Category Archives: Hayes Valley Victorian

lights, camera, (almost) action!

The Victorian remodel is winding down. . down to the details that seem never ending!   But they have to:  the place is being toured starting this week; professionally photographed tomorrow.  Electric, plumbing, paint, hardware, etc, all going in currently.  I’ve gotten my hands dirty all week, a refreshing break away from the office/computer:  hauling garbage, lumber trips, help with final cleaning…  Some photos:


Pendant lights for the top floor, awaiting hanging.

railpost cap

New handrails all blackened steel with oak grips, white posts (caps to be painted)

ovalstub panel

Bathtub side panels that match the cabinetry.  We went with oval tiles at the master backsplash.  Countertop are Caesarstone Misty Carrera, a warm gray color that goes well with the white oak.


That view over the kitchen sink!  I can’t say I’d object to washing dishes if I had that view east toward the bay, the morning sun blasting into the room.

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victorian remodel interior continued. .

We’re in crunch mode here moving along with all the finishes.  New flooring and stair treads are going in right now, tile and interior trim has almost been completed, interior painting has begun.  The first photo is the second floor which already had hardwood floor over the original softwood which has become the subfloor.  We’re patching in new to match there.


We looked through various grays from ICI low VOC paint.  It’s always amazing how a color changes when viewed on a wall; and how much of other colors you can see – from blue to green to tan – in different grays.  We were looking for a ‘warm’ gray so we chose the one with the blue tape over it, far right:

wall paint

More tile from Heath Ceramics on the bathroom floors and shower surround:

herringbonemaster bath

Original casing put back around new windows – (to be painted of course!)

old casing

We chose this simple 5-1/2″ profile for the new casing throughout where there wasn’t enough to reuse.  It’s the right scale without being too busy or fussy.



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victorian remodel: storefront exposed

We peeled off the uninviting plywood and exposed the storefront windows with old ads on them.  From what neighbors tell us these were covered in the early 1980s.  We’ll be cleaning this up and making a more transparent ground level here.  We had to replace some missing plate glass along the left side; the right side were intact.

storefrontsign1sign2sign3sign4old transom 2

I guess the whiskey was a big seller!

Sidewalk landscaping:  remove the concrete, plant some vegetation.  A simple idea with a big impact, from increased permeability to aesthetically pleasing.   I’m very excited about this area we will plant . . and add some green in front of the building.


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victorian remodel interior progress

A few weeks have gone by. . once the walls were taped, mudded and sanded we moved ahead to install new flooring – 3.25″ white oak – soon to be sanded and finished.


Once the floors went in we moved ahead placing cabinet boxes.  We are installing kitchens designed by a local Scavolini [their website has some groovy tunes] shop.  We used the same finish in both apartments to tie the building together.

kitchenI’m excited to see the tile from Heath Ceramics start going in, they have a really beautiful handmade quality.   We are using mostly white tile in the bathrooms and kitchens to leave a clean color slate, but we chose a mix of pale greens for one of the bathrooms of the upper unit, and a brown for the master bath shower.  The vanity cabinets in all bathrooms are rift white oak custom made from City Cabinetmakers here in San Francisco.

riverbedriverbed2green mix

This mix of green tiles will cover the walls surrounding the bathtub/shower to the ceiling.  Interior doors are being installed – we chose a two-panel square sticking style to be a cleaner version of traditional.  A stack of original wood moulding awaits reuse.

int doorold trim


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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.



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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:


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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 . .


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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:


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