The Owners bought the house as their return to the City after living in the suburbs to raise a family. Set on a gritty Alley on the south slope of Telegraph hill, the 835-square foot house was clearly too small for them and their occasional guests. In addition, the layout of the Victoria era house (with a restored façade after a fire in the 1940’s) was not conducive to the open plan living they desired. At one time the house enjoyed a good amount of light and air, but over the years it had become engulfed by taller and denser buildings. The challenge was not only to gain light but also to capture the views blocked by the neighboring buildings.
At the rear of Lower Level, and partially sunken to gain ceiling height, the Master Bedroom Suite is located for privacy and quiet. To expand the depth of the Lower Level, the adjacent Courtyard is treated like a room, with walls, but no ceiling. The dark stained wood boards of the rear façade turn and extend along the side and rear property lines.
At the Upper Level, the Living spaces have been relocated to the rear of the house to capture light and partial views through a new wall of glass. Connecting the levels is a new stairway. This vertical spine (periscope) projects up onto the roof to access a new Sunroom-Roof Deck. These rooftop spaces fully capture the spectacular views while blurring the line between interior and exterior space.
The Living-Dining Room with a wall of glass for light and partial views and a hedge of bamboo beyond for privacy.
The existing facade of the house along the Alley was preserved and restored. The vertical addition at the rear of the house: the Periscope, is not visible from the Alley.
The new stairway, which leads up to the Sun Room-Roof Deck and down to the Master Bedroom Suite. A fireplace adds heat and ambiance to the room.
The house in context.
The Sun Room and Roof Deck are treated as one room, with the same colored concrete paver flooring and a cantilevered steel frame overhead defining the space. The homeowners chose outdoor furniture to add to the blurred effect of inside and out.
The view of the San Francisco skyline from the Sun Room.
The homeowner in the efficient Kitchen.
The rear facade with a wall of glass to capture light and the view.
At the rear of the Lower Level, and partially sunken to gain ceiling height, the Master Bedroom Suite is located for privacy and quiet. To expand the depth of the Lower Level, the sunken Courtyard is treated like an additional room, but with no ceiling. The dark stained wood boards of the rear facade turn and extend along the side and rear property lines to define the space.
Lower Level Entry Foyer with view to the rear yard and bamboo beyond.
The Site: Telegraph Hill, San Francisco