Tag Archives: san francisco remodel

art deco house

marina styleThis otherwise ‘Marina-style’ house had some art-deco reminiscent details in it so that’s what I’m calling it. (marina-style typically has a garage and unfinished basement area at ground level with the living space on the second floor.)  Look at the front: we didn’t make any changes here, I really wouldn’t know what to do without ripping off those tiles – or paint them charcoal grey – is that possible? My clients said that in their search for a home they liked yellow houses because they look happy – I like that thought!

redundant hallwayThe house had a few challenges, one was the redundant circulation seen above – you could walk down a hallway or take a parallel route through adjacent rooms to get to the bedrooms and bathroom at the back. large bathroomSecond, the only bathroom was big enough to be split into two (it had that typical low-ceilinged shower stall) winder stairThird, the stair was narrow and wound down into the garage. basementYou had to walk through the garage to get to the tall basement space at the back.rear yardThe previous owner installed a garage door to the yard which I liked, but we ended up redesigning with non-garage doors. The new owners wanted a better connection between floors, a finished usable first floor, master bath and new guest bath downstairs.  I thought, who needs two hallways? and decided to drop the new stair directly down through the hallway floor. old hallwayHere’s a view of the hallway, with the other rooms to the side after we opened up the wall. low wallA view from the other end – cut stairs– and then right after the floor was cut out and the new stair put in.  Voila!  Direct connection down with comfortable stairs, opened rooms and finishing out the first floor…still in progress..new stairA view down to the lower floor to see the light coming in from the back yard.   Stay tuned, more to come!

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the ice storm

Yes, this is not real stone.  It’s a nice representation of a (burnt?) stone wall, with several parking options for your late 70s cars, and – as an afterthought, let’s stick a front door on there for grins. One of the worst Hobbit-hole entrances I’ve ever seen..   This is the first house in San Francisco I’ve worked on that’s younger than me – but not by much!  Started in 1979 and completed in 1980, this house is an ode to all things brown and mirrored.  Walking through made me think of the Ice Storm. hot fireplace, curving hearth…you can see your casserole dinner in reverse…

We don’t mind this though – the wet bar!  It stays.  (there are two of them in the house…) The awesome tile, and the padded cabinetry so you don’t knock your knees when going in for cocktail no.4. A second fireplace – leftover stone from the facade?  Typical doorknob throughout the house…Off the back of the house there’s an enclosed patio, with covered hot tub in the corner, kitchenette and bathroom.  We think it’s pretty groovy, a nice private enclosed space (would love to have seen a party here in 1980), but definitely in need of updating.  We’re opening it up quite a bit too. The dreaded fire escape, as seen from the patio.  It’s a goner!  All these 70s treatments aside, the house has a lot of space, good bones, and sweeping views of the Marin Headlands and Twin Peaks – the reasons why the family bought it.  We’re well into demo now – check back for more progress….to the studs!

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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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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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duboce triangle framing

The framing is almost complete on the condo project.  You can walk through each unit and see the layouts, the rooms, the windows.  Lately I’ve been digging through the jobsite to secure some of the remaining old redwood framing to reuse on the interior.   Much of it has already been reused in new wall framing.We set some of the windows pretty high because on this urban lot the views are really up and out, not down (into adjacent yards / clotheslines). There’s the fog rolling in – but this western view shows the amount of light that will pour in.  The future’s so bright, [you] gotta wear shades This top floor view looking south to a distant hill. There will be wall-to-wall multiple-sliding doors in this opening out to a small deck.  Most of the condos are duplex (two-floor) setups with the living spaces on the top floor and bedrooms down below.  Given the choice we opted to provide better views and light to the rooms where you typically have your eyes open… This window looks up the street – makes for a nice perspective drawing. Some various scenes out of windows showing the range of each condo’s views. Above are shots looking down a new stair and a long skylight above another stair.More to come!

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duboce triangle urban views

Views:  this is urban living so we see our neighbors and that’s part of the experience in a city we love.  Duboce Triangle condos, well into framing.  The exterior walls have been significantly peeled away to pick up views, bring in light and create outdoor decks.  This is the new third floor that was inserted in the upper area of what used to be a double-height space.  The brick church and steeple dominate this southeast view.
Urban archeology:  when we cut open the massive wall on the east side we discovered there was a green building behind it.  Hi neighbor! The cut area will provide a recessed area for windows and a small deck on the lower level.   Looking west, much of the perimeter wall has been cut away for new decks and windows, leaving this remnant segment.  Not only will this create comfortable interior living spaces but it’s improving the neighbors’ experience by reducing the overall massive bulk of this building. Here is another west view at the surprisingly symmetrical arc of Buena Vista Park.  Another view to the west, toward Corona Heights with the summer fog starting to roll in…studs!  Reused old redwood framing in a future hallway.  Here’s a view of an existing alley between this and a neighboring building toward the street.  The photo was taken from a new deck that was formerly a solid property line wall. Looking out the front of the building which is located at a T intersection.  This is a section of the existing fascia that was removed as part of the remodel.  Some interest has been expressed in this mistakenly described ‘historic’ element, which as seen is nothing more than chips of wood tacked on to evoke dentils.  Nothing more than a painted wood wafer…..….for the birds!  More to come!

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basement remodel

Things are wrapping up down in the basement first floor – the homeowners have started moving back into the remodeled spaces gradually, even holding a graduation party in the new family room!  The window above is a new one, high above the stair landing, facing south = lots of sunlight.  The 8′ tall french doors out to the deck bring in the views and light, facing east and a forested hill beyond.  Interior shot above, exterior shot below (in case there’s any confusion…)

The stairs from below in the family room.  The ledge was clad in the same wood / nosing as the stairs – a good place to sit.  The handrail is temporary, installed for the party.  The stair landing above, I’ve been told, is where karaoke performances will take place viewed from the family room, hence the spotlights.  I’ve already got some songs picked out!  (Note that this project is more traditional than I normally do – I was happy to be involved in the overall design, space development, windows/doors/stair/etc, but the owners are choosing the finishes.  “Provence goes to Mexico” was how she described the overall feel she was going for. )  Above, the wet bar at one end of the family rm, perfect for entertaining with sink, dishwasher and min-fridge. The second-floor living room, now almost doubled in size.  The opening overlooks the new stair to the first floor.  This area and two windows at the corner used to be a bedroom, which was combined with the dining room about where I’m standing to create one large living room.  Good scale!  (The former living room will now be used for dining.)This last photo is of two skylights poking through a small deck off of the kitchen.  One goes to the laundry rm and one to the bathroom at the first floor.  A good way to get light into what would have been windowless rooms, and as you can see they do get good sunlight.  This deck will be used mainly for grilling and potted herbs.  Maybe herbs de Provence!

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