Volume 9, Number 2, May 1987, pp.5-6

Designer's Showcase Generates Funds for Conservation

by Bruce Kamerling

Each year since 1974, the San Diego Historical Society has held a Designer's Showcase to raise funds for conservation and restoration projects. Initially, these funds were used for the restoration of the Society's 1887 Victorian house museum, Villa Montezuma. After the basic restoration work on the Villa had been completed, funds became available for conservation of collections, including documents, photographs, art objects, furniture and other items.

The Historical Society works with the local chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers on the project, and a percentage of the net profits go toward the ASID's educational programs. The home selected is usually of some historical or architectural interest, and the showcase overlaps National Preservation Week. Part of the purpose of the showcase is to demonstrate how older homes can be made livable by today's standards through sensitive design treatment, thereby encouraging preservation. Since its inception, the Designer's Showcase has raised a net profit of over $470,000 for the San Diego Historical Society's use. Without this special funding, few conservation projects could have been attempted.

The 1987 Designer's Showcase will be held at the Juan Osuna Ranch in Rancho Santa Fe. Originally part of Rancho San Dieguito, the ranch was owned by Don Juan Maria Osuna, San Diego's first alcalde (mayor). Sold to the Santa Fe Land Improvement Company in 1906, the land was subdivided and developed into Rancho Santa Fe. The portion containing the Osuna adobe was purchased by Hollywood entertainer Bing Crosby, who commissioned architect Lilian Rice to restore the Osuna Adobe as a guesthouse and design a new adobe residence that would harmonize with the historic surroundings.

This year's Designer's Showcase will be open to the public from May 2 to May 25, 1987. For information call (619) 232-6226.

Bruce Kamerling
Curator of Collections
San Diego Historical Society

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