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Geoffrey De Sousa

Date published: March 03 2015

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The San Francisco designer uses the past with the present to update a mid century Mayhew classic

“Interior design is in my DNA,” states Geoffrey DeSousa about his chosen vocation and avocation. In addition to opening his eponymous design firm twenty years ago, he co-founded DeSousa Hughes with business partner Erik Hughes.  Located in San Francisco, the exquisitely edited “to the trade” showroom reflects DeSousa’s passion for textiles, furniture, and art.

 For his projects, the Boston native deftly fuses the past with the present.  "I love history, and there’s a real sense of tradition to my approach, but a house must also stand in the now,” he said.  DeSousa understands the architectural nuances of buildings from another time.  For a recent commission in San Francisco’s Clarendon Heights district, he ushered a classic California Modern home into the 21st Century. 

Designed in 1940 by modernist master Clarence William Whitehead Mayhew, the asymmetrical three-story residence features a reverse floor plan to maximize panoramic views of the bay area.  Mayhew, known for site-specific structures built his own iconic Piedmont home at the same time.  To assist in the preservation of the house’s Mid-Century character while adding current amenities, DeSousa enlisted architect Lorissa Kimm.   The colleagues and friends, share an affinity for contemporary architecture. 

To access the third floor’s open plan living and dining rooms, Kimm installed an ethereal wood, glass, and chrome stairway.  De Sousa played off of the space’s dramatic fog-shrouded vistas with a warm color palette of taupe and moody blues.  Showcasing the views, Kimm replaced each window with new insulated units that respected Mayhew’s original design.

For the living room, De Sousa featured a conversation group in front of a horizontal fireplace incorporated into a freestanding brick surround.   He anchored the space with French designer Christian Liagre’s clean lined sofa and coffee table on a textured carpet from Mark Nelson.  In the dining room a hand blown cluster of pendants from John Pomp dance against the cityscape.  Adjacent to the dining room lies the renovated kitchen while a tranquil den hides behind the fireplace. 

Descending back down the stairs, DeSousa created a cocooned master bedroom in misty blue greys.  In contrast, a sunlit hued guest bedroom follows the master suite. Through the guest room’s French doors lies the lyrical terrace with a round fire pit encircled by gracious seating.  Green plantings and a living roof garden accent the earth colored exterior walls.  Mayhew homes seamlessly blended the interior world with the outside.  DeSousa reinterpreted his vision for the 21st century.

Photographer: Matthew Millman

Designer: Geoffrey de Sousa

Author: Kendra Boutell

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