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A Noirish Studio for a San Francisco Design Star


A Noirish Studio for a San Francisco Design Star

October 7, 2016

When her San Francisco interior design firm tripled in size in as many years, founder Nicole Hollis embarked on a year-long search for a new space. When she found it—a 5,000-square-foot former industrial building in the rapidly growing SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco—it was a tech office “with small rooms and bad carpet.” What she wanted instead was “a creative laboratory—a white canvas where the staff have all the tools they need but can also be inspired and encouraged to collaborate,” she says.

Hollis, whose firm is a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory, saw past the gloomy interiors and capitalized on the building’s former, loft-life glory. She tore down walls and poured new concrete floors, and the result is signature Hollis: high-design nods, a graphic black and white palette, plus a dash of noirish glamour.

Photography by Laure Joliet, courtesy of Nicole Hollis.

brass front desk in interior design studio 14

Above: The reception desk, a brass-clad box by Oakland’s Chris French Metal, is Hollis’s “ode to Donald Judd.”

brass desk surround with corner detail 15

Above: Though it serves as headquarters for the firm’s roughly 40 employees, the studio “is also for clients to see how we work,” Hollis says.

shou sugi ban wall with modern chairs 16

Above: Interior walls are blackened with shou sugi ban, a Japanese wood-charring technique.

san francisco office entry lounge black walls 17

Above: Near the front desk, a dramatic entry salon has ebony walls that are integrally colored Italian plaster and a fireplace façade with a custom metal insert. A Bec Brittain chandelier hangs above a painting by German artist Udo Nöger and a Hepburn Sofa by Matthew Hilton for De la Espada from the Future Perfect.

white office space with dome pendant lights and concrete floors 18

Above: FontanaArte Avico pendants hang over custom computer stations by Oakland’s Mueller Nicholls—the desks can be raised and lowered for standing or sitting. Hollis kept the building’s original steel windows and had the board-formed concrete ceiling painted white.

loft like office in san francisco industrial 19

Above: Nicole shares her office with Lewis Heathcote, her husband and the firm’s CEO. Heathcote sits facing the studio, while Hollis faces the city views spanning the San Francisco Bay Bridge to Twin Peaks.

modern glamour office verner panton chair 20

Above: A Verner Panton for Vitra Dining Chair serves as Hollis’s office chair. A Vico Magistretti Atollo sits on the credenza in the background. On the walls Hollis used Benjamin Moore Decorator’s White throughout.

industrial design office materials library 21

Above: The materials library: “Vendors, artists, architects, and other designers drop off samples and artwork for us daily,” Hollis says. “It’s a rotating salon.”

interior design office materials library in steel drawers 22

Above: Materials boards, sorted by project.

all black tiled kitchen in san francisco 23

Above: The studio kitchen’s black backsplash is made of hand-glazed Moroccan Clé tile, with a “bleached metal” surround—an experimental technique done in collaboration with Chris French Metal.

black industrial kitchen in san francisco 24

Above: The kitchen island, with custom steel base and Calacatta marble top by CoorItalia, was “designed to invite socializing,” Hollis says.

black dining table with modern wall light in san francisco 25

Above: The communal dining table is meant to encourage social interaction and family-style lunches. The table is a James Perse design.

For more from Nicole Hollis, see:

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Frequently asked questions

Who is the rising star in San Francisco featured in the article?

The rising star in San Francisco featured in the article is a designer named Kelly Wearstler.

What is the studio space that is featured in the article?

The studio space that is featured in the article is located in the design district of San Francisco and it is the new headquarters for Kelly Wearstler's design studio.

What are the features of the new studio space?

The new studio space has high ceilings, large windows that allow for natural light, and it is designed to accommodate a growing team.

What is the design aesthetic of the new studio space?

The design aesthetic of the new studio space is modern with a mix of vintage pieces and a focus on texture and color.

What is Kelly Wearstler's design philosophy?

Kelly Wearstler's design philosophy is to create spaces that are unique and reflect the personality and style of her clients, and to use textures, color, and pattern to create visual interest.

Product summary  

MKID Greenwich Village 9
Verner Panton

Panton Chair

$395.00 USD from Design Within Reach

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