2021 Design Awards: Designer’s Home, Nicole Hollis

Kour Pour’s Triple Samurai (Kuniyoshi) block print triptych hangs above a wood hallway table by Arno Declercq. Photos by Douglas Friedman.

Interior Designer Nicole Hollis’ San Francisco home is a study in contrasts. For starters, it blends her modern aesthetic with the minimalist approach preferred by her husband, Lewis Heathcote, the CEO of her eponymous firm. Their practical needs, along with those of their two children, also had to be incorporated into the 1905 Italianate-Victorian—one with a noteworthy pedigree: Prolific and pioneering architect Julia Morgan lived here for several years. “We wanted to refresh the space to support our young family while maintaining and paying homage to the home’s rich history,” says Hollis.

The dining area is outfitted with a table and custom bench by Paul Loebach for Matter Made, Jean Prouvé chairs and a Michael Anastassiades chandelier; the art is by Chris Duncan and Zio Ziegler (left and right). Photos by Douglas Friedman.
Photos by Douglas Friedman.

A three-year renovation yielded a 3,850-square- foot residence that is at once cozy and expansive. Some areas were opened up; for example, to create a kitchen/great room/dining space that better suits its occupants’ lifestyle than the previously compartmentalized rooms. Hollis and Heathcote were keen to restore many of the home’s original details, though, including the carved doors and moldings that characterized Morgan’s schemes. A new master suite was created in the rear of the house, on the newly excavated lower level, with perks such as a private terrace and access to the garden.

The media room is furnished with Flexform seating and an Ilse Crawford side table; Gospel Song by Serge Attukwei Clottey surmounts the fireplace. Photos by Douglas Friedman.

s meticulous as Hollis’ plan was, there were unforeseen challenges, which in at least one instance proved a happy accident. “The flooring material for the primary bath was received in the wrong size, so the design had to be completely re-thought,” she recalls. “We changed to a chevron pattern to accommodate the shorter boards. The result turned out beautifully while still showcasing the unique reclaimed oak.”

The walls and Floor of a bathroom, illuminated by a sconce from the Urban Electric Co., are lined with Clé tiles—a 2-by-2-inch zellige and a Belgian reproduction star-and-cross motif, respectively. Photos by Douglas Friedman.

The interiors’ subdued palette—absent of splashy prints, while most of the walls are white—lets the art stand out. “The artwork throughout was collected slowly through friends and artists, with a focus on modern art by Black artists,” says Hollis, who credits gallerist Jessica Silverman for finding a stunning Isaac Julien triptych, Baltimore Series, for the home.

The walnut headboard and flanking side tables are by Ido Yoshimoto; the main bedroom also includes Puffball lamps by Faye Toogood and David Wiseman’s Owl on Branch sculpture. Photos by Douglas Friedman.
When the flooring for the main bathroom arrived in a smaller size than planned, Hollis decided to arrange the planks in a chevron pattern; the space features an Agape tub and a Jason Leggiere painting. Photos of Douglas Friedman.

Artisan elements abound, too. In a bathroom, Hollis lined the walls with handmade zellige tiles from Clé that lend texture and dimension. The main bedroom features a headboard fabricated from walnut slabs and a pair of side tables that were formerly chunks of walnut, all by Ido Yoshimoto. (Interesting side note: Yoshimoto works out of the late Sculptor J.B. Blunk’s studio in nearby Marin County.) During the pandemic, the remodeled dwelling has served the Hollis-Heathcote household well. Take the small home gym, which has provided a tranquil spot for fitness, yoga and meditation. (Hollis predicts that there will be an uptick in client requests for gyms.) “With two parents working from home, plus two children attending virtual school, the layout of the home has been ideal,” observes Hollis. “We have compartmentalized spaces where we can hide away, take calls or take a moment to ourselves. The airy open kitchen, dining room and living room allow us to come together and appreciate family time away from our screens.” – Anh-Minh Le