Among the directives for architect Erica Severns from her client, John Parker Willis, was “some chaos in the kitchen design” of his home in a converted San Francisco garage. In the 2,770-square-foot apartment, original I-beams brace the structure at dramatic angles and collide overhead, and the raw concrete is tempered by blackened steel, white-oak flooring, and bush-hammered Carrara marble—all selected by Willis.
Principal Jim Zack had an idea when he first saw a small cottage in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. The old cottage was situated on the far end of a 25-by-100 foot lot, and Zack knew the space would allow for two units. So, alongside Lise de Vito, the other principal of Zack | de Vito Architecture + Construction, the firm renovated the cottage and built a complementary second property. “We wanted to explore the idea of living small: how to put two detached houses on a lot that typically has one building,” Zack says.
In San Francisco’s Mission District, owners Zachary Scholz and Felisa Preskill fell in love with the potential of a 1954 home, despite it being just over 1,100 square feet and lacking the warmth and functionality they needed for their growing family. Initially a single level of living space over a garage, typical of many homes in San Francisco, they sought to increase their livable square footage by tapping into the unused potential of the cavernous garage below. The couple enlisted design team Seth Paré-Mayer and Kelli Franz of atelier KS to drive the transformation of the underutilized space into a new first-floor living level with a library, media room, and master suite.
What San Francisco complicates with limited parking and tricky slopes, it makes up for with stunning views of the Bay. That’s exactly the attitude a Noe Valley neighborhood homeowner brought to her remodel. San Francisco–based firm Studio VARA was contracted to transform a 1908 cottage with a history of incohesive alterations into a beautiful, practical 3,500-square-foot space.
Architect Karen Curtiss’s clients gave her only one mandate concerning the renovation of their early 20th-century cottage in San Francisco: convert the one-bedroom into a three-bedroom. Throughout the house, Curtiss mixed natural materials with industrial ones. Downstairs, fir and cedar wood on the doors and open-joisted ceiling balance the colder, industrial feel of the concrete floor and steel staircase railing.
Architect George Bradley and his husband, Eddie Baba, renovated a 1941 house in San Francisco. A painting by Richard Wright and a sofa by Paolo Piva for B&B Italia dominate the family room.
Architect Abigail Turin took her traditional 1925 San Francisco home and reimagined it with a contemporary interior while celebrating the house's existing details. Rather than indulge her impulse and strip away the home’s traditional flourishes—the French doors, baseboard trim, iron fixtures—she embraced them, creating what she calls “a dialogue between minimal detailing and a traditional backdrop.”