Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Here is wishing everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous 2011!

Barbara & David

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Memories - Living In A Winter Wonderland!

I think Christmas time will always be filtered through one’s experiences as a child. I was lucky enough to spend my childhood living in Colorado, where one of the most magical things was the existence of four seasons…four distinct seasons. In San Francisco it can be hard to tell what timeof year it is by the weather, and a change in season can be lost on sunshine or torrential rain.

It seemed that we were always prepped for Christmas by the weather well in advance with snow (this sometimes happened as early as Halloween) so it always “felt” likeChristmas was coming. It seemed that if it didn’t snow at least a little that Christmas wasn’t going to be as good. Besides thesnow, some of my most treasure memories of Christmas were:

An annual Christmas shopping trip with my Grandmother, where she would take me to the Brown Palace Hotel in downtown Denver for lunch,

Going to see the Nutcracker ballet each year with my Mother,

Buying a fresh Noble Fir from our local tree lot,

Seeing the Christmas lights in Denver’s Civic Center,

Helping to decorate and attending midnight mass at our church, St. Luke’s Episcopal,

And of course gifts!

The gift of a cowboy hat from my Godparents in Dallas, Texas.

Merry Christmas, and best wishes to you and yours!

David Hansen

Photos from top:

1) Pine tree photo from Apartment Therapy.

2) Brown Palace Hotel postcard from

3) Nutcracker photo from The Denver Post web site.

4) Tree photo from

5) Denver Civic Center from

6) Interior of St. Luke’s Church Denver, Co.

7) Statue of St. Michael from St. Luke’s church courtyard.

8) Vintage photo of the author.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bieder-Merry Christmas!

The spirit of Christmas was ever-present in San Francisco last Thursday night when the “Jingle & Mingle” event took place at the Presidio Officers Club, an event known for beautiful and creative wreaths designed by some of San Francisco’s best and brightest creative minds. The premise was simple: Design a non-perishable wreath to be sold to the highestbidder …a la silent auction. The event is sponsored by Children of Shelters, who donate all proceeds to assist the City’s children living in transitional shelters by providing for both their basic and in-depth needs. The organization has been around since 1995, and was founded by Lois Pavlow.

Early sketches on a Starbucks napkin.

The creative process for our wreath started over a cup of coffee and a sample of veneer; a beautiful piece of birds-eye maple. What followed was a lively conversation about the Biedermeier period and restrained classicism. Ultimately, we decided on a starburst design, further reinforcing the idea with the star edged in black. Crowning our star was a very wide vintage stripe ribbon in black and cream from The Ribbonerie. As for the wreath construction itself, Barbara and I knew we didn’t want anything too “out-there” or trendy. After many sketches, we finalized our star, seeking the advice and direction of an expert wood shop. We enlisted the help and support of an old friend, Segale Bros. Wood Products, a local custom cabinet shop with whom I have been designing for years. They were kind enough to keep with the spirit of giving by making the donation of product and labor to further the cause. The wreath was cut out using a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine. The expertly crafted star matched our vision perfectly. It was indeed a Bieder-Merry wreath, evoking in our minds, a classic holiday symbol.

The star shape in the birds eye maple after being cut out on the CNC machine.

The Jingle & Mingle event was beautiful, one to be remembered and to participate in again.

Laying out the vintage ribbon.

Have a Bieder-Merry Christmas!

David Hansen

Top Photo:

The finished wreath on a festive Red door.

All photos by David Hansen for Ashfield Hansen Design Inc.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Recap From Dining By Design 2010

We’ve been busy preparing our clients for the holidays, but we didn’t want to miss posting some highlights of our local Dining by Design event.

DIFFA’s Dining by Design celebrated 10 years in San Francisco on November 17th & 18th with the annual “Table Hop & Taste” on Wednesday and the gala dinner on Thursday. Here are some highlights from the event.

The lead photo is of a table designed by Robert Fung for Hartmann Studios.

Detail of a table by Adeeni Design Group for Poggenpohl that utilized poetry and referenced the sea.

"La Cage Aux Fauxnique" was designed by Steven Miller and Paul Benson.

A table referencing a "Tee Pee" covered in illuminated Ektachrome slides by Gensler and Haworth.

Slide detail.

The interior of the table by Gensler & Haworth.

A table for Restoration Hardware designed by Gary Spain with Will Wick.

A table for the San Francisco Design Center designed by Candace Barnes.

Barbara Ashfield & David Hansen

All photos by David Hansen for Ashfield Hansen Design Inc.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Build It And They Will Come

I have found my work with the Steering committee for San Francisco’s Dining by Design to be quite rewarding. The two-day event benefits The Positive Health Program at San Francisco General Hospital which provides on-demand treatment to those living with HIV and AIDS.

Our committee is always looking for ways to promote the event, so I was happy to have been able to collaborate with Mr. Robert Van De Weile, the newly appointed showroom manager at Lee Jofa on a table setting in his showroom to promote Dining by Design’s “Table Hop & Taste”.

A special thanks must be given to Christie McRae, one of our event’s co-chairs and the owner of the McRae & Co. showroom and MC2. She provided the china and stemware from her personal collection.

The tablecloth is one that Barbara and I used on our first table at Dining by Design in 2005. The new line of fabrics from Oscar De La Renta was used to accent the table with memo samples as napkins. The setting is finished off with leaves from the Liquid Amber tree in front of my home.

Our hope is that this will inspire ticket sales, and if you are in San Francisco this coming week (Wednesday) please attend this wonderful, creative event for a great cause! Tickets can be purchased here.

David Hansen

Photos by David Hansen for Ashfield Hansen Design Inc.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chinoiserie Redux

Now that our SF Giants have won the World Series title and the mid-term election is over, let’s re-cap some recent design news…

On Wednesday, October 27th we attended the opening night gala of the San Francisco Fall Antiques Show with this year's theme being Chinoiserie. The venue at Fort Mason has never looked so festive, especially with the entry bedecked in red pagodas and requisite sit and chat tables. Gourmet tidbits abounded with the wait staff offering the ubiquitous glass of bubbly around every corner.

This year’s theme of Chinoiserie was well chosen, and is defined by the Antiques Show web site as “Western art that incorporates or imitates Eastern design elements and techniques”. Using chinoiserie elements has long been a standard for classic interiors and has been gaining in popularity as a more contemporary interest is heightened. There is even a wonderful blog entitled “Chinoiserie Chic”.

This year’s event welcomed the return of many of last year’s exhibitors as well as many new faces. There seemed to be a particularly large presence of art this year with a stronger focus on modern pieces, which made for an interesting mix. Particular favorites among exhibitors were Montgomery Gallery with it’s amazing mix of California paintings, Finnegan Gallery from Chicago showing late 19th century/early 20th century garden antiques, arresting in their stark beauty and dark charm. We also enjoyed an informative time conversing with the likes of Peter Pap of Peter Pap Oriental Rugs and Kathleen Taylor of The Lotus Collection, who is considered “the” procurer of antique textiles anywhere. We also spotted an amazing commode by one of our local favorites Therien and Co.

On Saturday we attended the lecture by noted interior design author Adam Lewis who spoke on his latest book, Billy Baldwin The Great American Decorator. Mr. Lewis gave an interesting talk that had us hanging on every word. After the talk we mingled about a bit more, ran into friends, then headed over to Greens restaurant where we enjoyed a rainy afternoon lunch with friends which rounded the week of antiques and Chinoiserie beautifully.

Barbara Ashfield & David Hansen

Photos from Top:

1) SFFAS Entry by David Hansen for Ashfield Hansen Design Inc.

2) 19th Century English bust from Finnegan Gallery in Chicago.

3) 18th Century French Chinoiserie needlepoint valence from Kathleen Taylor- The Lotus Collection.

4) 18th Century German Rococo Commode from Therien & Co.

* All photos used by permission.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


When I think of Halloween I think of costumes, and when I think of costumes I think of filmmaker and fantasy stylist extraordinaire Tim Burton.

In 2009, the October issue of Harper’s Bazaar featured a Halloween fashion spread inspired by filmmaker Tim Burton, who reimagined the season’s dark delights through the designs of Rodarte, Louis Vuitton, YSL, Alexander McQueen and Nina Ricci. The photographer is Tim Walker.


Barbara Ashfield

* All photographs for Harpers Bazaar October 2009 by Tim Walker.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Power Of 10

Sunday October 10th (10/10/10) is considered by numerologists to be one of the most advantageous daysin contemporary times, due to the fact that it only occurs every 1000 years. I’ve been hearing for weeks about weddings and special events being planned for this particular date by those who take great stock in the good portend certain numbers can offer.

10/10/10 was also dubbed a “Local Work Party” by as a time to promote “Green” activities, and generally raise awareness of reducing human’s carbon footprint. It is said that nearly 7000 activities happened worldwide as a result.

I was asked, along with some of my design peers to attend an open house on this most auspicious day. Thelocation was a “Green” home designed in collaboration with Sandra Slater (the homeowner and interior designer), Drew Maran (her life-partnerand the builder) and EHDD Architecture.

I must admit I had not read the invitation thoroughly and thought we would be visiting a newly completed project. The address of the home is 1001 Emerson in Palo Alto, whichseemed to fit in with the theme of 10-10. After arriving and speaking to the Homeowner, I realized this was a home that had been built ten years ago, and the open house was to celebrate the fact that this home’s program and design had actually translated into a house that was truly “Green”. The methodology of building and programming a “Green” home was more of a struggle ten years ago, and provided numerous challenges. Many of the obstacles the design team encountered have thankfully become part of the vernacular of residential building.

The home also shows the reward of using quality materials in construction, which is a “Green” quality unto itself. The home looked as though it had been built yesterday, and the effect is clearly lower maintenance costs over time.

I was grateful to have been included in this celebration of sustainability, and meet new connections in the industry. If you are interested in finding out more about this project visit the web sites of EHDD Architecture or Drew Maran Construction.

Special thanks goes to Lisa Boquerin.

David Hansen

Photos from top:

1) The front of 1001 Emerson from the street. Photo courtesy of EHDD Architecture.

2) The Designer and Homeowner Sandra Slater addressing the crowd. Photo by David Hansen.

3) Looking toward the entry way. Photo by David Hansen.

4) The front of 1001 Emerson approaching the entry. Photo courtesy of EHDD Architecture.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Performing a Coup!

Last Thursday we attended the opening party for Coup D’Etat’s new showroom space. As usual a party thrown at Coup d’Etat is not to be missed, and was seemingly attended by the entire local Design Community.

The new space is much larger, and includes designs by famed Wine country designer Erin Martin. The showroom continues to carry designer Michael Burg’s furniture line Circa 1901.

Much has been written locally and nationally about the new showroom space, and it’s owner Darin Geise, and rightly so. The new space continues to deliver on the promise of true design and originality.

Mr. Geise’s vision is something to behold so if you find yourself in San Francisco, a stop in at Coup d'Etat (shortened to Coup on their new signage) is a must.

Coup d'Etat is located at 111 Rhode Island, Suite 1 San Francisco, CA 94103.

Barbara Ashfield & David Hansen

All photos by David Hansen for Ashfield Hansen Design Inc.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Egypt Through the Eyes of a Brit via Italy!

I recently took in a production of Aida by Giuseppe Verdi at the San Francisco Opera, which was designedby thebrilliant Zandra Rhodes.

Ms. Rhodes, who is a notably eccentric fashion designer by trade, has become known for her trademark bright pink hair and a generally non-traditional demeanor. Ms. Rhodes also designed a production of Les Pêcheurs de Perles by Bizet for the San FranciscoOpera in 2005.

Ms. Rhodes first established her own retail outlet in London in 1969, when her textile designs were considered too outrageous. She has since had an illustrious career designing for the likes of Princess Diana, Helen Mirren and Sarah Jessica Parker. Queen Elizabeth II named her a Commander of the British Empire in 1997.

The designer’s vision for the production of Aida is rooted in quintessentially Egyptian colors likeTurquoise,Citrine and Ultramarine. The fantastic colors are teamed with a dynamic graphic quality plucked right from Ms. Rhode’s own fashion moments (she designed an Egyptian inspired collection in conjunction with her first designs for Aida). The effect is dynamicand exciting. Rhode’s designs manage to lighten the production without dismissing the seriousness of the story or compromise Mr. Verdi’s monumental score.

The English National Opera and the Houston Grand Opera have shared in the production, which was originally commissioned by Opera Pacific, which subsequently folded.

Like most live performances, this production is at it’s most dazzling when seen live (photos truly do not do it justice), so I highly recommend it for a truly artistic experience.

Brava to Ms. Rhodes!

David Hansen

Photos Credits from top:

1) SF Sentinel: Photo, Tristam Kenton.

2) SF Sentinel

3) SF Sentinel: Photo, Tristam Kenton.

4) Opera program cover designed by Zandra Rhodes. photo, David Hansen.

5) Aida set courtesy of the Academy of Art fashion blog.

6) SF Opera web site: photo, Cory Weaver

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Lost Art Salon in San Francisco is a haven of vintage, antique and modernist paintings dating from the late 1800s to the 1960s, all found in a retro chic space at the crossroads of South Van Ness and Division streets in San Francisco. Arriving a little early for my four o’clock appointment with one of the owners, I soon realized that I had been there before as a guest at a cocktail reception during Market Week in 2009. I also recalled having been previously impressed with the overall cache of great pieces, not to mention the incredibly inviting ambience reminiscent of another era. My visit this day was made altogether even more delightful as my host offered me a seat on the sofa and a cup of tea and so began our conversation..

The Collection, assembled by owners Rob Delamater and Gaétan Caron, encompasses work by artists whose names have been forgotten or “lost in time”, hence, the name, Lost Art Salon. Delamater relayed that he feels people are very afraid to combine periods and mediums and their hope is that for individuals interested in purchasing art will try blending, thus allowing them to be in the “atmosphere” of what art should be; personal. Work is presented in a “salon” environment, with comfortable seating and lighting enhancing the overall experience of enjoying art. Specifically, “…the fine art collection at Lost Art Salon is comprised of over 4,000 works of rediscovered and historically significant artists. It reflects the major styles and movements of the 20th Century (1900-1960s). Sourced at art auctions, estate sales and flea markets, every piece is researched, reconditioned and catalogued for art historical records at Lost Art Salon. They use restored period frames combined with archival framing techniques.

Delamater and Caron own the entire collection and they do not accept any pieces on consignment. The focus is to buy entire collections when found, and each partner selects one piece from each buying spree. Each partner selects pieces for their private collections first – with Delamater’s favorites being self-portraits of artists and Caron collecting abstract impressionist works. All of the works are original period artwork with the average price range in the $350 to $750 neighborhood, with 10% of the collection coming in at prices greater than $1000. Art is reframed on site and that is art in and of itself. Delamater claims that new frames bring artistic power to once lost pieces, giving “wallpower” to many of the works found. The enormous collection of period art frames is amazing however such frames are sold only with pieces purchased.

Lost Art Salon has a significant online presence selling online at and often rents out pieces to stylists and designer showhouses. I say Bravo!

Barbara Ashfield

*Photo courtesy of Lost Art Salon

Friday, August 6, 2010

SUMMER LOVE Part V: Art Refresher

There is something special about art that has been part of a private collection that the public has not seen in a number of years, or in some cases not at all. The Fisher collection is one such collection and a small sampling of it has come to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art this summer.

Donald and Doris Fisher, most famous for founding the Gap clothing stores have amassed one of the most impressive collections of modern and contemporary art in America. Over the years, The Fishers collected important works from artists such as Gerhard Richter, Cy Twombly, Chuck Close and Alexander Calder from various stages in their careers.

A special partnership has been arranged with SFMOMA to house and show some 1100 pieces for posterity and Calder To Warhol: Introducing the Fisher Collection is a view into this partnership. What is great about this exhibition is the depth of the Fishers collection, and the ability to see numerous important works by a single artist.

The works are being exhibited at SFMOMA through September 19, 2010.

David Hansen

*All photos taken at SFMOMA by David Hansen via iPhone on August 1, 2010