Project Sheet: Urban Respite

In a San Franciscan home nestled in the city’s signature bustle, we find old architectural bones in a Mexican-inspired hideaway. Words by Rose of Sharon Leake.

“To date, this has been the most art-intensive project for us,” says Brit Epperson, architect, interior designer and founder of Studio Plow, San Francisco. “The collaborations we developed with artists and artisans were key to the success of the project.”

The project in question is a home nestled amidst a vibrant hub of restaurants and boutiques in the windy city of San Francisco, and it pays homage to both its location and the locals that make it what it is. Across three floors, Epperson aimed to utilise many of the existing bones of the 1920s building while reworking and modernising elements to align with the homeowners’ tastes and personal histories.

“With roots in Mexico, our client had a strong cultural connection to many of the pieces featured throughout the residence,” says Epperson. “Additionally, as a fashion enthusiast and art lover, her fashion-forward perspective was a key inspiration behind our selection of pieces. The art pieces and furniture that were selected had to have a story related to the homeowners. For instance, downstairs in the playroom, the raw cotton threaded tapestry [by Caralarga] was made in Queretaro, Mexico, close to our client’s childhood home.” 

Art made of natural materials such as textiles, clay and wood are a major feature throughout the home, blending that fine line of craft and art in surprising and sophisticated ways. Textile pieces by Mexican artist Alexis Mata and Japan-born, New York-based Hiroko Takeda feature in the collection alongside a custom ceramic by Christina Watka and a stone and glass pendant light by Mexico-based David Pompa.

Elsewhere, an oil on canvas by Vonn Cummings Sumner peers over a marble table designed by Mermelada Estudio for CB2, and a cascading metal-chain floor lamp by Franz West rests beside low-lying vintage Togo chocolate chairs. All on a custom wine-coloured Armadillo rug.

Conversations like these – between traditional and contemporary aesthetics and practices – give this home a unique feel, aided by art and design choices that are beautifully considered. “The architectural finishes play within a monochromatic world,” says Epperson. “To balance that and to focus on the things that you can physically touch within the space, there are the earthy, warm tones like mauve and burgundy. These elements warm up and soften the space, but they exist within a very clean and timeless architectural shell.

“We focused on natural materials that promoted a healthy yet simultaneously luxurious environment – resilient materials such as wool rugs, marble and solid wood surfaces, as well as recycled fabrics. It was important that nothing felt too precious, and to strike this balance we intentionally blended high-end artisan-crafted pieces with well-designed mass-market-type pieces. We also sourced a selection of vintage pieces, such as the velvet Togo chairs in the drawing room, to bring a sense of lived-in cosiness to the space.” 

There is a clear intention within this house that it should feel like a home, a respite within the bustle of urban life, with daily rituals of life underpinning its character. Whether it be drinking a morning coffee from a ceramic mug or deciding what clothes to wear in the morning, the materials found within this home are an extension of its inhabitants. They have a strong history, but they are looking forward, growing within their surroundings.

Above: An oil on canvas by Vonn Cummings Sumner sets the mood for this dining room, where we find a now discontinued marble table by Mermelada Estudio, a Bocci 87 Series light fixture and Kashmir chairs by Resident. Photos: Nicole Franzen. Interior design and styling: Studio Plow. Courtesy: Studio Plow.

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