This dull old building is in full-swing demo phase, to the studs! This was only the second project I took on although it’s just starting now in 2011. It’s composed of a double-wide lot, almost entirely covered by building with a 4′ back yard. We are remodeling it to have dwelling units and a commercial space at the street. The history of the building is long and somewhat spotty; old plans from the early 1900s show meeting rooms and commercial spaces. It was most recently used by a church congregation because it has a huge 50’x50′ room at the back. The current building is an ersatz version of the original, whose large-scale window shapes can be seen as the stucco is removed.Here are some early 1900s items found in the crawlspace when the floor was taken up. Prince Albert in a can! There was a mountain of bottle caps, sardine cans, some glass bottles, and other junk probably from the crew who built it originally. Most of the ‘junk’ was found just under this staircase in the dirt. Old lobby arches amidst a mountain of debris. We donated much of the large, intact redwood framing pieces to a scrap / reuse business Building Resources here in SF. I plan to have some of the salvaged wood used as interior siding. More salvaged plumbing fixtures seen below. (they’d make cool planters or garden sculptures..)Here’s the main room formerly used for church and the arched altar space. This stair was tucked inside some walls, and was probably originally open. We’ll carefully take this apart and donate all its pieces as well. A large (heavenly?) skylight above the old church space. The gabled roof is being dismantled and a flat roof put in its place – the inadequate trusses are sagging and would be too complex to retain. A lot of wood to salvage! More to come –
Tag Archives: green remodel
Above: before. Below: during. This house on a steeply down-sloping lot in the Inner Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco has a full-height basement with great views which was never fully utilized or developed. Look at those wimpy little windows~ The owner was concerned with the house sliding down the hill, and compared its slope to a Blahnik. It seems that a 90+yr old house that withstood 100s of tremors – and the 1989 quake – is probably staying put. Even with its sub-par structure seen below! We opened up the back wall with larger windows and 8′ tall doors which will lead out to a deck. Above, a view of the existing narrow, steep stairs – fit for a Hobbit! These will be rebuilt larger with a window above the landing. The existing basement room on the left, with dropped ceiling, small window, carpeting, and one of those hey guess what I just did bathroom doors that opens directly into a room – never a good idea… Other parts of this project include: Fill-in an existing lightwell with additional rooms on the basement level, where rickety old wood stairs are seen on the left. (The owner actually fell through one of these steps just before it was torn down!) Secondly, replace a catch-all storage room seen on the right with a guest bedroom. They’ll cringe to see this, but we all have one of those spaces! The room has to be excavated quite a bit to get full height, and is still being dug now. Here’s the basement room down to the studs – no insulation, as is common in older SF buildings. Notice how much unused wall space is above the window! The owner is reusing some of this old redwood lumber to make a table, great green idea. This full-width room had a beam across the ceiling, which was resting on (2×6) posts that just barely landed on the concrete footings – see belowYou could literally knock the post off the concrete with one good elbow….scary, especially in seismic SF! Not sure how this was ever approved previously. The same rear wall with new doors and windows installed. Nice view, and the room will be used for entertaining indoor and outdoor on the deck. More to come!
In old homes, items found during renovations may tell us something about the house’s past. Cryptic paintings found in this new project’s cellar may tell of one involving – a shootout with aliens? Being a horror movie fan, I jokingly suggested a possible message in the paintings but the owner said “I don’t want to know!”
Message or not, the house does have a ‘choppy’ past; we figure the garage level used to be the main living level as there is baseboard, wainscoting and wallpaper found in the garage and other rooms on that level, possibly 1890s-1900s. The top floor with lower ceilings, is a typical ‘marina style’ 1920s-ish home, probably added around that time.
The ‘rear’ door as seen below, caked in layers of paint, was likely the front door – mail slot, and a knob shifted way up. We plan to reuse this as a door in the house somewhere, as with other random items as we can.
Another view out toward the recently removed rear wall. Here’s a look along the existing windowless dormer. Remind me again why you’d add a dormer with no windows? The new framing here is the 3′ additional area we extended it to the rear. This view is taken from the outer corner of the flat roof, which I’m glad is there so we can photograph from it! This top floor level isn’t visible from anywhere else except neighboring roofs. Below, a heap of scrap from this wall having been removed. The wall had 3 layers of siding on it, down to the original redwood which was painted a nice green. Seen below is a view of the area of roof that was removed, and one of the windows has been cut out of the plywood. This area will make a nice little roof deck to take in the view. It’s like cutting into a cake!
This whirlpool tub was probably sexy in the early 1980s when it was put in! I can see the candles burning, some music playing…Alas, the new owners have grown tired of its angled charm, and want better use of the square footage. This project is to reconfigure a top floor gabled master suite in a 1907 San Francisco house.
The bathroom is a series of steps, resulting in a cramped shower! Who doesn’t love the backstage makeup lighting? There is a dormer that runs along one side of the house – with no windows – that we’re extending to the back wall (see below), and adding windows to.
It was smart to get the extra headroom in this small top floor space by adding the dormer. I enjoy a dark sleeping space but a windowless bedroom is gloomy and doesn’t conform to code (light, ventilation, egress…)
Then there’s the ‘burnt-toast bathroom‘ on the lower floor that we’ll be updating, taking out those big square tiles that look like a breakfast mishap. Part of that is to relocate the door so you’re not looking directly from the kitchen to the – oh, hello – toilet!
More to come with this ….