Design

DESIGN SPOTLIGHT: Art + Soul

By Jennifer Massoni Pardini

A renovated San Francisco pied-à-terre showcases Nob Hill views — and a couple’s contemporary art collection.

The dining area showcases a piece by Senegalese painter Amadou Camara Gueye. (Photo by PAUL DYER)

She is a photographer and trained painter who earned her MFA at San Francisco Art Institute, teaches drawing at Southern Vermont Arts Center (currently online) and has exhibited on both coasts. He is a retired investment banker and dedicated golfer. Accustomed to dividing their time between homes in Vermont and Georgia, they were on a trip to visit their grown children eight years ago when they spent “a beautiful day in San Francisco,” casually looking at apartments.

“You could hear the kids and everything in the park,” she recalls of her first time taking in the two-bedroom apartment’s views across Huntington Park. “And I said: Wow, this is just like Paris.” A Parisian-style flat with “effortless chic style” was the driving aesthetic of what would become a full gut and remodel with Cass Calder Smith Architecture + Interiors, says Barbara Turpin-Vickroy, the firm’s director of interior design.

The result, achieved in partnership with Nob Hill Construction, is in an eclectic mix of traditional moldings, modern cabinetry and fixtures and midcentury modern furniture (including original pieces by Milo Baughman). While the 1,830-square-foot floor plan remained largely the same — in part, to preserve wall space for artwork — enlarged bathrooms and closets, widened hallways, and built-ins contributed to spacious living. A home office is tastefully hidden behind a lacquered millwork cabinet, a “magic box” that is Turpin-Vickroy’s favorite space in the home.

“We identified walls for each of the existing art pieces from the very beginning. … So, the art did drive the design.” Barbara Turpin-Vickroy

“Originally, I wanted to do the work right away, and I’m really glad that we waited,” the homeowner recalls of the remodel completed a few years after spending winter months in the City. “You get a better feel for the place and the light and the space.” Today, that light comes through picture windows that frame unobstructed views of Grace Cathedral, the Fairmont Hotel and the Pacific-Union Club. “It’s a special view,” she says. “Most people want to look north at the Bay. We love looking south to the park and the architecture around the park.”

Meanwhile, white walls serve as a canvas for contemporary pieces from the owners’ personal collection, including artworks previously purchased through Gretchen and John Berggruen, and then curated with Catharine Clark once they moved in. “We identified walls for each of the existing art pieces from the very beginning,” Turpin-Vickroy says. “As new pieces of art were collected during our design process, we would find a place for them to live. In some instances, that meant rethinking and relocating pieces. So, the art did drive the design a bit.”

A private elevator foyer mimics a gallery with a rotating selection, and a pair of coastal landscapes photographed by the homeowner are currently on display. “Those are from a trip that we took to Holland — that’s the North Sea,” she points out. A landscape from Montana hangs over the master bed. In addition to photography from her travels, she has also worked with nonprofits and individuals undertaking humanitarian projects overseas.

Other artwork throughout the home is by painters with Bay Area ties, such as Tom Lieber, Nathan Oliveira, Mark Fox, Squeak Carnwath, as well as international artists Hyunmee Lee, Kelvin López Nieves, Joan Hernández Pijuan, Amadou Camara Gueye, and Philip Guston. Sculptures by Tony Berlant, Roland Roure and Wanxin Zhang also stand out.

As for what most inspires the artist and homeowner, “most of my art is not created in the Bay Area; it’s created when I leave the Bay Area, whether it’s the humanitarian work I do or the teaching or landscape and other types of photography,” she says. “But what happens when I go back home — I just feel nourished and engaged and reconnected.”

 

 

A California Closets system frames Trove wallpaper and the In Bloom rug — a collaboration between the Rug Company and Elie Saab. (Photo by PAUL DYER)

A private elevator foyer mimics a gallery with a rotating selection, and a pair of coastal landscapes photographed by the homeowner are currently on display. “Those are from a trip that we took to Holland — that’s the North Sea,” she points out. A landscape from Montana hangs over the master bed. In addition to photography from her travels, she has also worked with nonprofits and inpiduals undertaking humanitarian projects overseas.

Other artwork throughout the home is by painters with Bay Area ties, such as Tom Lieber, Nathan Oliveira, Mark Fox, Squeak Carnwath, as well as international artists Hyunmee Lee, Kelvin López Nieves, Joan Hernández Pijuan, Amadou Camara Gueye, and Philip Guston. Sculptures by Tony Berlant, Roland Roure and Wanxin Zhang also stand out.

As for what most inspires the artist and homeowner, “most of my art is not created in the Bay Area; it’s created when I leave the Bay Area, whether it’s the humanitarian work I do or the teaching or landscape and other types of photography,” she says. “But what happens when I go back home — I just feel nourished and engaged and reconnected.”

 

The Oval Boi chandelier by David Weeks Studio illuminates a large photo montage, The Oval O, by Deborah Oropallo and sourced from Catharine Clark Gallery. “I thought the piece was so reflective of the chaos of the Oval Office because we bought this during the Trump era,” the homeowner says. “To me, that’s a very special piece.” On the table sits a Clark Derbes sculpture. (Photo by PAUL DYER)

 

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