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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5 Comments

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5 responses to “noe valley victorian

  1. what an exciting project!  love it – I’ll take it!

  2. Amy

    Hi – how did you manage a to the studs reno + elevation without neighborhood review? I live in the neighborhood and considering a reno but daunted by permitting etc. Thanks!

  3. Mathilda

    This is a really cool project! I love that you’ve kept some of the original wood for detailing with the steel beam!

    We would like to do something similar – add a master suite in our attic… but the current peak is only 5′ tall and we’ve got a historical facade in San Francisco.

    How difficult was it to get permits for expanding the envelope of the home?

    (We, like this project, are surrounded by taller structures)

    • mcelroyarch

      Hi Mathilda, thanks for stopping by the blog! For this project we only expanded by adding dormers at the roof, which you are allowed to do without a long permit process. We also dropped the ceiling of the floor below to get more room in the top floor; we started out with 7.5′ to the peak. If you can sacrifice some height on the floor below, that’s one solution to add rooms above – plus new dormers, and you’re looking at an ‘over the counter’ permit. Hope that helps! –Tom

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