Mike McDonald, an Oakland, California–based builder, faced a common problem for Bay Area homeowners: an aesthetically pleasing, historically significant, but structurally shaky Victorian. A full renovation was in order, as was a solid fix to a fragile foundation. With a boom of new construction afoot in Oakland’s Uptown neighborhood—a good indicator is the Whole Foods under construction a few blocks away—McDonald wanted to both preserve the charm of his 1892 abode and make an architectural gesture that would firmly plant the 115-year-old building in the 21st century. He also needed new shared office space for his construction company, McDonald Construction and Building, and oft-collaborator, designer, and architect-to-be Ian Read’s Level Four Studio. Finding an answer to McDonald’s problems would require a little heavy lifting.
Aaron writes the men's style column "The Pocket Square" for the San Francisco Chronicle and has written for the New York Times, the Times Magazine, Newsweek, National Geographic and others.