A local family relocates to a stunner of a house in Tiburon.
IN 2014, DESIGNER ANN LOWENGART got a call from a Granite Bay couple who’d just bought a house in Tiburon and needed to have it furnished—stat. “The wife is incredibly glamorous—she’s an ex-fashion model,” says Lowengart. “The husband loves the outdoors.” Lowengart’s job: to bring glamour and nature together in one fabulous home.
The husband had one request: He’d fallen in love with the enormous tree-limb chandelier hanging in Sacramento International Airport’s Terminal B and wanted one just like it. “If you can get this for my house,” he told Lowengart, “you’ll be my hero.” Challenge accepted. The San Anselmo-based designer called the chandelier artist, Donald Lipski, and discovered it would be prohibitively expensive to have one custom made. Eventually, she tracked down the manufacturer of the original and learned that a second, smaller version existed and was on loan to a museum in Oregon. Made of carbon substrate and resin, with LED lights and Swarovski crystals, the fixture was massive: 9 feet long and 5 feet high. As it turned out, it was a perfect fit for the couple’s living room. Lowengart had already selected the room’s furnishings when she found the chandelier. “It’s a very special piece,” she says. “It really makes the room.”
The cool, monochromatic living room is a study in gray, with a hand-tufted sofa in gray silk velvet and a custom gray rug. The wall behind the sofa is covered in Trove photographic wallpaper, depicting ghostly gray trees. “Gray is the through line throughout the house,” Lowengart explains.
The 4,400-square-foot Hamptons-style house has four bedrooms, six baths and drop-dead views of Angel Island and San Francisco. Despite its traditional architecture, the house feels fresh and modern. “You can make a traditional house feel very modern without having to gut it, just with furnishings,” says Lowengart. She used a Jonathan Adler table in the breakfast room and a custom live-edge walnut table from Urban Hardwoods in the dining room.
For the family’s two young girls, the wife wanted a bedroom that was pink and girly. While staying at a hotel, she found a stylish marbleized wallpaper that she liked. Lowengart sourced it for the room in hot pink with gold metallic veining. “It feels modern, updated, hip and fun,” says Lowengart. The boy’s bedroom has a more organic feel, with a headboard wall of reclaimed wood from Stikwood (a Sacramento company).
In the media room, Lowengart aimed to show the owners’ personalities. So she took a photo from their Christmas card shoot and blew it up to cover an entire wall. The sepia-toned mural, showing the three kids from behind running on a beach, “is timeless,” says Lowengart. “It will never feel dated.”
The family moved into the house in 2015, leaving Granite Bay to be nearer to the husband’s business in San Francisco. But the project’s Sacramento roots are strong: Lowengart herself grew up on Sacramento’s Crocker Road. She hasn’t yet done any design work in Sacramento (aside from her mom’s house). But, she says, “I’d love to.”