2021 Design Awards: Designer’s Home, Nicole HollisAuthor:Lindsey Shook
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.
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.
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 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.
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