Chenery Street Remodel Update: Remodeled Bedrooms & Family Room

We planned on posting about the rest of this project weeks ago, but then we started a bunch of new projects and now it's already March and we are finally getting around to it. (See previous posts here and here and here for more info.)

So here we go:


The "boys bedroom" which is entered off of the living area and adjacent to the "girls bedroom"...


The "girls bedroom" which is also entered off of the living area. Notice those window details! We had custom Marvins' designed to match the original windows and they came out so well. We also LOVE the rug Regan Baker Design chose for this room...


And here is the master bedroom. There was a fireplace and built-ins where the king size bed is now. In order to fit everything in we had to remove those elements but we kept the cute little windows (which have original curved details matching the other bedroom windows, they are just blocked by the window shades in this photo).


This is the master bathroom which opens up to the bedroom and is connected by the closet. Yes you can see the camera in this shot! We like this unedited version of the photo because it's got that "behind the scenes" feel. 


This is the downstairs family/media/guest area. That huge white oak barn door opens up to the stair access to the upstairs where the kitchen, dining. living, bedrooms and bathrooms are. This was previously an unfinished, closed-off space and it looks so good now that everything is connected and finished. Behind the curtains is actually a huge set of exterior doors that opens to the side street. Like we said before, it's a unique property and it's cool to see it finished like this... you would have no idea looking at the home from the exterior that this is what the interior looks like. 


And the final shot, another view of the family room. In true "fauxdenza" style, we built a custom piece of white oak to cover the white floating media cabinets. We love the layered rugs, bright floor cushions and basket storage Regan Baker Design selected for this space. It's the details that bring a home to life and we love everything about this project!

*Sarah of Modern Kids Co, who is the preferred photographer of Regan Baker Design, took all of these beautiful photos.*

Chenery Street Remodel Update: Remodeled Entry, Hall, Living, Dining and Kitchen Spaces


This project wrapped up towards the end of 2015 and we are excited to finally be showing some of the final photos (See previous posts here and here for more details on the scope and planning of this remodel.) The above photo is of the entry foyer area at the ground floor. If you saw what the hallway to the left looked like previously... there were like three different floor heights and materials going on. This ground floor space was not shown much love and felt very hodge-podge, it's really nice to see it so clean and proper looking now!


When you take those stairs up to the second floor this is the upstairs entry area which is the first part of the long built-in storage wall that spans the entire open living space.


Above is a view looking back towards the entry. The farthest opening, where you can see the wood barn door peeking out on the right, is the entrance to the master suite (to the right) and office (to the left).

Btw, how cute is the styling in this photo?! Regan Baker Design spent two full days styling and shooting this home. I am so in love with those colorful little walnut-topped stools. 


Next to the entry stairwell is the kids/guest bathroom which we wrote about previously because we LOVE that pendant light RBD chose for over the vanity. At the very end of the space (right photo) there is a laundry area which was previously a lightwell. It's so nice to bring the laundry room up to the main floor if you can squeeze it in. We really believe these details are important, especially when you are doing a full house remodel... take advantage of having everything opened up and think about how to make everything as functional as possible!


Above is the middle run of built-in storage that faces the living area and includes a walnut-clad built-in desk.


Okay now we've turned around and are looking opposite the desk, at this awesome built-in seating area. How cozy and inviting is this!? This is another area of the home where if you saw the before photos... this was the dinning room and there were these two skinny windows here previously and the bottom half opened up to the fire/parapet wall along the property line outside. A totally different and way less inviting look! 

Fun fact: these new windows are actually fire windows. The building code does not allow regular windows within three feet of the property line but with special approval you can install fire windows. Although they are much more expensive then regular windows, it is totally worth it in a beautiful living space like this with city views. 


Here we are looking at the living and dining areas from the kitchen. So cozy and clean! Despite all of the windows it still feels really private too. We really love this house.


The dining area is perfectly calm and inviting. We thought about having sliding or bi-fold doors instead of windows... there is this tiny roof deck area outside there. But in the end the windows and slab door were the right choice. If we did do doors instead of windows we would have done glass only on the top half OR full lites but the bottom half frosted to conceal the roof top below. This wall is within 5' of the property line so only 25% of it can have glazing, which means we had to be careful how we maximized that and it was best to focus on the top half of the wall to capture the view. The pair of windows are also consistent with the rest of the home and create a nice rhythm that define each room. 


And here is the kitchen which is just around the corner and open/opposite to the dining area. This space was divided up into little rooms before but once we opened it up it was the perfect size for a kitchen. We love love love when everything fits on one wall plus an island. Having the windows and wall space open and with minimal upper cabinets feels so fresh and modern. Way less cluttered than most kitchens. With this layout we find it's best to have one good sized tall pantry cabinet to maximize storage. Also, a very cool existing feature in this home is the huge skylight which you can see in the right kitchen photo. It is massive and lets in lovely diffused light over the rear stairwell to the family room. The more natural light the better, always!!

This post is becoming a bit long so we will break it up and post the bedrooms and family room later this week. If you want to see all of the photos now (or prefer not to read our comments :) then head over to SF Design Build on Houzz.

*Sarah of Modern Kids Co, who is the preferred photographer of Regan Baker Design, took all of these beautiful photos.*

New Project! 12th Avenue Remodel

**After several days of perfect sunny weather, it is cold and rainy again in San Francisco. Which makes looking through cozy attic spaces even more enjoyable. We would love to spend the next rainy weekend lounging around with coffee and good books in any of the spaces in this post!**

Alright so these awesome clients have a gorgeous pre-earthquake Victorian home in the Inner Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco. While the main floor is a great space with the characteristic tall ceilings and original trim details and wood floors, the tiny attic space is an after-thought. There are these beautiful old wood stairs leading up from the entry to the attic which leads you to believe the space upstairs belongs to the home. But once you get up there the feeling is very different. A tiny barely usable bathroom sits in the middle dividing two small spaces each with a window. The head height is super low. No details or anything that feels original to the house. And this we will change!


It will take quite a bit of paperwork and permitting fun to get approved for this project, but what we have planned is super exciting. The idea is to leave the first 15' feet of the roof (for Planning code reasons) and then remove the rest and build a new large master suite with a roof deck and views of the golden gate bridge from the bath tub :) So when you walk up the stairs you will enter into this cozy little attic den space and then continue through a door that leads to a generously sized master suite with sleeping, lounging, bathing and dressing areas.

Dealing with the code requirements and paperwork is definitely not the fun part of of a remodel, so it's very important to take Pinterest breaks to stay inspired. Here are some images we are liking today:


Clockwise from top left:

1) beautiful exposed wood beams, sleek built-in storage, huge roof windows that make the space feel so much bigger, cozy fabric and white washed floors. (photo via vtwonen)

2) black & white contrast, refined built-in storage, bleached wood floors and that detail where the top of the built-in meets the ceiling. (photo via The Blueprint Effect)

3) we are really loving the idea of a fireplace for this space - and this one is so beautiful. That cozy pouf, the chair and the pop of yellow with the peak of winter through the window are also lovely. (photo via Design To Inspire)

4) window wall in black, white/gray wash floors, warm wood details. Note: we think it would be cool to paint the little pieces of wall to the left and the right of the window black to match. That would really focus the attention outside (at least in the winter with the white snow contrast). (photo via Arch Daily )

The white everything/Scandinavian inspired home has been over done in the design world, but you can keep things fresh by contrasting white with black or dark gray to keep it alive. It can also be nice to keep the more permanent elements fresh and classic and then use furniture and accessories for flavor and those can be more trendy and switched out as desired. 

More updates on this project soon!

14th Avenue Home Remodel: Final Project Photos

So in love with the final floor plan we came up with for this project and the process was so fun. The home flows so much better now, with a kitchen open to the dining room, new fireplace built-ins, a powder room off of the main hall and a "jack and jill" style full bath connecting the bedrooms. Natural light pours in from the south east exposure and park views are highlighted in the living and dining areas. So much better than the original layout with all of the dark little rooms. See this previous post for the existing and proposed floor plans. 


Something we specialize in, is taking an older more traditional home (often an SF Victorian) and making it more functional and modern, keeping enough of the existing elements that it blends seamlessly. This new built-in buffet is a great example of that. It's also a great example of our collaborative design-build process. Our clients met me at my home office one day to review some design details and had an idea to do something with this long wall space (previously a dark hallway) and we came up with this great buffet recessed into a closet in the bedroom. We were able to make the closet space more functional and add this beautiful and functional built-in. 

Here are the fireplace built-ins. Previously the fireplace wall was flat and there was a long awkward closet space behind the wall. I'm always looking for clever ways to add storage and this was the perfect opportunity. 

This is the powder room we fit into a closet space. Adding a bathroom to a small space can be tricky, you need to make sure all of the code clearances are met while still keeping it functional and open feeling. Clean white walls and tile, wall-hung toilet and sink, and a shelf for toiletries all make the space work. The gray hex tile floor adds some contrast and interest.

My talented friend Sarah Owen did the styling for the photo shoot, she has the magic touch and I can't wait to work with her again! And of course, gorgeous interior photos by Rob J Photography

Chenery Street Remodel: Project Update

The last time we posted about this project was November 2014, almost a whole year! It ended up growing and becoming bigger than expected, which happens often with remodels. And now the construction is finally starting to finish up and the home owners are moving in. The upstairs is pretty much done, except for the windows. We are replacing the beautiful existing wood windows with new custom Marvin's to match and those will be arriving later this week.


We love how the kitchen turned out. It was originally on the other side of the house, but this location made much more sense. It allows for the open dining and living area to be one big flexible space. Perfect layout for a young family of four. 

It's hard to believe now, but when we first stepped foot into this house, it was filled with small rooms and lots of walls and doors. The windows were mismatched and the view was not fully captured. Even with all of the walls and doorways, there were just three bedrooms and one bathroom, along with a kitchen, dining and small living space. The client wanted two kids bedrooms, a master suite and an office, along with a larger living space that captured the surrounding views.

This was one of our favorite projects to space plan and we came up with lots of fun ways to make this space work better (check out this post for more details on that process). One of the coolest things about this house is that it is on a corner and situated in a way that natural light pours in from all sides. We knew we wanted to add larger windows and more skylights to capture all of the different light levels. 


Here are some rough shots of the guest/kids bathroom. We are so in love with that pendant light and how the blue lines play with the blue geometry of the floor tiles. The secret sauce to all of the finish details on this project is local designer, Regan Baker. We love their style!


This storage wall turned out excellent. This was added towards the end of the design phase and based on the fact that there was no great place to add a storage room. Luckily this long wall leant itself so well! It extends from the entry/master suite area to the corner of the kitchen and includes entry storage, a desk space with file storage in the middle as well as additional kitchen storage for the end closest to the kitchen/dining area. This doesn't often work in San Francisco because the lots are so narrow it can be hard to widen a hallway enough to add storage. Fortunately it worked perfectly in this home with an unusual lot size and opportunity for a wide hallway.


Beautiful walnut wrapped nook (minus the cushions). It all came together so nicely and there were many details involved! From window sizes, heights, trim styles and colors. This was an important element because we wanted to capture the view without highlighting the adjacent rooftops.


Here is a shot of the master bathroom w/ another gorgeous pendant light. We added skylights over each tub/shower which is one of our favorite things to add to a bathroom. Natural light is so important!

You can see from these photos that the overall palette was neutral with lots of white, wood, metals and some gray. We are excited to see the finished space with all of the furniture and design details!

New Kitchen Remodel Project & Designing with Lightwells

This project is located in an in-between neighborhood: between Mount Davidson and Glen Park, below Diamond Heights.

It's a single family home with a garage and storage at the first floor and kitchen, bath and two bedrooms at the second floor. Like most San Francisco homes, it looks bigger on the outside than it feels on the inside. There is barely any rear yard space, but there is a very cool exterior feature: an interior lightwell. Which sounds a bit confusing.

Usually lightwells are positioned at the side of the home and look like rectangular cut-outs between two adjoining buildings. Their purpose is to bring in much needed natural light to the sides of homes. Since most of San Francisco homes are so close together, light comes in from the front and back windows, leaving the space at the center of the home in the dark. Lightwells help solve this problem.

This lightwell is located in the center of the main living space, currently dividing the kitchen, dining and living areas. Existing floor plan:


With the existing plan there are so many walls around the lightwell that when inside the home, the lightwell blends in. There's this lovely exterior space accessible from the center of the home, except it's surrounded by walls and mismatched windows and without anything green and alive that suggests an exterior space. Fortunately, the kitchen remodel is an opportunity to change all of this.

Scroll through the images below to see the first round of layouts for the remodel. The main idea is to move the kitchen and open up the space around the lightwell. Simplify to amplify. 


These clients are not super modern, but they do have an eclectic taste.  I'm thinking more traditional looking windows/doors in wood with large panels of glass. These are my lightwell inspirations for this remodel: 


Once we've decided on a layout it will be time to move into the kitchen. I'm excited to see how that will blend into this new open space. More updates to come.

New Design Project: 14th Avenue Home Remodel

New Project! We love space planning. When you are doing remodels it's like a puzzle and everything needs to fit together perfectly. Here are the existing and final client approved floor plans + bath elevations:


And here are the other floor plan options we reviewed (the final is a combination or options E and G):


Design Project: St. Francis Wood Kitchen + Basement Remodel

We started this project a year ago in December of 2013. We met the clients and it was a great match and things just kept moving quickly. 

The biggest challenge with this project was relocating the interior stairs. The original home layout was made up of a bunch of little rooms with different ceiling heights as well as various door sizes and styles. They have a beautiful view and lots of great light and we knew we wanted to do a much better job of capturing both. We also wanted to connect the backyard directly to the living space. The dream situation being a large family kitchen that opens to the rear yard and living and dining spaces with tons of natural light and a view... 

... And we did it! Check out the floor plans for the before (existing) and after (proposed).


... And the final photos here:


Design Project: Elsie Street Master Suite Remodel

We started this project in January of this year. We met the clients and it was a great match and things just kept moving along nicely. Here are the finished photos:


This one is pretty straight forward. We combined two bedrooms to make one large master bedroom. We opened up the bathroom to create a more expansive feel with a free standing tub. We also enlarged the hall closet and master closet and added a beautiful gas fireplace.

Check out the floor plans for the before (existing) and after (proposed).


Other cool things to note:

  • radiant heating in the bathroom floors
  • new hardwood floors throughout
  • sliding bard door to bathroom
  • new glass and steel stair railing 

New Design Project: Chenery Street Remodel

We started this project in May. This is a two unit home and we are remodeling the entire top floor unit. The clients need functional, flexible space for a young family of four. To achieve this we will remove all of the dividing walls in the public space of the house and relocate the kitchen. We will also add a new full mater bath and closet to the master bedroom and a laundry room to the guest/kid's bathroom. More windows and skylights will bring in even more beautiful natural light, which will be carried down into the ground floor unit since we are removing the wall around the back stairs.

Less walls + more natural light = a happy home. 

Here's the existing + proposed floor plans from our construction documents:


And here are the beautiful renderings:


And just for fun here are some alternate layout options we played around with (note the third bathroom we considered squeezing in between the children's bedrooms as well as the different ways we played around with the public spaces):


Construction starts as soon as we have our permits by the end of November which means finished photos will be up in 6 months!

Octavia Street Remodel: Project Summary

This project is done!

I'll start with the finished photos because they are beautiful (Whistle photography)


This was a great project from start to finish. A complete finish and fixture remodel, but even though we went down to the studs, we did not move any walls. That's pretty rare for one of our San Francisco remodels, but this is a unique home that was previously updated with a very nice open layout. The fireplace was also added during a previous update and I absolutely love it. 

Other cool features include:

  • the Neolith counters which is a new material. Looks like concrete and is stronger and more durable than granite or engineered quartz surfaces. It also has a super clean installation so the edge matches the cabinet (without the need for a more traditional over hang.)
  • That faucet! This is a Kohler Karbon faucet. LOVE.
  • The pendant lights + Heath backsplash and shower tiles.
  • The home owner's awesome furniture + art: I love the colors of the space and the overall masculine feel. 
  • The gorgeous wide-plank white oak hardwood floors.

And lastly, here's the proposed floor plan of the entire space:


It's a nice overall layout. If I could go back in time and re-spaceplan there are a few things I would do:

  • Put the bathroom between both bedrooms: it's usually preferable to have the bathroom closer to the bedrooms and farther from the kitchen. Moving the bathroom would also allow for a more even division of square footage in the bedrooms.
  • Push back the kitchen (made possible by moving the bathroom) so that the dining and living space is larger. 
  • Note: I believe the original plan for the front room may have been a family room space, which is why it is so large and has the double doors. That would make more sense because typically you want more space in the public/living areas than in the private/bedroom areas. 
  • I would also recess the appliances into the pantry area for the cleanest possible look 

Henry Street Remodel: Project Summary

This project is done!

I'll start with the photos and get into some more details below (Colin Price Photography)


This super cute little house was previously just one story over the garage. We added a large master suite and laundry room to the ground floor and seamlessly connected that to the existing stairs at the entry. Then we took down all the walls in the public spaces upstairs to create one large kitchen, living and dining room. We also remodeled and expanded the upstairs bathroom and updated the hallway, lightwell patio area and closets. So basically, this is an "everything remodel".

Some cool stuff to note:

  • The natural lighting! The existing space was dark on both floors. The property faces North so it receives almost all indirect sunlight. After we opened the walls, added skylights and a larger south facing lightwell window upstairs and a glass door with transom and larger windows downstairs, the difference is pretty dramatic. 
  • That lovely tub set an angle. 
  • Large glass backsplash next to the fridge opens the space even more.
  • The additional storage cabinet almost hidden in the bathroom wall. We like to utilize every bit of space, especially in the bathroom where a typical vanity is not enough storage.
  • The master bath floor tiles that look like wood planks. I've been seeing this all over the place and really love this style. They are especially nice with radiant heating installed underneath. 

And here are the existing and proposed floor plans: