A Northern California Loft Gets a Sophisticated Update

The loft was located in an old ironworks in Oakland and had an industrial feel. The loft was located in an old ironworks in Oakland. It had a heavy-handed industrial vibe. She said that the loft is large and symmetrical and not one of those conversions that had over-designed angles and mezzanines. “It’s just a big, open square with steel-framed windows and concrete pillars throughout.”ImageMartha Hill, a real estate agent born and raised in Oakland, Calif., bought and renovated a loft there.Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York TimesMs. Hill loved the simplicity of the loft and considered it her perfect home. Hill knew from her professional experience that the loft would sell quickly so she decided to move. She said that she gave the seller enough to be certain he wouldn’t get more from the competitors. She closed on the property in August after a successful strategy. ImageMs. Hill was attracted to the simplicity of the loft and sought to bring a little elegance to its industrial shell.Credit…Christopher Stark”You could almost imagine a coffee maker made out of bike gadgets in there — they had really gone for the industrial,” Ms. Hill said. She wanted to preserve the rugged shell of the space, but “make it very sophisticated.”Specifically, she hoped the interior would feel as calm and inviting as the lobbies of upscale hotels she had visited in nearby Sonoma County. She stated that she wanted the interior to feel like a spa and she could enjoy it every day. She covered the wood flooring with thin strips of white oak boards 12 inches wide. Next, Lane McNab, a San Francisco-based designer, helped her realize her larger vision. Lane McNab’s work was something she had seen at a friend’s house. Ms. Hill stated that she didn’t want to fall for the trap of having ideas in every room. “And I had seen Lane’s work, and how easily and softly she captured one idea and could flow it through space.”ImageFor the living area, Ms. McNab designed a large U-shaped sectional sofa and added Monument side tables from her furniture collection.Credit…Christopher StarkAfter meeting with Ms. Hill, Ms. McNab knew exactly what to do. Ms. McNab designed a large U-shaped sectional sofa for the living area. She also added Monument side tables from her furniture collection. She removed a drywall partition which separated the sleeping and dining areas, and installed an antique folding screen. Ms. Hill has the option to add a steel-and glass partition in the future. A bank of bleached walnut cabinets runs along the length of the living and dining areas, ending at the windows. The cabinet doors in the dining room have an asymmetrical arrangement with pulls that resemble abstract butterflies. They were sculpted by Ms. McNab in clay and then cast in bronze. The unit is surrounded by custom-designed U-shaped couches and opens shelves in the living area. She installed cable-based lighting above the unit. This adds light without requiring additional conduit on the ceiling. Credit: Christopher Stark. The kitchen was also renovated by Lisa Cannelora of Cucina, a kitchen design company based in Alameda. She improved the space flow and added a larger island with a Neolith counter that is illuminated with pendant lamps from Allied Maker. The space flows into an open office near the windows. They painted the red structural members black to make them less noticeable. Hill moved into the loft in January 2020 after the floors had been replaced and the kitchen was built. She remained there for the entire construction process. Hill waited until this year before renovating the bathroom. This cost her about $180,000. It’s what you want to do when you aren’t too busy wine tasting, biking or shopping. It’s my sanctuary.” Sign up here to receive weekly email updates about residential real estate news. Follow us on Twitter at @nytrealestate