15 May 2007

Vintage Laundry

Lynne Rutter's Vintage Laundry, at the  SF Decorator Showcase

I've recently designed a room for the 2007 San Francisco Decorator Showcase, which is being held in the spectacular house at 2901 Broadway, a 1927 neoclassical mansion in near- original state.
A wonderful example of passive preservation, the house's original laundry room had never been painted, or really cleaned, as far as I could tell. The walls are raw plaster and the giant double enamel sinks are in perfect condition.

So I designed the room as a sort of a valentine, to what this house used to be, and to the era in which it was built. It could almost be 19th century Europe, except with reliable electricity, and prohibition.

My assistants and I hand-washed 80 years worth of filth off of the walls and ceiling, exposing a lovely lime plaster finish with a natural patina. We stripped the old wax off the concrete floor, cleaned it, and painted a matte faux marbre finish; we also restored the dark painted finish of the 12 foot long solid redwood work table.
The opaque window glass was changed out to clear, revealing an amazing view of the bay. An ugly water heater heater was disguised with a folding screen, custom built by Chris Yerke, and painted with neoclassical motifs and singerie painted by Lynne Rutter with help from Adrian Card.  All we needed now was a period sewing machine and a hand-made low-tech wooden drying rack from Amish Home Place.

The fun part of course is the laundry itself- lots of vintage 1920's lingerie, all in ivory silk and lace,  with the styling help of Erika von Petrin; and a collection of period linens, many of which belonged to my grandmother, Jane Coley Kittredge, whose bright coral wedding ensemble is also peeking out of the mending basket.

The showcase is open to the public through May 28, 2007.

Erling Wold: The Laundry Room
SF Chronicle "Swells"
7x7 Home and Design

photo by David Papas.