Parkside Family Remodel Hero

Location: San Francisco, CA
Program: Remodel and loft addition to 1930’s vintage home
Area: 1950sf + garage
Images: Joseph Schell
Structural Engineer: Puns & Associates

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Parkside Family Remodel

Viewed from the street, the house is a traditional and pristine home in one of San Francisco’s western neighborhoods that slope gently to the ocean. Inside, however, unfolds a surprisingly open, eclectic, contemporary, and family-friendly design on three levels. The design melds inventive artistic features with classic elements of a 1931 California Mediterranean house. It is a dialogue between the past and an evolving present. 

A small interior lightwell yields to a new staircase with gently angled wall that, in turn, yields headroom. The remodeled kitchen re-uses the home’s original cabinetry and is united by a sinuous poured-in-place concrete countertop with a cylindrical sink made from a restaurant grade pasta bowl allowing 270 degrees of access. While the style reflects artistry, the design is always functional. 

A sunny breakfast room features a hand painted ceiling by the artist-owner and a suspended light made from a colander.   

Passing through the living room to the perfectly square skylit dining room in the center of the plan reveals a staircase inserted into a former lightwell that connects the upper and lower levels. The dining room features another whimsical light fixture composed of copper plumbing pipe and cages meant for candles. 

Beyond the kitchen and dining room, the rear of the house is zoned for private use with four bedrooms and two bathrooms. A dramatic bathroom is a composition of slate and mirror with a transparent counter and an open shower. Two bedrooms complete the second floor plan while a sculptural Oak and Fir ship’s ladder leads to a sunny loft with a finished skewed plywood ceiling. 

The original Douglas fir floor framing below is cleaned and neatly exposed downstairs that provides a primary suite and small office separated by simple barn doors of OSB. Down the open stairway from the main level with its gently sloped wall yielding headroom, is a media room and the primary bedroom, both drawing light from the garden through a glass wall. The ceiling exposes the house’s original Douglas fir floor joists and subfloor, cleaned and carefully devoid of unsightly wiring or plumbing. Form fuses with function with sliding privacy walls of simple OSB, stained concrete floors, and Japanese Tansu-like cabinetry integrated into the staircase. The colorful Moroccan inspired sky-lit primary bath reveals an oversized soaking tub. 

In addition to numerous alterations and upgrades made over time, insulation was added throughout the house and a photo-voltaic array installed. 

The home is an ongoing conversation between its restored past evolving current occupants. Old is honored and new is expressed in an often idiosyncratic and whimsical manner that emphasizes humanity over formal composition.