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Beauty By the Bay

March 03, 2015 Filed under: The Buzz

In tandem with Signum Architecture, Hollis completed all the interiors for a new 30,000-square-foot complex at Hall Wines, in St. Helena, California. This included the renovation of the historic Peterson Bergfeld building at right, which was turned into an events space, and the creation of a new visitors' center, at left. Photo by Mark Adams

The San Francisco-based Nicole Hollis embraces indoor-outdoor California living, cutting-edge contemporary design and minimalist yet liveable elegance whether designing a city apartment or Napa Valley winery, a palatial Hawaiian spread or a hip Seattle hotel.

As a child growing up in the then-small town of Jupiter, Florida, designer Nicole Hollis had to search for creative inspiration beyond the berry farms that surrounded her home. “I lived in the pages of Vogue,” Hollis says. “I taped the pages to my wall and would dream of the far-off locations and photo shoot sets. Imagining the styling of the photos was part of the allure.”

She found an early muse in her mother’s friend — a Palm Beach socialite — who lived in a 1920s-era mansion along the Intracoastal Waterway. “Her home was impeccably designed. The wall coverings matched the curtains, which matched the bedspread,” Hollis says. “It was all chintz, but it was perfect.”

The San Francisco-based designer, who launched her eponymous firm, NICOLEHOLLIS, in 2002, doesn’t use much chintz in her projects these days. But her work evinces the same deliberate styling that she admired in that Palm Beach mansion — albeit in a more restrained, minimalist manner. Over the course of her career, which has included both residential and hospitality interior design projects, Hollis has carved out a niche by focusing on the indoor-outdoor California lifestyle, natural materials and rare, custom furnishings commissioned from artisans.

Case in point: For a recent project, a 4,400-square-foot home in Marin County, Hollis created a fresh space within a minimalist, glass-walled structure built by San Francisco-based Jensen Architects. She used white oak for built-in shelving, cabinetry and furnishings such as the master bed, and concrete flooring throughout the home, materials that look sleek yet will withstand the years of wear and tear its residents, a young family, will inevitably put on it. In the main living room, a cobalt-blue rope chair by Christian Astuguevieille holds court near an oversize coffee table created from recycled rubber tire treads by artisans in Morocco. “It’s really about sculpture meeting function,” Hollis says. “The effect is one of simultaneous ease and artfulness.”  continued...

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