at the castro corner house, the new walls were framed in, and sheetrock is now being installed.
above is the rough framed new stair to the first floor. about 20′ of new concrete retaining wall was poured along the property line.
in the photo above, part of the concrete wall is thinner to allow for the stair landing in this location – every inch counts to make the stairs work, especially in these narrow san francisco lots!
here the 6′ tall new concrete is furred out to allow for bathroom plumbing to run inside. new johns-manville formaldehyde-free insulation (for better indoor air quality) fills the wall cavities where there was no insulation before…..the globe is warming but we’re using more insulation now than we did in 1940. 🙂 from this point looking over the new stairwell you can see through the lower hallway and to the new garden door. a nice peek to the rear yard without having to go downstairs.. a view along the floor toward the new built-in bench, and spot where the gas fireplace will go. it’s a corner fireplace by Ortal. pretty slick! can’t wait to see it. we’re further along than these pictures show; some cabinetry is installed, and we’re selecting final finishes now. stay tuned, more to come!
…and the roof came tumbling down – in an organized fashion of course. The back part of the roof was reconfigured as an up-slope ‘shed roof’ to create a tall wall and capture the view. Actually the entire roof of the house was rebuilt, and we opted to vault every space on the top floor so there is no attic (hoarders be warned!) but bedrooms, closets, bathrooms, hallway all have soaring ceilings. I hope the new owners like mobiles. This first photo is the back part of the roof and dormer getting lopped off. The additional space being framed here is the master bedroom with the money-shot view. The new roof, at a low slope pitching toward the view. I like this because you can see the old angle of the roof, and the new roof above. That’s yesteryear’s version of plywood on the lower part of the wall. Here is a view from the street showing the new up-slope roof at the back. This is the only change to the house that is visible from the street, so no neighbors took issue with it. In this neighborhood there is a 35′ height limit and we couldn’t slope the roof up more than what we did without hitting that imaginary line. Here’s a view that normally only a witch would have (hey, it’s almost Halloween…) but I climbed a nearby hill to get this shot of the new roof addition being framed. The house in the foreground was a ‘twin’ of our project – soon to be fraternal! A view of what will be the master bedroom sliding doors. Then they moved on to the front part of the roof and started that. With existing 2×4 24″ on-center rafters, no insulation, it needed an upgrade. All the shingles were glazed in 10 coats of old paint, dry-rot, a lot just had to come down. An interesting still-life at the front bedroom of the house with the roof gone. Here’s the house re-clad in new plywood….old shingles gone, roof rebuilt. The old brick chimney is still seen but that was in very poor shape too. Looking up at the back of the house with the huge open areas soon to be sliding doors and windows. That’s a ‘Simpson Strong Wall’, a structural element that provides lateral support when there is almost no solid wall. Other than having a moment frame. I like the way the house has a stacked-up look. A for Asymmetry! Stay tuned – more to come!
A lot has happened since my last update! On this house, and for the business: we’ve moved to a new office, and the dust is still settling… This is a mighty heap of scrap – mostly unusable – taken from the house and placed into the rear yard. The rear yard here is/was a beautifully overgrown mass of decades-old flowering plants and trees. To get taller living space on the first level we removed the floor to get up to 24″ of additional height to work with:
As you can see the walls were all sorts of patched together = need to be rebuilt. Then we had to excavate into the hill to maintain this lofty new ceiling.This retaining wall represents the line between the garage that will maintain the original low height of approx. 7′, and the new living space that will have approx. 10′ ceilings.
The new stairs came down (‘bombs awaaay!’) just in time as the new 3′ addition extended the house into the rear yard. Upstairs, the back portion of the house was removed. This was a multi-layer addition from the 1940s-70s, and insufficient to support the third floor addition. Braces hold up the side property line walls. We left the existing side windows in so we can replace them in-kind without having to be fire-rated (which can run about $2500 for a 3’x4′ window!)
The charming master bedroom dormer is seen here.
Above views are from the second floor looking through the newly opened wall. The photo below is looking up at the back of the house. The first floor is framed in, and the new deck is cantilevered 5′ beyond the wall.
Where’s Waldo? There’s a guy in all that mess, if you look hard enough.
This is me trying to photograph a steel beam, standing on the open edge of the house!
More to come!
Yes, this is not real stone. It’s a nice representation of a (burnt?) stone wall, with several parking options for your late 70s cars, and – as an afterthought, let’s stick a front door on there for grins. One of the worst Hobbit-hole entrances I’ve ever seen.. This is the first house in San Francisco I’ve worked on that’s younger than me – but not by much! Started in 1979 and completed in 1980, this house is an ode to all things brown and mirrored. Walking through made me think of the Ice Storm. hot fireplace, curving hearth…you can see your casserole dinner in reverse…
We don’t mind this though – the wet bar! It stays. (there are two of them in the house…) The awesome tile, and the padded cabinetry so you don’t knock your knees when going in for cocktail no.4. A second fireplace – leftover stone from the facade? Typical doorknob throughout the house…Off the back of the house there’s an enclosed patio, with covered hot tub in the corner, kitchenette and bathroom. We think it’s pretty groovy, a nice private enclosed space (would love to have seen a party here in 1980), but definitely in need of updating. We’re opening it up quite a bit too. The dreaded fire escape, as seen from the patio. It’s a goner! All these 70s treatments aside, the house has a lot of space, good bones, and sweeping views of the Marin Headlands and Twin Peaks – the reasons why the family bought it. We’re well into demo now – check back for more progress….to the studs!
Here’s the look of demo….the mess, the uncovered pieces, the view to new possibilities.
This is in the kitchen – behind the cabinetry and appliances we uncovered evidence of a once-PINK kitchen! Awesome. I thought this was a nice composition…A heap of ceiling coming down. The issue with these older homes is that the walls have no insulation. I’ve never done blown-in insulation, where a hole is drilled into each study bay and it’s filled with some kind of loose fiber. View of the hobbit staircase. Cute, but even I at 5′-9″ would almost crack my head on the way up. The old brick coal-burning fireplace. You probably couldn’t fit more than a Duraflame log in here, on the days you can actually burn a fire in San Francisco.Here’s a painted wall we found within a dropped ceiling. This may have once been an exterior porch. Over the years, I’ve seen this green-blue color very often in porches, laundry rooms, ‘utility’ rooms, etc. I like it, and am interested in knowing why this was common practice for paint color in those spaces..? Looks like someone built a house within this house at one point in time! There’s that green-blue color again. Cobwebs, or “Irish lace” as I was told – in the uncovered attic space. Spoooky..Down at the first floor here’s the shadow of an old staircase found within a wall. It was an exterior staircase since that’s redwood sidingTwo views of eave closet spaces, matched in reverse. Lots of old wood in this house – can we reuse some, please, someday!? Clients are often dubious or nervous about the prospect of this beat-up redwood being turned into beautiful interior wall cladding. I know it’s possible, it’s been done – even with lath. It does add more time/labor but in the end, it tells a story, is warm and tangible, and relates directly to the history of the house.
Here were in front of
the ugliest house on the nicest block a bungalow in San Francisco. This may not be a true bungalow, or one you would’ve found in a Sears & Roebuck catalog back in 1915. However it is from 1912 and has a low, sad dormer, some brackets, exposed rafter ends, and shingles. Random thought is that it was built the year the Titanic sank, and as we started demolition the Italian cruiser tipped over – this must mean good luck! We can’t modify the front too much due to its age and status as a potential historic resource. Around back there is a flat-roofed segment of the building added in two parts over the years. The garden is filled with beautiful roses and other flowering plants from the former owners. The lot slopes down away from the house and the views are far and wide: This view is from the top floor. That tree doesn’t bug me. At the top floor back of the house is a dormer similar to the one at the front which doesn’t really do the view justice – Part of the remodel involves extending this top floor to accommodate larger master bedroom suite that open up to the view, while maintaining roofdeck space for plantings and star-gazing. The view pans around and up to a nearby hilltop. Inside we’ve got the usual suspects: a somewhat vintage kitchen with some appliance ‘updates’ that result in a jumbled room – with potential, of course. The kitchen floor is classic! I think my grandmother had the same one: Downstairs is some more flooring – and typical ‘basement’ paneling from the 60s or 70s: Upstairs another vintage find is some loud, splashy wallpaper – great to wake up to but try falling asleep: We’ve got big plans for the house so check back soon for more – in fact, demo has already begun and all the stuff seen here has been passed on to places and friends for reuse – be green! – (shutters, doors, lights, appliances etc) including me: I kept the front door and plan to make a table out of it : )