This 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:The new ceiling will slope from the bathroom at 9′ up to 12′ at new doors in the side wall, facing a narrow yard. That’s the low point above, ..and the high end. That’s James of JP Builders – great guy to work with! This area will be the new sliding doors to the yard. A 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. Below 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…Since 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. From the bath tub you’ll be able to see the stone wall continue through to the master bedroom.Here’s the wall where the bed will go, with the bathroom beyond. The two posts? One was existing / structural, the other hides plumbing. The 11′ high 3-panel sliders are from Fleetwood. The adjacent building is only 12′ away, so luckily we created a soffit for shades : )Out 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. Stay tuned!
Where have I been? The blog took a hiatus in December, so now it’s time to start tracking the projects again – we’re off to a running start in 2011. This 1959 building left alone for a few decades is now waking up. [nice blaring parking sign, and unpainted vents etc] Here’s a quick recap of the facade up to now: I was inspired by a photo to try a green & brown earthy color scheme at the front, but we never loved the brown. The Eichler color chart is mostly earthtones – though this is clearly far from an Eichler, not even a Likeler! The tiled area to the lower right was intended to be a material ‘accent’, and after many suggestions were scratched from my list we settled on the 8×16 ceramic tile in ‘lavagna mood’, a purple-grey from Ceramic Tile Design. Once the tile went in it was apparent that the brown had to go, so we matched the garage area in paint, just going up yesterday. I drew this simple steel planter to fill in some of the corners a the facade, and eliminated the red brick planter. The steps to the front door will be tiled soon. The interior is almost finished – Lots of shapes in the light fixtures – the George Nelson Cigar bubble lamp, a flying saucer-shaped pendant from PLC, and cylinder pendants at the kitchen. Details left to do, including a dark outlet plate @ the peninsula! [alas, we had to go with a track for the kitchen pendants due the steel beam in the ceiling…]Walnut kitchen from City Cabinetmakers, 2×12 tile from Heath Ceramics…triangle tiles from Heath Ceramics behind the double-wide sink… & the drought-resistant garden seen from the new first floor bedroom. More to come!
STEEL! Here are a couple of beams ready to be installed in the ceiling/roof of the mid-century house, so we can remove most of the walls in the living areas. (quick reminder: this project consists of  buildings on a lot – a single family house, and a 4-unit apartment building on the other end. as part of the project, the lot was split into 2)
It’s exciting to see these big structural pieces arrive so the spaces can start to take shape. Below is a slot cut in the ceiling for one of the steels where the rafters crossed.
The sheetrock crew is up in the apartments on their stilts, mudding and taping the walls. (There’s still evidence of that robin’s-egg blue that was throughout the buildings, seen below.)
Boxes of tiles in various colors and shapes from Heath Ceramics in Sausalito. The outside of the buildings will start to shape up soon – windows arrived this week. Sliding doors from IWC were installed in the apartments last week. (we don’t love the curved handles and will swap them out! it seems the ‘standard’ is almost always less preferable)
Another fairly foggy day so the view isn’t visible – but it’s a beautiful one. We chose a dark bronze anodized finish to give them more contrast and accentuate the lines in this geometric 50s building. Below, at the house, we’re closing up one of three garage doors to create living space – a new footing will be poured. Who needs three cars? Stay tuned!
Things are moving ahead at the 1950s remodel where we’re concurrently doing 2 buildings on one lot. Above, the single family house ceiling is taken out to install new recessed lighting. The aluminum window, single-paned and very breezy, is a goner! (to be replaced with a larger, new aluminum window from Gerkin)
I like the look of the exposed rafters but this is just temporary, to be re-sheetrocked. Quite a heap of debris here in the future master bedroom..
The original roof plank sheathing looks like concrete forms – how thrifty of the builders to recycle them! Note the absence of any insulation in this ceiling – typical of many ‘older’ buildings in San Francisco, even from 1959.
Above, some slightly mod original details from the apartment building, unit #2. There are some cool shapes here and the materials are pretty cheap, but I thought I’d document the 1950s efforts. Below, we inserted a PSL into the ceiling to catch the joists, which will give us a flush ceiling surface. There was originally a dropped soffit between the kitchen and living room, which we’re opening up.
Above is the (foggy) view out over San Francisco. The scaffolding is up to install the new windows and siding. We opened up this view wall to have all sliding doors out to the balcony – previously there was a smallish window at waist-height. The balcony will have glass guard rails to maintain the view.
And despite our efforts, a few pesky pigeons have managed to infiltrate and set up roost! Ew…
More to come! (work, not pigeons)
Permits in hand, lot-split done, demolition has begun on the “1950s time capsule” as posted back in August. Kitchens, bathrooms, carpeting (ew), doors, windows, rotten framing, etc, all being torn out. Being a fan of most things mid-century, it’s been bittersweet to watch this phase. They’d probably have my head over at Save the Pink Bathrooms knowing what was done here! (we demo’d 5 of them) But we’re going at it green: we’ve found new homes for most of the furniture, cabinets, appliances, and cars (there were 2 ’60s T-birds and a Datsun in the garages). I couldn’t resist taking an aquamarine refrigerator to use as our liquor cabinet.
Some random objects among the dust and debris. The 1980 election bumper sticker is a sign of the last time this place was lived in – 30 years ago! The brown-green couch may look stylish, but its cushions are rock-hard. And then there’s that smell pictures can’t show…
Rough electrical is almost done, and rough plumbing has begun – we’re upgrading where it needs doing. There was a good amount of rot in the subfloor plywood which created a spongy walking experience.
There’s a long way to go with this remodel – as seen below the buildings are pretty cracked-out! No pun, the stucco is actually cracked. We’re in the process of ousting the nasty pigeons from the balconies. Those plywood ‘railings’ and flimsy windows’ days are limited. I really like the trees in the rear yard and we intend to keep them. More to come!