Tour a High-Powered Couple's Stylish SoMa Aerie

Interior designer Charles de Lisle brings curated style to a high-powered couple's high-in-the-sky SoMa condo.When a high-powered couple realized they needed more room in order to enjoy working from home together, designer Charles de Lisle cast the deciding vote on their new place, a condominium in SoMa’s Millennium Tower. A few years ago, de Lisle had designed the couple’s first apartment in another high-rise. “I think Charles was horrified—I had lived there for 10 years by myself, and all I did was buy a sofa, a dining table and a bed, because I was never there,” laughs the wife. The husband appreciated how de Lisle focused on getting to know who they were: “He understood how we really wanted the space to feel comfortable.” The wife concurs: “We wanted something that was beautiful but casual.”

For de Lisle, a San Francisco tastemaker whose urbane interiors have won him many fans, it was essential to first ground the space. “An all-white box floating in the sky can feel a little disconnected,” he says. To add texture, he lined the master bedroom walls in gray heathered tweed, selected a custom Savnik wool rug from Sloan Miyasato for the living area, and designed a chic white silk folding screen for the entry hall.

De Lisle also faced the challenge of composing the living room so it wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the expansive view. After trying several layouts, he hit upon the idea of connecting to the southern view with a sleek desk by the window, which also serves as a workspace. Made of bleached walnut reinforced with steel, the custom piece aligns perfectly with the window frame and echoes the planes of the neighboring high-rises.

Furnished with a mix of midcentury and contemporary pieces, the apartment has a low-key personality. Keeping in mind his clients’ wish for casual comfort, he created a custom sofa upholstered in a gray Kerry Joyce linen that serves as a quiet anchor rather than the star of the room. Meanwhile, curvaceous Italian midcentury chairs in green velvet and a Warren Platner glass-and-steel-wire coffee table add sculptural presence. The master bedroom features a McQueen bed by Matthew Hilton, upholstered in a Kvadrat navy blue wool, which made the move from the client’s previous apartment along with an antique Biedermeier cabinet, a family treasure.

Reflecting de Lisle’s expertise in lighting—he got his start designing lighting and seven of his pieces are in production—the fixtures in the space are strong and architectural. In addition to de Lisle’s own Oskar floor lamp, the home is illuminated by classics, including a Lampe Gras floor lamp, Achille Castiglioni’s Taccia table lamp and an Akari Noguchi paper floor lamp.

“It has been a really nice evolution, where the client gains trust in you and gives you more freedom to understand them and put together something that is more fitted to them,” says de Lisle. Says the wife: “I used to be happy to go to hotels with beautiful views, and now I’m happy to come home.”

A version of this article appeared in the September 2016 issue of SFC&G (San Francisco Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: A Light Touch.