pacific heights part deux

birds eye view

It’s always a treat to return to a house and start the second phase of a project you designed a master plan for. In this case I worked on an interior to-the-studs remodel of this house back in 2009 – see it here in our portfolio and here on the blog as it was ripped apart. This was a fun collaboration with Ian Stallings Design. Above you see an aerial view of the house as it was recently, with a low pitched roof and attic above the main living space. I was thrilled when the new owners contacted me and expressed that they now want to add the top floor.proposed rendering

We worked off the old plans and made some modifications for the new owners. See renderings of the proposed top floor addition – an elegant, flat roof structure with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, office space and large outdoor decks that will tie right in with the existing house. The front deck is largest since here in SF you’re encouraged to set back top additions so they’re not competing with the original facade… like it or not!  Below is a view of the rear of the house, with the new intimate master bedroom deck overlooking the existing courtyard space below.

rendering

roof removal

We’re working with Cook Construction for this project – a team we’re very happy with. The demolition of the old roof, its 5 layers of asphalt shingles plus original wood shingles, went pretty swiftly. Above, looking toward the front of the house, below, the rear. old attic

redwood framing

A view from within the front part of the attic looking back – you can see all the recessed lighting, wiring, and ducting from the 2009 project.

top floor addition

Just a short time later, the new floor level was framed in. pacific heights

At the very front of the house, you see the old boards of the cornice / parapet. The views open up in this direction.

framing

Above left – the opening for the new staircase. On the right, the only part of the new roof that is sloped is over the master closet, a result of negotiating with neighbors who were concerned by potential impacts to light. They’ve since moved away. front facade

A little over a week later, the top floor has been mostly framed and plywood is up. This is the front wall. master bedroom

Above is the wall of doors and windows from the master bedroom. new view

Lastly, the beautiful view from the office / hallway area, between two adjacent buildings to the hills beyond. Stay tuned – this one’s moving fast!

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bridge to somewhere

STEEL BEAM

I thought I’d start with this image although taken some time ago, is a little indicative of my daily work experience. i.e. balancing my workload high above everyone’s heads with imminent danger (drama) looming, sometimes in my sperry top-siders and members-only jacket, but usually in plaid. It takes stains better. yuk yuk yuk We’re on one of two steel c-channels that form the ‘bridge’ in this house. RECLAIMED REDWOOD

A few weeks later it looked like this once all the sheetrock was in place, looking toward the back of the house. We’re all really excited about this element / focal point of the home, and as mentioned in an earlier post we reused attic redwood framing to make the walkway of the bridge.SHAKER STYLE KITCHEN

A view looking in the opposite direction at the kitchen, some cabinetry installed, and the front door off to the left. At the right side of the kitchen is the light shaft with a skylight at the top, and will have a glass panel to close it off but let light through. STAIRCASE

Here’s a look at the main stair that connects all 3 levels. After we shifted the rooms around the old walnut floor border had to be redone to make sense in the new spaces.

STEEL RAILING

The lower stair was at first enclosed below but we decided to open up the triangle of space to let some light through as you walk down that lower run. The steel railing is in place in the photo but the wood hand grip isn’t in yet.

VICTORIAN TRIM

On the left I’m holding up old wood casing against two windows that meet in the corner…clearly we couldn’t use this 6″ wide trim – we went with a flat stock. On the right is a steel post, part of a moment frame at the front of the building that we left exposed right next to the original wood window trim. We like the contrast!  I was thrilled that these clients were as excited as I was to leave the unfinished steel exposed. I’ve tried to work this into a few projects but it’s often been covered up. Who doesn’t want a hulking steel beam in their house to brag about?BARN LIGHT

Fast forward a few weeks, this is a view looking up at the bridge and loft, with a nice round barn light in the foreground.

BRIDGE

Here’s a view looking out along the bridge once the owners have moved in. The guard rails were custom-built by a local fabricator, with 1/4″ x 1/4″ solid square pickets. The pendant lights along the bridge hallway were powered off to one side, so we wouldn’t have to run wiring through the center ridge beam. The lights are just swagged over and hung off the beam by a hook.

DINING TABLE

And a view looking over the edge past a barn light down to the dining table.  Below is a partial exterior view; nothing much changed at this facade since it is ‘potentially historic’. The one change we did manage to sneak in was to replace a missing wood ‘flower’ ornament that the owner noticed upon moving in! See in the red circle – it’s back in place! I encouraged the owners to go with a monochrome paint color; originally tried to get them to do black or dark grey but I’m happy with the sugar-cube look as well. Stay tuned, portfolio shots coming soon!  WHITE PAINTED HOUSE

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DWELL MAGAZINE

MCELROYARCH

WE’RE IN DWELL! I was flipping through the pages of the latest issue only to see a photo I submitted of our office via Instagram… Yep, our rinky-dink little office storefront with the turned-sideways door numbers here among the sexy modern lines of international designs … it’s in the “Your Rooms We Lovespecial issue. That means even if you already subscribe to the magazine, you won’t receive this – so you all have to run out and buy it. Once I was able to actually turn my new favorite page, looking further through I spotted a photo I submitted of my friend’s front door entry near Ocean Beach.

FRANCES HOUSE

Wow, 2-for-1 publishing / free promo! This will lead to great things……It certainly doesn’t count as my big publication in Dwell, which will happen sometime in the future…stay tuned. After all, this isn’t technically one of our projects, though we did ‘design’ the storefront display and door numbers.

Now for some gratitude:

Thank you to the person who kicked in the glass of our office front door last year and tried to break in. (they didn’t make it inside) If not for their mischief, we never would have boarded up the door, painted it black, and added the oversize, rotated numbers on it. The perfect silver lining!

Thanks to Randy for collaborating on the storefront tools.

Thanks to FJ for painting her entry alcove an obnoxious lime green that I love (keep saying No to the person who wants to change it!) I believe I encouraged this color so I’ll take some credit – and I still think you should paint the front door lime as well. Colorblocking is all the rage.

Thanks Dwell! You can publish more of me anytime!

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glen park house

glen park house

I first met this awkward little Glen Park house a few years ago, when the owners brought me in to design a large addition. Things went on hold for a while but last year we picked up where we’d left off.  By then the program increased and it became a truly to-the-studs project.  It’s in the early stages but we’ve got some great things in store for this house. rear  The house had been added onto and reconfigured several times over the years. It needed help: once inside the front door you walked directly into the dining room table; the top floor was composed of 2 pinched bedrooms; and the first floor was barely 7′ tall. interiorBeing that the house sat against a steep hill, it was a vertical 3 stories + basement at the front and 2 at the rear. It would benefit from excavation to capture additional space within the hillside, so the first step was to start digging.. excavationThe original garage was a narrow bunker; the new garage level would become full-width. As the layers of house were peeled away, evidence of cheap fixes were found, seen below: no longer need a door? don’t bother to remove it, just enclose it in the wall. have an extra crate lying around? use it for wall framing. ran out of plywood subfloor? cardboard is just as good. old doorold flooring interior demoThe house will expand in all directions, up, sideways, backward, down. At the front, the existing 21+ steps to the front door will be cut in half, by entering at the lower level. Less of a climb with groceries, et!  exterior stairsAs we dug down and removed a small rear room, the house showed its true colors.  IMG_2504Soon after, concrete was poured in the area of the rear addition. IMG_2972It will be nice to be able to walk out of sliding doors to the existing rear garden. IMG_2371Sunlight streams in from the south-facing arch window one last time, now already removed after this photo was taken. It’s a view and precious light worth capturing, and we’ll be doing that with a larger bank of windows as we proceed through this remodel.  Stay tuned, more to come!

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noe valley victorian bridge

roof framing

Once the 2×4 flimsy roof was ripped off, the new roof was framed back up pretty quickly. The top floor will have new rooms so we needed to take advantage of dormer space, and as much height as possible.  The view above is looking toward the street. old shingles

On the right is a close-up of the layers of shingles, starting with the original cedar shakes from late 1800s and a series of asphalt shingles right on top.  Note there is no waterproofing in the old roofing system! On the left is an old coffee coffee can that was found during demolition.

dormer framing

Here is a view looking toward the back of the house; the roof is a tricky series of angles and shapes. At the very back is the square ‘box’ addition from sometime in the ’80s or ’90s.

remodel

A view from the inside of the new bedroom at the former attic level. It’s a double-ridge dormer. The neighbor’s house is just outside – tight urban living! new dormerFrom the street you barely notice the dormers. There’s my Volvo out front :) dormerThe same view a few weeks later after the plywood sheathing has been installed on walls and roof. triangle windowAnother few weeks and the windows are installed – this is the corner facing the street and Twin Peaks beyond, so we thought it important to have a window along the slope where the dormer meets the roof. Uncommon, but I was able to dig some examples up online. footbridgeThe ‘great room’ will occupy the area at the back of the house on the middle level. There I am crouched on the old attic 2×4 framing, which we repurposed as a bridge walkway to connect the areas of the new top floor.  The photo below was taken sometime between the two photos above, once the attic floor was taken out but before the bridge steel was installed. steel framingI am SO excited to have this steel exposed in the house; it will be a nice mix of Victorian and modern together, and tell a story of the old framing that was reused to build it.  bridge walkwayA view below the bridge toward the rear wall.  bridge sketchA sketch when we were figuring out how the bridge would meet the floor on each side, which were at different heights! lincrustaAbove is a detail of the existing lincrusta wall covering featuring birds (Swallows?) original to the house. Most of it was removed but will be replaced.  Next to that is the rectangle of a closed window found behind the refrigerator. Much of the work at the upper two levels happened while the new concrete footing was being poured around the perimeter of the house at the ground level. Groundwater was discovered during excavation which set the progress at the ground floor back a few weeks.

More to come!

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los gatos ranch house

kidney shaped poolHere’s a familiar California scene, a sprawling ranch house with a pool inserted into the middle right outside the patio doors. (love the kidney-shape!) The house was originally a L-shape, with the garage on the right, and in the 1960s the center was infilled with a glassy “Likeler” addition. (like, but not, an Eichler).  Taking a cue from the board & batten siding, and the potential for vaulted ceilings, the proposed project will transform it from tired rancho to bright, modern with a farmhouse overtone. eichlerA view inside the infill addition above, with deep wood beams below a tongue & groove ceiling. The roof / ceiling is sloped just slightly that the doors at the exterior wall are limited in height.  Below, a stone-floor ‘old west’ bar and fireplace – perfect to order a flaming drink!  Accordian doors separated the rooms…country decorBelow is a view at the rear of the old garage. It had been converted to living space, and we’re opening it up to create a family / play room with lots of windows and doors. We removed the low, rearmost portion that would barely allow for new doors. The entire roof had to be reframed since it will be vaulted in its new life. The bottom photo shows openings for (3) sets of french doors. garage conversionWhen I first visited, I appreciated the asymmetrical view of this roofline in front of the pool. It reminded me of another asymmetrical ‘old west’ house from my distant memory – Little House on the Prairielittle house on the prairieOK maybe a little bit of a stretch. In the middle photo above you can see the new bank of windows, and doors around the side. (too many for windows for a prairie winter…I’ll stop now) From the inside, below:concrete floor

The owners decided on polishing the existing concrete floors that were buried below old carpet and flooring tiles, in this room and the main Likeler room. I love it. Other attached spaces (kitchen and dining area) will have stone or tile to match the concrete closely.  A closeup of the concrete below: polished concrete floor

sliding doorsThe view above is the beamed ceiling after it had been lifted, to create a flat plane. The Jenga-type blocks are temporary :) until the new posts were inserted. The new doors will be (3) pairs of french doors that fit up in between the beams, with no upper transom windows. We considered a full-wall multi-panel slider or bi-fold, but those would require a steel beam header, below the wood beams, that would minimize the overall door height.  It was a challenge but we decided the tallest possible french door with 2×2 divisions would be appropriate throughout the house. new kitchen

Around the corner from the tall french doors is the kitchen with window-wall breakfast nook, mimicking the one in the play room. This area seen from the outside, below: kitchen windowsStay tuned, more to come!

 

 

 

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noe valley victorian

noe valley victorianHere is a typical ‘railroad flat’ Victorian house in Noe Valley.  The house is nestled among a tight old neighborhood with close neighbors and a narrow, 20′ wide lot. As seen below, the house had a full, unfinished attic – and good views of Twin Peaks and Sutro Tower in the distance. twin peakstwin peaks noe valleyCheck out the spooky, dark attic. So much potential. The photo below was taken after the chimney was removed so there is some light coming in, but the first few times we went up it was pitch. Always a gamble what you may find…animals? bodies? box of money? atticAt the back of the house was a tiny flat-roof room addition housing a pink-painted kid’s room.  Not many windows in the box, creating a huge blank wall above the rear garden. san francisco houseOtherwise the house was in a limbo retaining some Victorian elements and halfway decent updates. bay windowold kitchenThat’s possibly the world’s smallest island in the kitchen!  Aww.  I met the new owners the day after Thanksgiving last year and learned of their quick timeline. A full, to-the-studs remodel was in order!brick foundationSomething else I should point out is the existing brick foundation, on which the house was sitting but was not actually connected to in any way other than gravity!  Yes, the house was not bolted to the foundation at all. It could hop right off in a sharp earthquake. In order to create new living spaces at the basement level, we would have to replace the brick with concrete – a huge ticket item, something not immediately visible and would take up a lot of the budget. tothestudsThe permit was obtained quickly by avoiding the dreaded, 9-12 month ‘neighborhood notification’ process.  We could add dormers and expand into the attic and basement but no major additions.  Demo began as soon as we had a permit. demolitionThe house started to open up. leaded glassWe’ll keep this small leaded window. It’s painted shut but it’s a cute relic.  remodelThe house feels spacious now with the attic and ceiling opened up.  In order to achieve living space within the former attic, we planned to drop the entire ceiling (since we had a generous 10′ height) of the main level. attic remodelAnd just like that the roof is GONE! Except for the front 15′ feet. The contractor said the neighbors were looking out their windows wide-eyed. Seems so bright and spacious up here. Initially the owners wanted to create a small deck up there but I encouraged them to actually use the attic footprint for living space – it will be uniquely shaped with the angled roof but worth it.3d modelA rendering of the house (on the right with mirror twin on the left) showing the new dormers at the roof level. Stay tuned – more to come!

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