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sunset magazine

It’s been a little over a year since my last post* and what better way to return than to share that the Bayview Remodel was featured in the April 2019 issue of Sunset magazine! I’m pretty dang thrilled at being included in their glossy pages…I’ve been a devoted reader (and page tearer..) for 17 years. Check out the pages below! and I promise to come back to this blog, I have many many stories, projects and ideas that I want to share. the good, the bad and the ugly. until then, stay tuned!

*you know, you get busy, life takes over, work, play, etc…. no real good excuse ūüôā¬†IMG_9913IMG_9914IMG_9915

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the job site & the volvo

once upon a time there was a 1991 Volvo 240 that sputtered 3,000 miles from New York to California. I’m talking about my clunker, affectionately called NormaJean. over the past 15 years she has inadvertently appeared in many photos of projects (before, during, and after) I’ve worked on in San Francisco and beyond. as embarrassing as it may have been to screech up to a half million dollar project in that, she’s still around. I decided to dig through the archives and post photos. she’s not always at center but see if you can spot her in there, smiling for the camera ūüôā

2004, Cole Valley SF:DSCN0934

2005, Menlo Park:IMG_7447.JPG

2006, Pacific Heights SF: pre-construction.jpg

2009, Foster City:IMG_2452.JPG

2010, Mill Valley:IMG_4860.JPG

2012, San Francisco:IMG_0507.JPG

2012, San Francisco:IMG_0998.JPG Continue reading

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san francisco magazine

a huge thanks to our photographer Melissa Kaseman for pitching our project to San Francisco magazine. They picked up the story and it’s in the November issue.

flip through their entire online issue¬†here, or check it out in images below. Or better yet buy a hard copy, cut those pages out and put them on your wall for inspiration ūüôā and call us when you’re ready to do your own to the studs remodel!

this project was a fun collaboration with really great clients. we can’t thank them enough for being open to 99% of our design ideas. they wanted a sense of whimsy in the house and I think we achieved that feeling.

we like to think of this house as a bright, inviting, energetic series of spaces with bold patterns and textures. it has plentiful windows to grab distant views out the front and a 17ft wide multi-panel sliding door to connect to a cozy garden in the back.

take a look ———–>


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bay view house

front facadeIs it too late to say happy new year? I say no since this is my first 2016 post. This is a cute¬†1940s house set on a cul-de-sac, 2 bedroom / 2 bath. Not nearly enough room for a family of now 4 who entertain and occasionally work from home. The program is to add a second floor and push the house out in the rear yard to get more space on the first floor. New total will be 4 bed, 4 bath.¬†view of san franciscoOne¬†really cool thing about its location on¬†a south-facing hill is a surprisingly direct¬†view back to the city across the bay.¬†old stuccoOtherwise it is standard suburban rancho from another era…ready for an update!exposed beamsAt some point the living room was expanded and the ceiling was vaulted with exposed beams – a really nice look that we’re maintaining and improving upon in the new design.¬†kitchen skylightThe kitchen is workable, but feels a little cramped. ¬†A low-ceiling¬†breakfast nook is hidden away in the distance.

In the early stages we studied the possible massing for the top floor addition.¬†21 BAYVIEW TERR_Front1_14-0401We initially settled on the gable roof with an overhang at the front. BUT: heed my advice, and get a professional lot survey! It was discovered that the house sat within the front yard setback so we had to redesign and push the second floor back. 21 BAYVIEW TERR 2015 balconySilver lining is that they will have a walk-out balcony at the front (the windows have become doors now..) and a circular window to the side gains a city view as well.¬†storypolesStorypoles were installed to demonstrate the extent of the new addition.¬†construction demoDemo happens quickly…¬†The back wall of the house was removed to accommodate the expansion. It almost looks like a stage / bandshell.¬†garden excavationThe rear deck was removed to make way for the addition and pushing the land back a little for a new deck. All this while preserving the persimmon tree in the upper left of the photo!stud framingHere is a photo after concrete and during initial framing from last Fall. The ground floor is mostly framed, and the second floor is just starting. Steel beams are seen on the left, awaiting install, and a narrow Simpson Strong Wall on the left of the house.¬†We’re already far ahead of this phase – stay tuned for more!

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pacific heights part deux

heath modern basics

At this house (top floor addition: 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms) we’re further along with finish materials and details. It’s exciting to watch the transformation, sometimes it seems to take forever, other times change happens quickly. Tile is about 75% installed in the bathrooms – Heath Ceramics’ Modern Basics ‘Heron Blue‘ covers the walls of the 2nd bathroom.¬†shower niche

Above are the niches in each bathroom. Each is 12″ x 36″ and will have a shelf to divide it. On the right is a marble mosaic hexagonal shape in the back wall of the niche and 12×24 wall tiles.¬†grout color

Tile hasn’t been grouted yet but we chose the dark grey shown above for the floors (top shiny penny-round tiles for second bath, marble hex in master)¬†vanity cabinet

The master vanity is a cool grey-blue to pick up on the darker veins of the marble tiles. Cabinet by Bartlett Cabinetry via KnockKnock.

wall paneling

The square grid paneling at the top floor is a continuation of the existing paneling in the entry room below. flooring install

It took some drafting skill to lay out the grid in the way that made the most sense. Not all squares are equal, but generally about 20″x20″. We had to work between wall, window, door and floor constraints. Once painted a solid color, any variations will be undetectable. ¬†Bedroom flooring on the right.¬†herringbone floor

Herringbone flooring in the stair hallway / office. Herringbone pattern costs about twice as much as straight-run flooring, but it’s arguable twice as beautiful! We’re loving it..¬†dark flooring

The flooring has had its first staining and sanding. It’s an antiqued dark brown finish. In the corner is the built-in desk; walls and cabinetry will be Sherwin Williams ‘Muddled Basil’.

steel railing

The black steel railing pickets on the left, ready to be attached at each tread on the new stair. On the right at the bottom of the stairs is a round newel post that I designed to complement the existing curling railing. The post will sit on top of the bottom step, as yet to be extended in the photo, and the existing railing on the right will be continued over to meet the newel. round newel post

The newel at the top of the staircase, the handrail and guard rail along the hallway. Guardrails are 42″ per code so the top newel is just over¬†4′ tall. ¬†It has minimal detailing – a base, and a cap, with rounded edges.¬†plywood

When in the field and you’re designing as you go ūüôā – plywood works as well as a sketchbook! Above is a section for the cornice at the front and rear facade of the new top floor.

Stay tuned, more to come!

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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.


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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vintage tools

design sketchOld crusty tools, spraypainted gold and suspended in the glow of bulbs was the result of a weekend office window makeover, after brainstorming with old college pal partner in crime Randy Kaufman in from Boston.¬† He came up with clever but simple ideas to amp up the windows that had gotten dusty in the past months.¬† This involved urban foraging for supplies at the local junk shops and thrift stores – I’m easy when it comes to dropping everything to go pickin. building resourcesIMG_7247We dug through to find a good selection of things, made a mess and got yelled at by the proprietor (just like old times!?) and took off with our finds.¬† Although the tools each had a unique, time-worn patina, we opted to lightly color them into uniformity. vintage toolboxThe toolboxes were a little harder to find and not as cheap as I expected for plywood junk, but I grabbed them and coated them gold. window displayWe spent the day racing around town for supplies, then dividing the items per window, hanging them with fishing line and building the central piece to each window: Edison bulb light fixtures made simply of dual-socket-adapters, which we expanded to (6) bulbs each. There’s really no limit – you could grow this thing to a really beautiful, asymmetrical fixture over your dining room table! edison bulbswindowsWe were happy with the results, minimal, sculptural, warm. The lights are on timers so they click on just at dusk and off before midnight. vintage toolswindow displaysI’m enjoying collaborating to make these window displays something interesting – a fun diversion from the daily grind.¬† I’m sure it’s confusing to passersby as to what we have to offer but there’s only one way to find out!architect window


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office as art gallery

popup galleryWe had the first popup art install in the office during ArtSpan‘s Mission district open studios – the first of many to come in an ongoing rotation. The goal is to cross-pollinate with other creators in a design-meets-design venue. In general, to meet cool artists, provide them space to show their work and see their work on our wall! It’s a 30′ wide x 12’ high wall…otherwise blank…so it makes sense to use as the backdrop. What to call the popup…hmmm 12×30? There seem to be a lot of something x something galleries already….artist in windowwindowGimena Macri is an artist new to San Francisco from Argentina.¬† Her show ‘Anonymous Builders’ explores various early types of shelters indigenous to California. Having only met her a little over a month ago we thought this was a perfect subject with its relation to what we do in our office: residential design. (this being the first, was an excellent excuse to give the office a deep clean and transform it into something neutral for the art to be highlighted in.)teepeeanonymous buildersmacriWe had a little opening event, and the art will be in the office through the end of November. Typically available by appointment only but if anyone is walking by, feel free to drop in if we are in! 485 14th St SF CA. art openingopening

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a man i never met (grandparents, part 1)


grandfatherMy grandfather was a carpenter, and many of his now-vintage tools are still stocked away in my parents’ garage.¬† I dug through them last winter and photographed some – see them here.¬† The man passed away in 1973, and although I didn’t meet him I have to wonder what traits were passed down – general interest in design / carpentry / furniture? Gardener, witty and a had a sweet tooth? He made his living doing odd-jobs of cabinetry, furniture, some larger framed projects over the years.¬† His name was as big as the figure he appears to be in the photo – Theodore Roosevelt McElroy – born just after the president left office. old chiselsThese old family tools of the trade deserve a spotlight in a time when there is a renewed interest in makers, things handhewn, made in America. I find them inspiring and a reminder to continue to DO stuff with my hands. (I’m using my hands to blog, right now)¬† Among the items are a number of hand-made wooden toolboxes, many of them long to accommodate longer saws. Now one of them has a horseshoe in it… wood toolboxold toolboxtoolboxI can imagine these time-worn antiques being snatched up by homemakers and designers, hung on walls and stuffed with succulents or tchotchkes. I just gave myself a good idea! (we recently installed old tools / toolboxes in the office windows – post coming soon)drill bitschiselsHe even made the boxes that the drill bits and chisels would be stored in.¬† I wonder if he had to use the bits to … store the bits? wood rulerI’ve seen some of these things pop up in clothing store displays such as the wood folding ruler.¬† Because if you buy that flannel shirt you’ll feel capable of swinging an axe : ) wood sawNice carved saw handles…straight edgecoping sawI photographed everything on the concrete floor of my parents’ garage in December…freezing.old house 2One of his projects was to convert a former barn into this cozy home for his own family of 6. (Dad tells us how he had to help excavate the basement, with shovels – or was it spoons?) house additionThe garage and a bedroom were added later.¬† We spent many holidays here over the years. It really was an ode to Americana. Note the M on the chimney. corkscrewOk not everything here was used for carpentry but it’s some cool stuff. craftsman viceHere are some old photos of him again below, looking both casual and dapper. He’s standing in front of a fieldstone barbecue he built. I like to think there’s some of that woodworking/make/do/stuff of him in me, even if it’s currently manifested as architecture with occasional weekend forays into dead furniture revivals…and yes, I have a few sweet tooths. theodorerooseveltvintage toolbox

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Architizer mention

Our panel discussion about small firm collaboration at AIA SF on August 29 was covered by the folks over at Architizer. Thanks for documenting the topic, and rehashing it as a glowing article Рgreat job, Lamar! 

Happy to see that the page has over 12,000 views so far…¬†

Read the article here. 

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