Tony Duquette was many things: an artist, a Tony Award–winning set and costume designer, and an interior decorator whose singular flamboyant style earned him a celebrity clientele—think Mary Pickford, J. Paul Getty, and Wallis Simpson and her Duke of Windsor—and stardom of his own (you could think of him as a kind of predecessor to San Francisco's own Ken Fulk).
In all that he touched, Duquette left behind wild traces of whimsy and magic, and over the course of 40 years, he weaved spells here in SF, staging shows at the de Young Museum and the Palace of Fine Arts and commissions for the San Francisco Ballet. All the while, he and his wife Elizabeth were infusing their Pacific Heights Victorian home with dramatic trappings befitting a Hollywood manse (Architectural Digest called it the "Birdcage Victorian").
Duquette spent his later life on his ranch down in Malibu and died in 1999, and while today the five-bedroom home has undergone a ground-up renovation to make it more suitable to 21st Century mainstream residents, a couple of wonderful Duquette touches remain: an ornate Tiffany stained glass window and a classical two-story art installation framing the lush backyard.
Built in 1900, the house's majestic scale remains, now modernized with soaring ceilings, airy spaces to entertain, and a state-of-the art studio.
The foyer signals both warmth and grandeur with hardwood floors, a quiet color palette, and traditional staircase; the adjacent living room keeps its sense of theater with the original carved fireplace and bold floral wallpaper. In the dining room, the walls take on a textured appearance, lit by a woven nest-like pendant.
The kitchen is contemporary and functional with an oversized chef's stove, an island with wine storage, and a wraparound counter that allows for bar seating.
Spanning four stories, the home has a spacious master suite with an enormous walk-in closet and dressing room, as well as four additional bedrooms including one with psychedelic walls depicting a magical array of flora and fauna that might have made Duquette smile. On the top floor, the penthouse level has two glass-wrapped rooms with a sweeping terrace and panoramic views of the SF Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Location: 2754 Octavia St. (Pacific Heights)
Asking price: $6,199,000
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