Remodel Series

An Ethereal Contemporary Remodel in San Francisco

Our client, we will call her Sofia, is ready to spend more time exploring what life in San Francisco can offer her. To that end she is creating a pied-à-terre in Pacific Heights that may become a full-time home if things go that way.

The blank canvas is an attic unit in an over 100 year old Victorian. One could almost say it is “literally” a diamond in the rough -- a diamond since the ultra-low vaulted ceilings come together in intricate ways that are like the little cut facets on a diamond, and rough, since the last half-hearted update was done in 1984.

Sofia was inspired by the intricate light-filled condo and trusted her creative instinct that the unit could be spectacular when updated. To design the space she chose to hire the team at LOCZIdesign after interviewing a number of design firms, saying to Paige Loczi: “Your company was clearly the right fit for me and my project. You have a capable team to realize the more technical aspects of the project, but you're a small enough firm, that I feel very well taken care of."

When two amazing, complementary women meet, magic is bound to follow.

Paige Loczi is ebullient, fiery, so creatively enthusiastic at times that she unintentionally invents the most delightful words as she speaks; words that sound good, make sense, but are not in the dictionary. (How did all the words come to be in the first place?) Her creative style is a blend of intense thought, experimentation, and visualization, mixed with clear bursts of enthusiastic intuition. Out of her intuition emerge fully formed ideas and insights that marry symbolic, aesthetic, and practical needs.

Sofia is steady, even-tempered, understatedly daring. She surprises with her willingness to say yes to exciting ideas, just as much as she is gentle and truthful as she says no. Her taste as clear as it is kind. Together Sofia and Paige form a perfect counter point to one another, much like some of the aesthetic contrasts that are the fruits of their coming together: earth to sky, dark to light, modern to timelessly classical.

Having remodeled homes before, Sofia was experienced with the creative process and had collected a design scrapbook of pieces and ideas that inspired her. From those ideas, Paige developed a design direction that matched Sofia’s tastes for very clean modern elements alongside classical forms with post-modern twists. Sofia’s sense of color favors greys, blues and browns. The punch comes from the alluring, layered use of intricate patterns and textures.

To make the design truly reflect Sofia as a person, LOCZIdesign brought in Caroline Day for an Interior Mapping™ consultation for the project. Interior Mapping is like Feng Shui updated for contemporary life and post-modern sensibilities.

Using processes Caroline developed over years of helping people infuse meaning into their home designs, the LOCZIdesign team added conceptual and intentional layers to the design.

This was accomplished by interpreting and incorporating traditional and contemporary symbols, colors, and life-energy archetypes selected by Sofia.

For example, Sofia’s rankings of the symbols and their meanings informed choices on the shape and character of the custom square parquet wood floor and the bathroom tile patterns. For the furnishings the design team went with organically carved and flowing furniture pieces to balance the sharp triangles in the space.

It also shaped the design of a prominent room divider separating her new bathroom and bedroom. Instead of peaked shapes that would mimic the already abundant triangles in the architecture, the design team chose to contrast and balance those forms by adding grounding square forms.


Sofia’s bed and bath suite is a breathtaking sanctuary. Paige softened the room with a wall covering of interlocking circles in a contemporary sacred geometry pattern that harkens back to patterns found in old Cape Cod houses. The custom bed designed by LOCZIdesign’s Magnus Schevene brings dark, sensual lines into the design.

In the previously non-existent master bathroom, a stunning Bizazza mosaic tile shimmers with the sunlight of the skylight. The black lacquer and nickel Porcelanosa Piano vanity and black glass sconces continue the curvaceous counter-point, while the plumbing fixtures from Gessi bring in more of the contemporary New Design aesthetic that Sofia enjoys.

Sofia’s taste for ultra-clean and modern design is given its strongest expression in the custom kitchen. The recycled white glass counters are optically textured with layers of varying transparency. Supporting the glass are oiled walnut cabinets with doors finished in a rich grey lacquer. A wall in book-matched walnut veneer echoes the base cabinetry and flows into the kitchen from the stairs to Sofia’s condo. The wood warms the steep ascent to this haven in the sky.

Juxtaposed to the kitchen is the new hearth with built-ins. Mirroring the horizontal grained kitchen, this new cabinetry will ground the living room, extending the focal-point towards the stunning Bay view.

Throughout most of Sofia’s place the walls will be finished with a luxurious white high-gloss Venetian plaster by Level5. The low-angle reflectivity will play with the triangular space to create a subtle kaleidoscopic effect that will enhance the sense of being inside a gem.

The apartment has a tall, conical room inside a majestic Victorian turret, which has been playfully dubbed the “Magic Room." It will be a place to escape into rest, humanity, and whimsy. It has four tiny square windows, like portals, which look to the Golden Gate Bridge, just at sitting height.

In the Magic Room, Sofia and her guests can commune symbolically with the heavens by looking upward into the conically vaulted “star ceiling,” -- a constellation of Swarovski crystals lit by fiber optics. Suspended in the center of the Magic Room is an enchanting white Murano chandelier.

The sinuous Rick Lee Yin Yang sofa and ottoman in plush mushroom mohair provides fertile ground for solo meditation and moments shared with close friends. The ethereal contemporary flower print wall covering by Trove was selected to bring in symbolic blues and pinks that will make Sofia and her guests feel as though they are at once in the clouds and in a dreamy garden, surrounded by caressing flowers.

Sofia's project is about inventing a new place to support her continued exploration. Her place is a synthesis of the old and the new, about preserving and bringing along some of the past while heading surely into new life adventures.