Designer Paul Vincent Wiseman recognized the potential pitfalls of creating a room that would house the mementos from the hunting expeditions of the husband and wife who own this formal estate near San Francisco. Therefore, before embarking on the project, he consulted the work of someone whose trophy room designs have withstood the test of time—100 years’ worth of time. “It would have been very easy for this to turn out badly,” says Wiseman, whose firm is based in San Francisco. “I decided to look at how they did this kind of room in the U.K., where the tradition goes back centuries.” Wiseman and architect Ned Forrest researched the designs of Scottish hunting lodges and English manor houses, particularly those that 20th-century architect Sir Edwin Lutyens created in the early 1900s.
The couple’s collection of more than 1,000 hunting trophies is contained in a windowless 2,000-square-foot room, the walls of which are upholstered in fabric that conceals any marks from mounting. “The room feels a lot like a museum,” Wiseman says. “It’s rare that you’re ever able to see these kinds of animals up close, and the owners have bookcases filled with information on animals and hunting. It’s like a private visit to the Smithsonian.” Except that the Smithsonian does not also serve as a home theater. “The coffee table in front of the sofa hides a projector, and opposite is a movie screen,” Wiseman notes. “They really wanted a usable space rather than just a storage room.”
When movies are not playing, the room’s focal point is the French Renaissance fireplace (circa 1500) that the couple acquired during a visit to France. (Two rams stand on a rock mounted over the mantel.) The floor, which is covered in part by various pelts, is a combination of eucalyptus wood and leather tiles. The three identical chandeliers are from a 19th-century Scottish castle, but the rest of the furnishings, including the suede tufted sofa and the chenille club chairs, are custom designs that, says Wiseman, are appropriate for modern-day castles such as this one.
The Wiseman Group Design Inc.