Tag Archives: green remodel

raze the roof

A well-lit facade.  There’s a glow coming through the windows of this building, and looking through them you can see the sky.  In the demo phase, the (sagging, leaking) roof has been removed.  (some of these photos are terribly dark / contrasty, I took them with my not-so-great phone camera!).  These patched-together trusses, pretty in silhouette, were bowed pretty badly over the 50ft span.  A few of the pieces had large splits/breaks in them.  Most of the timber is being reused as framing elsewhere in the building and/or has been donated.  Some windows have even been passed along to an artist who paints on the glass. The view of the Lutheran church on er, Church St from the rear of the building.  The existing building filled almost the entire lot from side to side and front to back, so we’re modifying the walls in order to create legal operable windows.  Some old framing reused as staggered studs between rooms.  A view through the wall to an adjacent building. Some framing and old window openings at the front of the building.  These quirky top floor windows were only about 1ft from the floor, not really matching the interior spaces.  Toddlers would enjoy them, I suppose.  You can see how much empty space is above them on the wall…..great placement!?  More to come –

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Filed under Duboce Triangle Condos

laurel heights completion

This project has wrapped up and the owners have moved in!  They’ve done such a great job with the interior decor so far, I love it!  It will make for really good portfolio shots – I went over recently and took a bunch of scouting shots.  Below are plans of how what we changed – mostly within the walls – partially infilling a lightwell, squaring off bay windows, opening up the main rooms and adding a new stair to the lower floor.  I have to admit at first I didn’t see keeping this railing, but I’m happy they wanted to keep it!  Looks like bones – in a cool way.  The hardwood floors are original, restained and refinished.  Below is a repurposed portion of the old garage door which we saved and used in the kitchen on a barn door track, hiding a closet.  Seen below, we raised the ceilings in the kitchen – as an angle – and in the Living Rm, gaining almost 2′ of space that was formerly empty space.

The rooms now open one to next with ceiling variations and few walls to define the spaces.

The angled ceiling is an unexpected feature in the room, also allowing for a window high in the wall to capture light.   The master bedroom and bathroom have built-in walnut cabinetry by Stephen Day Design.  (again, these are just scouting shots so better photos to come!).  Lastly – I love the art my client has over the fireplace mantle.  The story is that she carried it back with her from a trip to midwest – putting it in the overhead bin on the airplane! Looks great! OK – 99.9% done – they were still painting the back when I visited…


Filed under Laurel Heights House

mill valley remodel

Hello 1987!  Or late 70s? Ugh.  This house just north of San Francisco will be undergoing a transformation in the coming months.  Seen here at the start, it was all roof, T-111 siding, and smashed, tiny windows up top facing the view.  Where is the front door?

This open second floor porch at the back of the house will be filled in and become the master bathroom.

This remodel is already chugging along – clients keeping a great blog to go along with it.  It will eventually look like this: (Gotta love Sketchup for quick & dirty 3D modeling.)

Down to the studs!   Stay tuned for more!

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duboce triangle remodel

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 –

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Basement 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!

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laurel heights mystery

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.

A great rear yard, but a boring rear facade!  The new owners want to bring this home into the 21st century, and our plans call for a big remodel to the studs of course.

A lightwell above, to be filled in behind the kitchen with a new stair to the first floor.

Existing kitchen above and entry hallway below, with 2-dimensional railing cutouts…

more to come – soon (demo already started)

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master suite chopped

The rear wall has been totally removed in this photo….and the view appears (hello, neighbor).  The new steel finned ridge beam is in place. 

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!

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