A sculptural corkscrew of gleaming glass, the 40-story Mira tower strikes a bold pose in the San Francisco skyline. Inside, residences break away from the typical white-box mold of high-rise condominiums with L-shaped layouts zigzagging around breathtaking views of the Bay Bridge. This intersection of steel and sky captured the imagination of Nick Caldwell and his late wife, Tia. Building their life and careers together in the city as industry-leading software engineers and philanthropists, they wanted to claim their own slice of the horizon.
Merging their tastes into a cohesive abode, however, proved a different story. “If Nick had total control of the space, it would definitely look like a rock ‘n’ roll nightclub, but Tia wanted something much more feminine, like a chic hotel lined in pastels and gold,” says Noz Nozawa, whom the couple recruited to marry their perspectives. The interior designer lives for projects that interweave different personas into architecturally unique spaces. “I love taking what our clients want to manifest in their homes and translating that while also nudging interior aesthetic principles along, challenging notions of right angles and symmetry,” she adds.
To establish stylistic harmony, Nozawa first turned to the panoramic vistas, taking inspiration from the undulating islands dotting the bay. “We thought about how we could tie the landscape’s natural contours to the home’s linear, angular forms,” she explains. “That’s why so much of what we brought to this space feels curvy, lumpy and organic.”
Softening the dwelling’s sharp outlines began with reimagining the surrounding walls. Nozawa collaborated with decorative artist Caroline Lizarraga to paint gold currents crackling through velvety Venetian plaster. The finish subtly shifts in mood, beginning with the entrance hallway’s delicate veins of molten gold and taking on an edgier quality farther inside with an embossed crocodile plaster peeking through the pattern. The texture feels akin to luxurious leather, from snowy Hermès Himalaya white in the main living area to boot black in the powder room. “We wanted it to look like pockets of the wall are falling off, revealing something wild breaking through,” the designer says.
In turn, furnishings follow the walls’ sinuous lines, as “it was important to stay strict in the silhouette language across the shared spaces,” Nozawa notes. “Everything has tapered curves and big radiuses.” Bold forms include a bulbous serpentine sectional curled into a niche by the corner window; amoeba-shaped area rugs that create pools of pattern and texture on the floor; and a dining table held aloft by what appears to be metallic boulders.
To anchor the main gathering areas, Nozawa selected light fixtures with a sense of movement that “serve the geometry of each space,” she explains. For instance, the kitchen fixture is a rope of undulating light that emphasizes the elongated island, while the pendant hanging in the living room coils into a gilded spiral that draws attention to the cozy space.
In the common areas, materials are key in coupling a soft glamour aesthetic with a moody lounge atmosphere, but style independence reigns in the individual home offices. Think zebra-print wallpaper and an asymmetrical display case (complete with rare sneakers and Star Wars memorabilia) for Nick, and a dreamy pastel ombre mural wallpaper, patterned floor covering and glass chandelier in Tia’s space.
For the primary bedroom, the vision was to create a retreat. “The desire was for it to feel like sleeping in a luxurious hotel suite every single night,” Nozawa says. She built the room around a tufted headboard, wrapping the space in a golden taupe wallcovering that matches the upholstery’s hue. Brass accents and layers of velvety pillows and blankets further underscore the room’s eternal vacation mood and provide a perfect spot for lounging in on lazy mornings, taking time to enjoy the view.
Molded into new dynamic contours, the dwelling now feels fully composed and is an intimate retreat in the sky. In the end, the space is a testament to design that merges seemingly divergent perspectives—the beauty of meeting every straight line with an eloquent curve.