Monthly Archives: August 2009

mid-century san francisco time capsule

1959 was a good year.  A good year for the color turquoise, apparently.  Here is a 1959 4-unit apartment building up behind a single family house on a lot in San Francisco that have both sat virtually empty for over 20 years.   Big remodel to follow.


It’s been a trip back in time because the apartments are partially furnished!  Crazy.  The 5 kitchens are pretty amazing, all matching original appliances, and the cabinets are in very good shape too.  We have to do work that would require moving them out, so they can’t stay.  The appliances are likely huge wastes of energy – and we don’t know if they work.  But I appreciate their mid-century splendor, and don’t want to just trash them – so we’re hearing from people who want to come and take them away.   I might just take an old bulbous refrigerator myself for future use as, a cabinet?

kitchen1kitchen2kitchen3As equally mid-century fabulous as these kitchens are, each of the 5 bathrooms is an exercise in *pink* – tile and fixtures intact, albeit a bit gross.


I really dig these old colors and shapes, it’s exciting to find something like this so vintage.  Thus we think it’s the right thing to hand off the pieces for reuse. As seen below, while most of the furniture has nice lines, it’s garage sale quality – or less..  The cushions are rock-hard and petrified.

livingrmStay tuned for the remodel..



Filed under 1950s Time Capsule

victorian remodel rock and roll

…continued.  The roof has been refinished.  No less than 3 layers of old warped shingles scraped off and down the chute!  I was tempted to see how the view from the roof is, but not liking the prospect of eating the sidewalk, I opted out.

roofersPainting has also begun on the exterior.  We drove around here in San Francisco for inspiration in terms of color palette.  There seemed to be no limit to how many colors we could use being that there are several layers of trim.  We chose (4) colors, and gold as a 5th for minimal accent such as the Medusas, of course!  Here’s a preview:


We chose colors from this Benjamin Moore palette:


Inside, rocking has begun, with layers and layers of mud being put on – lots of that stuff being tracked back to my office!  Here is the 4th floor before with heavy, dark painted beams.  And big old track lighting..  We chose to engineer the remodel with minimal metal tie-rods as seen below:

old beamstie rodsObviously we have a lot of finish work to go – we’re at least a month out!  New flooring, trim, lighting, paint, doors… Below are a few old plaster ceiling medallions awaiting reuse.



Filed under Hayes Valley Victorian

the view from the top

Being that the building is located on a corner at the top of a hill, it has great views.  The best of course, from the top floor.


The assumed 1970s finishing out of the attic created a low, cramped dormer with windows looking to the view including City Hall, the Bay Bridge, etc.


We removed this dormer to create an outdoor deck with a wall of doors and windows looking out to really take advantage of the view… coming soon:


Leave a comment

Filed under Hayes Valley Victorian

construction photos

This is a heap of lath from the second floor walls. . fascinating to think of this being put this up over a century ago, piece by piece, the plaster spilling through each crack like an overstuffed PB&J sandwich..


This looks to be very old wallpaper appearing below layers of paint in a room on the second floor. .if these walls could talk. .


A sampling of the existing casing that will be repainted and left in place . . blinds are to be trashed, of course.  What we intend to do is maintain the scale of moldings and trim, but to open the flow of the apartments to a more modern feel.

window trim

One of several plaster ceiling medallions.  These are so overly painted that any detail is gone . . we may just replace them.  New recessed lighting is being installed . .


Leave a comment

Filed under Hayes Valley Victorian

san francisco 1890s victorian

The story of a major remodel.  According to Sanborn Insurance Maps this corner building was built sometime between 1891 and 1899.  It’s listed on the California State Historic Register.  It represents a pattern of residential living over corner store found throughout San Francisco.   Maintaining about 90% of the exterior and the unit split of (2) apartments over the commercial space, we decided to modify almost all of the interior.  This for several reasons, one being to add insulation where there had been none previously; to revise the awkward interior room layout; to revise window and door positions.  We salvaged most of the interior trim and all of the exterior trim as we weren’t permitted to modify the street facades.  New, insulated windows match originals per city requirements.  It’s been several months among heaps of old plaster & lath, exposed redwood framing that hadn’t seen the light of day in 100+ years, rummaging through the deep corners of this hulking building…

north facade view before construction

It has retained a pretty good level of – what seems to be – original detail, escaping any violent stripping or hack jobs in its lifetime.  Can’t say the same for that classy storefront – soon to be changed!  Here is a creepy Medusa medallion, one seen on each of the bay gables:


The top floor was likely not an original 1890s living space, or if so had been completely ‘updated’ in the 1970s (?) by the looks of things including a chunky corner fireplace:


Leave a comment

Filed under Hayes Valley Victorian