San Francisco Top interior designer Steven Volpe conquers the design world with style, grace, and cosmopolitan elegance.
Steven Volpe was a pioneer of loft living in San Francisco—the first person to move into a 75-year-old converted General Electric warehouse in the emerging neighborhood known as SoMa, or South of Market. The building was one of the city’s first loft conversions, and he shocked every friend and clients with this acquisition.
Turn-of-the-century brick warehouses created a dramatic industrial landscape—with no fashion boutiques or style-conscious cafes in sight.
Volpe’s perfectly pitched sense of balance is evident in the dining area, where he has placed a walnut and steel Hedge Editions dining table surrounded by a set of eight 1930s Russian constructivist chairs, also from Hedge Editions. A 1950s pendant lamp in glass and brass is by Danish designer Alf Johannsen. Steven Volpe designed the bookcase after a Georgian model. The clay vessels are by English artist Paul Philp.
In this 1916 former printing factory, Steven Volpe has created a luxe refuge with a sofa and club chairs he designed for Hedge Editions, along with a quirky 1950s French concrete and steel cocktail table he found in Paris. The painting, ‘Landscape-Les Talons’, by Jef Verheyen, is from Axel Vervoordt, Antwerp. A 1950s rolling gueridon in brass and mahogany was from antiques dealer Louis Bofferding, New York.
Volpe’s fine-tuned sense of contrast is played out in the foyer, with a wood side chair by Robert Mallet-Stevens, left, and a quirky nineteenth-century American giltwood and leather side chair, from the collection of designer Anthony Hail. The heart redwood column, which soars eighteen feet, is original to the loft. The wall paint is Farrow & Ball’s ‘Pigeon’.
A large-scale photographic print by Richard Misrach, ‘Untitled 2003’, hangs above a modernist oak bench designed by Steven Volpe. The pair of Baktrian stone idols, dating from circa 2,000 BC, was acquired from Axel Vervoordt, Antwerp. The Regence chair in the foreground, which is upholstered in leather, has been a favorite of Volpe’s for more than twenty years. The white oak floor, which has 5-inch planks, was given a custom-designed dark stain by Tree Lovers Floors.
Volpe’s aim is to collect definitive 20th and 21st-century furniture and sculpture, and to let the play of contrasts highlight the artistry of each. John Dickinson’s seventies draped table was crafted from sheets of industrial metal finely perfected to simulate draped fabric. It’s finished with a brass trim. The chair is by Poillerat.
On his terrace, Steven Volpe has created a city garden with boxwood topiaries in tall tole planters, an antique limestone column fragment from Macee, rue du Faubourg-St.- Honore, Paris. Indoors is the Oh Void chair in carbon fiber, in a signed and numbered edition, by British designer Ron Arad.
In a corner of the living room, Volpe collected an opaline glass and gilt bronze console table by Marc du Plantier. The brass table lamp is by Maison Jansen.
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