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 Wyoming and New York.

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, 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 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.

Mary Sheffield


Project Manager

Mary Sheffield joined KPa+d in 2017 after a career path which took her from architecture into real estate development and sales, then back to architecture.

In Mary’s previous life in her native Colombia she ran her own design-build practice, an experience which gave her tremendous insight into the design and construction process and is serving her clients well in her work at KPa+d. She has proven to be a versatile designer and project manager in complex single-family residential renovations as well the remodeling of a 6-story San Francisco office building and various institutional projects.

Mary holds a BA in Architecture and Urban Planning from Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Medellín, Colombia. 

In addition to her strength as a designer, Mary is committed to listening to clients to understand their needs and wishes. She believes a home is a symbol of the spirit of its inhabitants. When not busy at work, Mary relaxes by drawing. Her beautiful sketches of nature and the built environment could easily fill a few books. She loves to travel with her husband, always bringing home design ideas and even flavors to experiment with in the kitchen.



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).