Tag Archives: mid-century modern

lightwell house master suite


basement bathroomThis massive concrete retaining wall has held up a hillside since who knows when. When the house was built in 1955 they used this as a foundation, and at 14′ high created a lofty first floor/basement. Remarkably dry. It continues through this lot and apparently all the way through the city block – 228′ long! We used this unfinished area to locate a new master bedroom and bathroom:floor planThe new ceiling will slope from the bathroom at 9′ up to 12′ at new doors in the side wall, facing a narrow yard. angled ceilingThat’s the low point above, bedroom framing..and the high end.  That’s James of JP Builders – great guy to work with! door jambThis area will be the new sliding doors to the yard.  sketchup modelA rendering in Sketchup showing the concrete wall along 2 sides, and the new rooms. The closet was located partially below the massive terrazzo stairs, and we left the brick supports exposed. walk-in closetBelow is a photo of the back corner of the bathroom. The concrete wall was lined in cement board and will be clad in stone tile. I may have opted to leave the concrete exposed but the owner indicated that it was slightly crumbly and might not be as hardy when exposed to bath and shower water daily…transom windowsSince the back corner is hugged by the giant concrete wall it had no windows, so we put glass around the wall to the bedroom to borrow light from the new doors.  bathroom windowFrom the bath tub you’ll be able to see the stone wall continue through to the master bedroom.bed wallHere’s the wall where the bed will go, with the bathroom beyond. The two posts? One was existing / structural, the other hides plumbing. fleetwood doorsThe 11′ high 3-panel sliders are from Fleetwood.  The adjacent building is only 12′ away, so luckily we created a soffit for shades : )side yardOut through the sliders will be a low deck and some landscaping. This is looking up toward the in the slot yard street.  Just found out that any changes we want to make to the street front of the building will require a historic study….reminder: this was built in 1955…does that say ‘historic’ to you? Welcome to San Francisco! Not that we’re planning anything major – I love the mid-century lines, but it’s looking tired.  facadeStay tuned!

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case study 22

Recently, Architect magazine put out a call for letters from readers to recount their ‘goose-bump’ moments – experiences that thrilled us to the core. (lately it might be as simple as keeping your job or getting a new project to work on!)  I wrote of my chance visit to Case Study #22 in 2000 when I was in LA stalking architectural celebrities.  They ran my letter – see the image below from the October issue:  The world-famous Case Study #22 house designed by architect Pierre Koenig – and even more famously photographed by Julius Shulman – sits on an edge high in the Hollywood Hills.  It was built as part of Arts & Architecture magazine’s post-war program which invited select architects in 1945 to design homes “capable of duplication” for the average American.  I wouldn’t mind a duplicate! I still recall seeing Shulman’s photograph when I was in college – the image stayed with me, haunted and taunted me.  It was a photo of a house, but nothing I’d seen the likes of in my upstate NY life.  Barely-there, the house is made up of glass panels and steel posts.  The winning gesture is its projection out over the hillside, the drop-off unknown to the viewer.  Here’s Shulman’s photograph: Below is a photo I took in 2006 from Sunset Blvd, looking up at the house from below.  It seems so tiny and delicate from this angle.  I know where to spot it from and always look up when I’m driving in the area.  Here’s a photo of me in 2000, having hopped the security gate and walked up to announce myself to the wonderful owners as you read above.  It really was like meeting a celebrity: and going back to see it at night was the cherry on the holysh*t cake of getting there in the first place.  Not much had changed except that the owners had a catwalk built for easy window maintenance, which I’m standing on. This somewhat muddies the form but it could be taken off in the future.   A moment I’ll never forget! I believe there are occasional tours for the public so I may visit again someday.


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