After raising two children in their modest San Francisco cottage, the owners, an artist and health care administrator, both in their early 70's, decided to give themselves a gift, replacing the undistinguished front of their house with a modern, welcoming design. This comprehensive renovation transformed a banal entry into a threshold of distinction.

The flat ground plane was reconstructed as a sculpted surface with programmatic, spatial and material differentiation. The clients wanted to feel like they were crossing a bridge from sidewalk to front door so an elevated walkway was constructed by depressing the construction around it. Opposing stairs, recessed planters and a sunken patio contribute to the experience of walking above the landscape below. Material selection reinforces the idea of programmatic separation: dark, flamed stone tile at the walking surfaces is distinct from lighter, integrally colored concrete stairs. Ipe furring is a warm liner for the workhorse concrete retaining walls: concealed utilities are accessed by blind panels. Voluminous plantings soften the edges of the walkway with bright green color and suggest an earthen floor below the "bridge".

The new façade is a sculpted, bas-relief made of wood, steel, aluminum, glass and tile. Divisions in function and material complement the landscape strategy. Large windows make the interiors bright and airy: privacy film and solar shades do not diminish the impact of the large openings on the interior. A new, deep-set clerestory window and glazed entry door at the basement bring light and air into the workshop below.

The cantilevered steel & glass canopy is a long horizontal counterpoint to the vertical plane of the facade. The canopy adds rain protection, lighting over the front door and expands the sense of architectural entry. Gray, acid-etched glass panels mellow the light. Coordinated openings at the front drip edge send water into the bright green ferns in planters below. Almost every inch was spoken for to meet structural and code requirements. The new entry design belies the technical and code challenges realized in the final project.

The clients asked for a new exterior that would be design-forward and functional. The renovation gave their house a youthful face in a youthful city and a place for their own artwork to find its home.

Cary Bernstein Architect uploaded Chenery through Add A Home.
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Modern home with Exterior, Metal Siding Material, Wood Siding Material, Concrete Siding Material, Glass Siding Material, and House Building Type. Chenery Facade Photo  of CheneryView Photos

Chenery Facade

Modern home with Outdoor, Walkways, Metal Patio, Porch, Deck, Pavers Patio, Porch, Deck, Wood Fences, Wall, Metal Fences, Wall, Gardens, Front Yard, Small Patio, Porch, Deck, Horizontal Fences, Wall, Wood Patio, Porch, Deck, Raised Planters, Tile Patio, Porch, Deck, Hardscapes, Concrete Patio, Porch, Deck, Stone Patio, Porch, Deck, Retaining Fences, Wall, Concrete Fences, Wall, Vertical Fences, Wall, and Landscape Lighting. Chenery - Entry Photo 2 of CheneryView Photos

Chenery - Entry

Modern home with Exterior, Glass Siding Material, Concrete Siding Material, Wood Siding Material, Metal Siding Material, and House Building Type. Chenery Facade Photo 3 of CheneryView Photos

Chenery Facade

Modern home with Outdoor, Pavers Patio, Porch, Deck, Horizontal Fences, Wall, Raised Planters, Walkways, Landscape Lighting, Concrete Fences, Wall, Small Patio, Porch, Deck, Concrete Patio, Porch, Deck, Retaining Fences, Wall, Stone Patio, Porch, Deck, Hardscapes, Metal Patio, Porch, Deck, and Metal Fences, Wall. Chenery - Patio Photo 4 of CheneryView Photos

Chenery - Patio

Modern home with Outdoor, Concrete Patio, Porch, Deck, Raised Planters, Wood Fences, Wall, Small Patio, Porch, Deck, Front Yard, Stone Patio, Porch, Deck, Metal Fences, Wall, Hardscapes, Metal Patio, Porch, Deck, Horizontal Fences, Wall, Concrete Fences, Wall, Gardens, Pavers Patio, Porch, Deck, Vertical Fences, Wall, Walkways, Landscape Lighting, and Wood Patio, Porch, Deck. Chenery - Stair Detail Photo 5 of CheneryView Photos

Chenery - Stair Detail

Modern home with Outdoor, Concrete Patio, Porch, Deck, Small Patio, Porch, Deck, Gardens, Landscape Lighting, Walkways, Retaining Fences, Wall, Concrete Fences, Wall, Hardscapes, Front Yard, Raised Planters, Wood Patio, Porch, Deck, Vertical Fences, Wall, Wood Fences, Wall, Metal Fences, Wall, and Metal Patio, Porch, Deck. Chenery - Stair Detail Photo 6 of CheneryView Photos

Chenery - Stair Detail

Chenery - Before Photo 7 of Chenery modern homeView Photos

Chenery - Before

Landscape Design
Builder
  • Gelling & Judd Construction, Inc.
Photographer
Style
  • Modern
  • Year
  • 2016
  • Square Feet
  • 250
  • Lot Size
  • 2500