Karin Payson


AIA, LEED AP Principal

Karin Payson is the principal architect of Karin Payson Architecture + Design (KPa+d), a design-oriented, San Francisco-based firm with projects completed throughout Northern California as well as New York’s Hudson Valley and Wyoming.

At KPa+d, Karin has been engaged as an architect and interior designer in a wide variety of new buildings and substantial renovation projects for homeowners, public libraries, and various commercial and institutional clients. She brings a rich set of skills and interests to her work. Drawing, weaving, clothing design and fabrication as well as frequent travel in search of fresh experiences are essential to her practice as an architect and inform her continuing study of the characteristics of natural light and materials.

Before founding KPa+d in 1992, Karin’s professional experience included several years in the New York office of Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates where, as a Project Architect, her work focused on the planning, programming and design of large-scale commercial buildings and adaptive re-use of historically significant buildings.

Karin holds degrees from Columbia University and UC Berkeley and is a licensed architect in California and New York. Her work has appeared in several exhibitions and publications, including Marin Magazine; California Homes; Science & Spirit; Architectural Digest; San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Magazine; Sunset Magazine; The Sacramento Bee; The San Francisco Examiner Sunday Magazine; and The New York Times.



Studio Director, Project Manager

Vivian Dwyer has practiced architecture for more than 35 years. Her diverse body of
work includes high end custom family homes, commercial spaces, healthcare, and
affordable housing. Vivian joined KPa+d in 2023 as Studio Director and Project
Manager. Vivian’s broad experience enables her to see the big picture, helping clients
make appropriate choices while leading more junior team members toward growth.

Vivian’s career has brought opportunities to work in New York City, Paris, Dubai,
Michigan, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and many jurisdictions in Northern CA. She is
passionate about her work, and is as likely to dive deep into complex zoning laws as
she is to design custom, thoughtful details for projects of any size and budget.

She has served as Chair of the AIA Public Policy and Advocacy Knowledge Committee
and continues to actively volunteer with this group. Living in Northern California satiates
her desire for living a healthy sporty lifestyle outdoors, cycling on any one of her three
bikes, running in the park, or getting lost in painting watercolor landscapes.

Mary Sheffield


Project Manager

Mary is an accomplished architect and urban planner originally from Colombia, where she graduated from one of the top architectural schools in the country. Her passion for design and urban spaces led her to specialize in single-family home design, where she honed her skills
in creating functional and aesthetically pleasing living environments.

In pursuit of new challenges and opportunities, she relocated to California, where she has since made a significant impact on the architectural scene. With a diverse portfolio ranging from residential to commercial projects, Mary thrives on pushing boundaries and exploring
innovative design solutions.

Known for her hands-on approach, Mary is frequently found on job sites, where she excels at problem-solving on the spot, ensuring that projects are executed flawlessly. Her ability to adapt to various architectural styles and requirements has earned her a reputation for versatility and
excellence in her field.

Beyond architecture, Mary is a multifaceted individual with a love for the arts. In her free time, she enjoys expressing herself through drawing, playing guitar, and dancing, finding inspiration and creativity in every aspect of her life.



Architectural Designer

Julio is a Salvadoran architectural designer. He completed his master’s degree in Valencia, Spain, where he had the opportunity to travel through Europe and learn from renowned architecture studios like Alvaro Siza, Aires Mateus, and Fran Silvestre.

In addition to his technical skills, he demonstrates a keen eye for detail and an understanding of spatial design principles, allowing him to conceptualize architectural projects.

Outside of his professional pursuits, Julio is an avid enthusiast of architectural photography, a passionate traveler, and an explorer of urban jungles. He also likes to immerse himself in the melodies of indie rock




A graduate of Northeastern University’s M.Arch program, Katelyn is thrilled to be back in her native California pursuing a career in architectural design. Katelyn joined the tight knit team at KPa+d at the start of 2024 after pursuing a gap year in Madrid, Spain to explore her passion of learning Spanish.

Throughout her professional and academic career, Katelyn has applied her design thinking in numerous contexts, including California, Louisiana, Boston, New York, and Abu Dhabi. Katelyn completed two professional co-op experiences during her undergraduate degree in Boston, which prompted her interest in working on historic buildings and adaptive reuse projects.

Sustainability and environmentally responsive design have always been at the forefront of Katelyn’s design methodology. She is motivated by the urgency of the climate crisis to design energy efficient, healthy buildings that enhance, not detract from, the urban environment. As a LEED Green Associate, Katelyn hopes to build upon her deep understanding of sustainable design principles and energy efficient buildings.

Katelyn’s creative nature expands beyond the bounds of architecture, as she loves to prepare elaborate dishes to share with friends or pick up a new craft like collage, macrame, or painting.



Chief Morale Officer

Quin, a native New Yorker with roots in the Hudson Valley, joined KPa+d as an apprentice in Human Relations early in 2018. There, she quickly became skilled at the art of listening and collaborative communication with staff (with or without treats). And her unfailing knack for signaling the end of a workday – without smartphone or timepiece – did not escape the notice of her employer. Quin’s curiosity and nose for intuitive intervention in the workplace finally earned her the coveted post of Chief Morale Officer in August 2019. Her promotion was greeted with smiles (ours) and wags (hers).