Celebrity Interior Designers Imbue One of San Francisco’s Most Sought-after Penthouses With Cosmopolitan Flair

Penthouse in the sky

What is it like to sip your morning cappuccino 700 feet above San Francisco? The future owner of the Grand Penthouse at 181 Fremont in San Francisco (the stunning LEED Platinum mixed-use skyscraper created by Heller Manus Architects) will know. Each room of the full-floor penthouse showcases jaw-dropping 360-degree views of San Francisco from the Bay Bridge to the Golden Gate, and on clear days all the way to the Farallon Islands.

Los Angeles-based interior designer Mary Ta and her architect husband Lars Hypko of the award-winning firm MASS Beverly (whose client roster includes Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Elon Musk, and Calvin Klein, just to name a few) were enlisted by the Jay Paul Company to lend their sophisticated design sensibility to the Grand Penthouse.

The pair relates that their immediate design challenge, “was creating a high-rise environment that feels indoor/outdoor,” recalls Hypko. Ta points out that the first course of action was to “embrace the magnificent views by bringing in the exterior colors and light.” To that end, they added a book-matched marble through-view fireplace and Rimadesio sliding glass walls to enhance the flow. The design team also sought to unite smaller rooms to larger spaces by adding materials of reflectivity, including smoked glass, Swarovksi crystal, and Henge light fixtures.

“Our vision for this project was to reflect modern San Francisco,” notes Hypko. “We mixed traditional hues with high-tech pieces throughout.” Case in point, many of the walls in the Grand Penthouse feature a classic Venetian plaster, and floors are wrought in clear rift walnut in a European “Marie Antoinette” parquet with blonde fumé border. Meanwhile, the furnishings are cutting-edge, modern designs.

Throughout the penthouse they employed a number of softly curved walls, “to break up the building’s modern angles,” says Hypko. Floating elements also add a light and airy feeling to the overall design, such as the “Horizontal Starlight” light fixtures by Henge over the island in the exhibition kitchen. Also in the kitchen, Rossana cabinets are punctuated with Gaggenau appliances, double ovens, wine tower, grill, and Teppanyaki station, while a catering kitchen includes Valcucine walnut cabinets, double ovens by Miele, a dishwasher, and cooktop.

In the elegant study, Ta and Hypko opted for a rich palette, adding cigar suede “director’s” chairs and a desk from Bottega Veneta with a Murano lamp, while in the master suite (complete with double master baths and walk-in closets) they incorporated an Armani feature wall, Minotti bed and nightstands, and a spectacular chandelier by Verpan.

When asked about their favorite aspects of the finished penthouse, Ta cites, “There are so many, but I especially love the curbed ‘Seymour’ sofas by Minotti in Alvar Bianco in the living room and the massive custom dining table by Henge. Perfectly suited for entertaining on a grand scale.” Hypko’s selection too leans toward entertaining: “The wine cellar and custom wine tasting bar with suspended Calacatta marble wine tasting counter is wonderful.”

Like that cappuccino, imagine sipping a prized vintage here above the lights of the city.


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