C California Style

A two-inch slab of Calcutta marble tops the kitchen island; fixtures by Sun Valley Bronze.
Scraped marble adds hewn textural interest over the sink.
Air vents are cleverly concealed by custom laser-cut walnut in a Moroccan pattern.
In the master bathroom, counters were raised to accommodate the owner’s height; instead of dropped shades, Hollis sandblasted the windows to a frosted finish; fixtures are by Dornbracht.
Hollis designed a custom leather stool underneath the vanity; glass sections separate ties and socks.
Simple materials, like a refrigerator, disguised with walnut, push the owner’s art collection to the forefront; Frank Gehry cardboard Wiggle chair; Kartell stools.

True to Form

by C California Style

A concrete wonder by Jim Jennings meets the modernist mood of Nicole Hollis.

Interior designer Nicole Hollis makes a brave distinction. “I’m not a great ‘decorator,’” she says. “Everything’s structured, and architectural, and materials. Most of my work has been in wood, or metals, glass and leather, hide and raw linen—more textural than patterns on top of patterns, fringe and curtains.” Looking at 2014’s Hall Winery Visitor Center, a recent slew of residential projects and this year’s launch of a hospitality division (plus forthcoming Cairdean Vineyards), you realize she’s right. She isn’t exactly a champion of chintz.

Take, for example, this recent update of a 1996 Jim Jennings marvel high atop San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill. Her elemental style works in tandem with the stark, iconic tower of concrete and glass. Her cues: the owner, an avid collector of both modern art and architecture across the world; and the building itself. “We wanted the house to remain as it was. Not to scream 1990s—but not to scream any other era, either.”

Hollis achieved this using raw materials.

“[The owner] wanted it to feel warmer without meddling with the original architecture, and that’s when we stepped in with the walnut.” Her firm enhanced the concrete, added Calcutta marble and contrasted the existing maple flooring with sleek cabinetry in warm, rosy walnut. Glossy Kartell stools take refuge beneath two-inch marble slabs at the kitchen island. A stainless Miele hood, selected for its thinner profile, and a flat, black Gaggenau stove and oven create a high-tech, less-is-more tableau that would make Dieter Rams proud. Other appliances are hidden to promote a clean, polished feel.

Ultimately, by standing by such a strong design vocabulary, Hollis remained true to the integrity of the building. “There’s a rigidity to it, but also quite an organic feel. I think the goal is to not look applied. It looks like it’s always been there.” nicolehollis.com.

Written by Alison Clare Steingold.
PHOTOS: Mark Adams.