Hart Wright Architects is fully restoring a 1909 San Francisco Victorian

This project shows the success of the collaboration between clients and architects that resulted in a beautiful and comfortable Victorian home in San Francisco.

San Francisco-based modern architecture firm Hart Wright Architects announces that they have completed a full renovation of a 1909 Victorian building in San Francisco’s recently designated Duboce Park Historic District. The house was extremely shabby and needed not only new foundations but willing partners to bring it back to life in the 21st century. The new owners, our clients, were just the right family to take on the property manager role.

As a team, we quickly figured out where major changes were needed to unlock the hidden potential of this classic Victorian San Francisco residence. As always, our goal with every project is to combine a warm, inviting modern interior with the local California climate. In this case, the back of the house faces south and the owners wanted plenty of easily accessible outdoor space. We set out to provide south-facing outside decks and balconies on all levels. The resulting layout required only minor changes to the building envelope, including a single story extension of 75 square feet to better flow the kitchen / dining area into the back yard and a simple dormer window from the front of the house to free up 600 square feet of unjustified roof space record effects on the historical nature of the facade. We now had 4 levels of occupied space, all with access to nature.

The key to this was prioritizing the stairwell in the middle of the house. The old staircase, like the rest of the house, was ready for a facelift. We renovated the existing main staircase with a new decorative metal railing and then stacked a new 3 flight staircase to reach the new attic. With functional skylights, we now have a dramatic three-story room where sunlight falls through the house to the newly redesigned entrance.

The new top floor level includes a family / media room, office and bathroom under a vaulted roof with large skylights to balance the light and naturally ventilate the building.

Although the new interior is completely modern, we retained many of the notions of the original house such as the painted decorative skins and a nod to decorative wallpaper, although both had a distinctive geometric twist. The play with geometric patterns continued in the choices made with fireclay tiles in the bathrooms and hexagonal stone in the kitchen.

At street level, the house’s Victorian character has been brutally overlaid with mid-20th century cedar shingles. We worked with SF to restore this facade down to the smallest detail. Remaining original “found” elements were discovered and stored to be exposed and cleaned. Missing components were re-manufactured to adapt them to the neighborhood structure.

It was a long and complicated process, but we believe the results speak for themselves.

The attic had a non-compliant staircase and the space up there wasn’t legalized. The clients decided to remodel this upper floor which required the design of a suitable staircase. This also required the construction of a dormer window to achieve the required headroom as the attic was the bottom of an equilateral triangle / 45 degree angled roof. We saved space by placing the new staircase above the lower staircase. With the efficiently stacked stairs we created a dramatic three story space. We designed a decorative steel railing and hung a sculptural lamp on a skylight that emits light from our new dormer window to the first floor. The attic received a new bathroom with a steam shower, an office and a media room with a south-facing outside balcony.

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