San Francisco

Photography: Paul Dyer

Architect Magazine

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

This was a gut renovation of a dilapidated craftsman-style house, saving 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 exotic materials and colors 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. Topped by a large operable skylight, the glass treads and white structure are a sculptural presence in this otherwise simple interior. Up a half-level, the main family space; complete with a polygonal music room (perfect acoustics). 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, the clients installed a rain catchment system with 1,500 gallon tanks 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 necessary, and every room has a purpose.