WHO McGuire Designs

May 28, 2020 | Designs and Designers

John McGuire and Elinor Stevenson met on the eve of World War II; he was in the Navy, she was a navigation instructor. They fell in love and got married after the war, eventually settling in San Francisco. At first, there was no sign of what was to come. He worked at Standard oil and then sold newspaper ads for the San Francisco Examiner, she worked for Boeing Aircraft in engineering and design. When he ran into an old navy friend with a warehouse full of rattan furniture, John agreed to sell the pieces for him. The sideline business was such a success, John wanted to order more, but his friend demurred.

In 1984, John created the Laced Rawhide Arm Chair, said to be inspired by the Oregon trail, and it’s one of Circa Who furniture’s best sellers.

It was said that “Elinor was the creative force, and a very intelligent and purposeful woman”. She was the mind behind classics like another Circa Who best seller the “target Chair” and another favorite, the “cracked Ice chair.”

John said the couple’s working relationship worked this way: “John was the innovator and promoter. Elinor was the accountant and business manager with design experience.”

After selling the company and retiring, Elinor passed in 2005 and John died in 2013.

Even after all of the amazing designs they created in the past, Mcquire is still a trend setter today.


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TV: SamsungChair: Palecek, in Peter Fasano fabricLight: Shades from the Midnight SunWallcovering: Schumacher (foyer).


Every appliance is concealed by painted paneling. Counter stools: Artistic FramePendants: Weplight, with Radish Moon fabricBacksplash: Tiles of Ezra.

Breakfast nook

Bowman chose a seafoam green for the spot where the family enjoys casual meals. Wallcovering: Phillip JeffriesChandelier: Julie NeillChairs: Design Within Reach, in Pierre Frey fabricTable: custom.

Dining Room

Bunk Room

Bowman turned a tiny space into a spare bedroom for the children’s friends. Floor tile: Mirth StudioWallcovering: ThibautPaint: Cloud White (trim, bunks) and In Your Eyes (ceiling), Benjamin Moore.

Girl’s Room

The room was decorated so that (optimistically) it will last through her teen years. Paint: Sprout, Sherwin-WilliamsWallcovering: Pacific Designs International (ceiling). Nightstand: Chelsea TextilesSconces: PalecekCurtains: Lisa Fine TextilesBedding: MatoukBed: Coley Home.

Primary Bathroom


Painted cement tile by Sabine Hill and Perennials performance fabric can withstand post-pool hangouts. Paint: Marry Me (cabinets), Benjamin MooreWallcovering: Pacific Designs InternationalSofa: vintage.


Pool House

Shutters painted in Pink Cloud by Benjamin Moore are a subtle departure from the neighboring homes—yet still wholly Floridian.