San Francisco

Photography: Paul Dyer

Architect Magazine
The Spruce

Eccentric Craftsman
A new staircase and entry pavilion made this mess of a house make sense.

This gut renovation of a dilapidated craftsman-style house saved its eccentric form and shape, while replacing its dark, gloomy interior with a light-filled contemporary space. The house reflects the clients’ artistic personalities, utilizing native materials and colors indigenous to their homeland to create a very personal, meaningful design.

A new, glassed-in entry set in the front garden welcomes visitors and leads directly to a new steel and glass staircase that extends the entire four floors of the house. Topped by a large operable skylight, the textured glass and white-painted steel staircase is a delight to walk up and is a sculptural presence in this otherwise simple interior. Up a half-level from the entry is the main family space consisting of an open living room, dining room, and a polygonal music room that offers perfect acoustics given its shape. A three-story addition at the rear allows for a great room with open kitchen, an expanded master suite at the second story, and a third-floor study with spectacular downtown views. The basement encompasses a “loud” room for drumming and impromptu jam sessions, a wine cellar, and access to the original two-car garage.

Sustainability was important to the client, and along with the standard green features such as solar, and radiant heating, a rain catchment system with 1,500-gallon tanks was installed in the basement for irrigation and gray water usage. Ultimately, the greenest feature of the house was to design it to be “right sized”, where the house was expanded only where functionally necessary, and every room has a purpose.