of different-colored paints. I aloof admired the arrangement and the layering in there. Aback you get an old house, I adulation to acquisition the personality and accumulate it. I’m aloof so sad nowadays—it feels like bodies buy these old houses and rip them accessible and accomplish a admirable Carrara mausoleum. But I consistently wonder, What are we activity to say to ourselves in 20 or 30 years aback we’ve ripped accessible all these houses? They attending great, but I don’t appetite to alive in a actual avant-garde place, alike admitting I do that for my audience all the time. I aloof accumulate aggravating to acquisition what is absorbing from the past. It makes a aberration to me.
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