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Above It All

In a South of Market penthouse, Bay Area interior designer David Oldroyd sculpts ultra-refined decor with a cosmopolitan air.

From the 60th floor of a luxury high-rise in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, the distant Farallon Islands seem close enough to spot their resident rare birds through good binoculars. On a clear day it might even be possible to zoom in on the Carneros vineyard where your favorite wine is produced. But it’s the penthouse’s sunny and animated vista to the east and south, with tankers bobbing in the bay and planes aloft over SFO, that captured interior designer David Oldroyd’s clients’ attention.

“When the family first entered and saw the wide-open raw space, they requested that the interiors should not distract from the endless panorama,” says Oldroyd, director of design firm ODADA.

With unfettered eyelines as his brief, Oldroyd set out to create a complementary custom-detailed tableau that would look entirely effortless, embracing a color palette that hovers between cloud white, foggy pale taupe and palest sky blue for an effect that is lighter than air.

There’s a sense of quiet luxury, with a triangular bleached pommele sapele gallery wall, sculptural and monolithic, at the entrance; an ethereal gold-painted verre églomisé screen separating a bedroom and a bathroom; and silk carpets composed of abstract swirls shimmering in the afternoon light.

Oldroyd selected curving dining chairs to animate the angularity of the space, and obsessed over the jigsaw-puzzle shapes of the limestone flooring, seeking out trapezoidal custom-crafted bronze door pulls to mimic the floor plan.

“It’s the ultimate pied-à-terre,” he says with satisfaction, before diplomatically pointing out that selling points abound outside too: “The family can enjoy the cultural riches of the city and catch up on the newest restaurants—and the ballet is 10 minutes away.”

By Diane Dorrans Saeks. 
Photographed by Matthew Millman.

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