Tag Archives: modern remodel

castro corner house

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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. img_9947

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! img_0130

here the 6′ tall new concrete is furred out to allow for bathroom plumbing to run inside. img_0356new 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. 🙂 img_0664from 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.. img_0660a 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!

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bay view house continued

remodelConstruction continued despite the wet weather this Spring (but, we need the rain!). The second floor of the house took shape quickly, with the new rooms sitting over the expanded first floor. studsA couple shots of the on-site studs. On the left is the view when you walk in the front door, looking up to an overlook balcony, and the kitchen will sit below. The right photo is the master bathroom with an angled wall that follows the property line. mill valley remodelmill valley house2 views at the front of the house a few weeks apart. New french doors and sidelights were installed in the new master bedroom. bedroom view The view from the bedroom doors is pretty sweet, down through the bay to the city. spray foam insulationThe vaulted ceilings of the house have spray-foam insulation, letting us avoid a tricky venting requirement at the eaves and ridges for the long roof runs. steel beamA view across the rear part of the house past the stairs to the new family room with multi-slide doors. volvo 240Here’s a view of NormaJean the volvo looking up at the two projects we’ve done, side-by-side. house wrapshingle styleTwo photos taken at the rear yard several weeks apart. The shingles are being installed and they really make the house look finished. Tina’s crew at Builder Girl is doing a really great job.The large steel window at the staircase is from Torrance. steel windowThe steel window will be a dramatic statement at the staircase, seen from everywhere on the lower floor and yard, and from the bedroom hallway above. master bathroomThe master bathroom, in two directions. The shower with its round window facing the street – the bottom half obscured for privacy of course. The other end of the room has a skylight above to bring light down along the wall, to the spot where the bath tub will be. Really exciting to see finishes coming along! Kress Jack is working alongside us on the finishes, and it seems like the finish line is in sight – though distant still. Stay tuned for more!

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bridge to somewhere

STEEL BEAM

I thought I’d start with this image although taken some time ago, is a little indicative of my daily work experience. i.e. balancing my workload high above everyone’s heads with imminent danger (drama) looming, sometimes in my sperry top-siders and members-only jacket, but usually in plaid. It takes stains better. yuk yuk yuk We’re on one of two steel c-channels that form the ‘bridge’ in this house. RECLAIMED REDWOOD

A few weeks later it looked like this once all the sheetrock was in place, looking toward the back of the house. We’re all really excited about this element / focal point of the home, and as mentioned in an earlier post we reused attic redwood framing to make the walkway of the bridge.SHAKER STYLE KITCHEN

A view looking in the opposite direction at the kitchen, some cabinetry installed, and the front door off to the left. At the right side of the kitchen is the light shaft with a skylight at the top, and will have a glass panel to close it off but let light through. STAIRCASE

Here’s a look at the main stair that connects all 3 levels. After we shifted the rooms around the old walnut floor border had to be redone to make sense in the new spaces.

STEEL RAILING

The lower stair was at first enclosed below but we decided to open up the triangle of space to let some light through as you walk down that lower run. The steel railing is in place in the photo but the wood hand grip isn’t in yet.

VICTORIAN TRIM

On the left I’m holding up old wood casing against two windows that meet in the corner…clearly we couldn’t use this 6″ wide trim – we went with a flat stock. On the right is a steel post, part of a moment frame at the front of the building that we left exposed right next to the original wood window trim. We like the contrast!  I was thrilled that these clients were as excited as I was to leave the unfinished steel exposed. I’ve tried to work this into a few projects but it’s often been covered up. Who doesn’t want a hulking steel beam in their house to brag about?BARN LIGHT

Fast forward a few weeks, this is a view looking up at the bridge and loft, with a nice round barn light in the foreground.

BRIDGE

Here’s a view looking out along the bridge once the owners have moved in. The guard rails were custom-built by a local fabricator, with 1/4″ x 1/4″ solid square pickets. The pendant lights along the bridge hallway were powered off to one side, so we wouldn’t have to run wiring through the center ridge beam. The lights are just swagged over and hung off the beam by a hook.

DINING TABLE

And a view looking over the edge past a barn light down to the dining table.  Below is a partial exterior view; nothing much changed at this facade since it is ‘potentially historic’. The one change we did manage to sneak in was to replace a missing wood ‘flower’ ornament that the owner noticed upon moving in! See in the red circle – it’s back in place! I encouraged the owners to go with a monochrome paint color; originally tried to get them to do black or dark grey but I’m happy with the sugar-cube look as well. Stay tuned, portfolio shots coming soon!  WHITE PAINTED HOUSE

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ice storm…stairs and such

skylight shaft

There’s a light at the end of this tunnel*…this is a skylight shaft over one of the bathrooms.  Bright & cheery it will be, a nice place to put your face on morning or night.

french doorsThe house is insulated, and sheetrock has arrived for install.  French doors & sidelights in the living room looking out to the deck.peninsula fireplaceAbove is the ‘peninsula’ gas fireplace that sits between the living and dining rooms, and the temporary stair – ladder.

steel stringerHere is the upper run of the stairs being installed. We used a steel stringer to attach the aluminum CR Laurence base ‘shoe’ for the glass railings that will go up both flights of stairs and around the balconies. The shoes (silver strip toward bottom of pic) have to attach to steel, from what I know. railing shoeA close-up of the shoe on the upper balcony. It’s attached to the tube-steel that is bolted to the wood PSL, so that the shoe will be aligned with the flooring and it will look (fingers crossed) as though the glass starts from the floor with no support.stair risersJumping ahead a few days here is the stair with treads initially installed. I had pushed for an open-riser stair in this house, since you walk in and see the bottom of the stair from the front door. But I was overruled by the Feng Shui consultant, who explained that energy would flow right through with nothing (such as risers) to stop it. So we have risers. stair landingA view from the living room toward the front door and up the stairs. We originally were to have a low wall or railing at the square landing bottom of stairs, but decided to nix it and extend the bottom step all the way across so you can walk up or down into the room.side viewA view from the park next door. We painted the bay window entirely the same dark bronze color as the windows. The window layout is original on this side.solar panelsA view from above the house you can see the solar panel standoffs on the flat part of the roof. On the left is the new shed dormer at the front. shed dormerHere’s the shed dormer that replaces the 2 former hobbit dormers.  stucco shedAt the back of the house the new stucco siding is going on, and in the yard we have a small shed / outbuilding / meditation hut.  Much more to share – stay tuned! *There is indeed a light at the end of the tunnel – we are determined to have the owners moved in by Christmas.  ho ho ho! 

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San Francisco bungalow progress

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.

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Filed under bungalow remodel

san francisco bungalow

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 : )

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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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Filed under Laurel Heights House