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Nob Hill ResidenceSan Francisco, CA

Style and comfort are in plentiful supply in this two-bedroom apartment nestled in a Mid-Twentieth Century high rise in the Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. Designed for a retired couple, a photographer/art enthusiast and an avid golfer, the apartment acts not only as a home but also an office and gallery. This second story unit features unobstructed views of Grace Cathedral and a manicured Huntington Park below, and has an intimate connection to its urban surroundings.

Inside, traditional architectural elements mingle with clean-lined furniture and modern fixtures. Moldings, white walls, beautifully detailed millwork, chevron floors and midcentury modern references are all elements that work together to emulate the effortless chic eclectic style often seen in Parisian flats.

In each room, recurring moldings are apparent, but seamlessly fade into the background, setting the stage for an impressive array of contemporary artwork. The collection consists mainly of lithographs from the end of the 20th century.

The apartment is entered by way of a private elevator foyer designed as a gallery space to display a collection of rotating photographic images taken by the owner. The custom stone pattern on the floor, duplicated in tinted mirror on the ceiling, serves as an introduction to the level of rigorous attention to detail throughout the apartment.

Moving through the entry one encounters a yellow sculptural chair positioned next to a deep gray lacquered millwork cabinet, designed to contrast sharply with its surroundings. This cabinet opens to reveal a hidden desk. When the “Magic Office Box” is open, its lace wood interior is exposed adding a warm layer of texture to its surroundings, as the entry is transformed into an office space. Two paintings, a large collage, and a chandelier by David Weeks complete this area.

The living room is a blend of  traditional and modern aesthetic. The architecture and millwork reflect a traditional style, while the furniture has sleek contemporary lines. Several original found and refurbished Milo Bagumann pieces and minimal midcentury modern light fixtures create an elegant yet eclectic mix. In the library, furnishings were selected to compliment the large-scale painting centerpiece. An equally-bold steel, brass and wood shelving system create balance and a more intimate space for lounging. From both the living room and library, one can see into the galley style kitchen updated with modern cabinets finished in smoked oak, bronze glass and gloss lacquer.

The powder room opens to a dramatic dark colored wallcovering by Thibaut. The bathrooms are covered in marble and limestone materials, carefully selected and detailed to be visually interesting, classic and calming. The large closet in the master bedroom suite is fun, feminine and only hers. The midcentury modern thread that runs through the apartment is witnessed again in the Serge Mouille ceiling fixture, and refurbished wall sconces by Kreon are mixed with the owner’s own photography. Lucite benches recovered in white fur and a refurbished lounge chair add texture and color to the space.

The 1,830 sq ft floorplan was generally unaltered, with the exception of minor widening of openings between the living room, library, and kitchen, just enough to allow plenty of light and fluidity between these areas while keeping true to the original room layout. The apartment being relatively small means every inch of space was maximized.