This project involved the expansion, interior renovation, and furnishing of an old cottage on a triple-wide lot with spectacular views in San Francisco. The project was completed in two phases, in step with the trajectory of the client’s life from bachelor to father of three. Initial, functional interior improvements were followed by a third-floor addition with comprehensive, sustainable, interior, exterior and landscape renovations.
The integrity of the original cottage had suffered a series of haphazard additions over a 100-year period. The design of the expanded house is a dialogue between old and new, combining clean lines and open spaces with the endearing and quirky characteristics of the original building such as its mid-lot siting, irregular footprint and rough-sawn paneling.
New high-performance wood windows and tall glazing at the central stair increased natural daylight and ventilation. Reclaimed wood floors from a 19th century barn add a warm patina consistent with the original cottage. Interior glass panels at the stair rails and entry canopy provide a light and planar contrast with naturally figured finishes. Limestone slabs at the fireplace and honed granite counters are vernacular while their square-edged profiles are decidedly modern. Rhythmic and refined metal railings, trellis details and chimney cladding provide a crisp counterpoint to the natural wood and stone forms. The variegated pattern of the new, FSC-certified cedar siding recalls the existing, interior wood paneling, adding a subtle historic texture to the modern exterior profile of the expanded building.