At Home: A philanthropist's dramatic Nob Hill residence

Deborah Strobin’s stunning Nob Hill residence, with bridge-to-bridge views, provides a stimulating and creative environment for the active philanthropist.

The sister of fashion designer Ilie Wacs, and trained as a designer, Strobin has organized major fundraising events in The City in the past two decades, including a Yves St. Laurent retrospective and benefits for the San Francisco Symphony, AIDS relief organizations, stem cell research and the American Cancer Society.

Strobin — whose late husband, Ed, was one of the founders of the Discovery Channel — says her favorite color is red. She has decorated her home in strong colors.

Walls are light mustard, tinted to reflect variations in light, and aubergine. Her furniture is muted, she says, “to highlight the art.” 

She’s not a fan of formal dining rooms, calling them “wasted space.” Her entertaining area showcases a three-dimensional metallic piece by Tom Holland and another “fish” piece with shiny blue scales.

In the living room, work by Matthew Oliver and a free-form loop add a pensive, thoughtful mood. In her den, artwork by her brother has a place of prominence.

Strobin planned placement of all of the furnishings and art work in the high-ceilinged, elegant space. It all works, with the backdrop of the windows and San Francisco Bay.

“You can’t rely on the past,” Strobin says. “I have to do something with myself for the future. You lead by inspiration.”

 

Style keys

Design aesthetic: Quiet elegance
Favorite color: Red
Style secrets: “I create” — she designed and made her stained-glass fire screen and reconstructed and created her gown for the opera ball
Favorite design store: Everything is made to order
Favorite design book or magazine: No longer reads them

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