Rejuvenation of a Historic House
Rejuvenation of a Historic House
Located on an idyllic, tree-lined street in San Francisco’s prestigious Presidio Heights neighborhood, this four-story, brick Italianate house was originally built in 1907 for the Sutro family and offers breathtaking views of the Presidio Park and the Golden Gate Bridge beyond.
Our clients, a busy family with young children, hired us for a substantial renovation and addition project that included a new two-story kitchen and family room wing, restoration of the main entertaining rooms, a complete reconfiguring of the upper bedroom floors, and an overall re-imagining of the house for contemporary life. Collaborating again with the ever-energetic Miles Redd for the house’s interior decoration and San Francisco-based landscape designer Elizabeth Everdell for the restoration of the house’s impressive gardens, the team sought to return the property to its original grandeur, honoring its historic soul, while incorporating essential updates to make it comfortable and functional for modern day family living.
For the exterior restoration, we preserved and salvaged much of the original red brick facade, carefully matching it with new reclaimed brick for the additions, all while protecting the beloved fig vine that climbs much of the exterior walls of the house. New windows and doors were fitted into existing openings and new iron terrace railings and Juliette balconies replaced those that had fallen into disrepair. The house was also seismically upgraded to insure its further longevity.
The house’s front entry loggia, charmingly painted in Trompe L’oeil by Agustin Hurtado for Miles, opens into an airy central gallery space that serves as the house’s entry hall. We lined one side of the room with new bronze and glass doors to fill the space with natural light. The classical bones of the space were also restored with new moldings and elegant door surrounds that open into beautifully proportioned rooms for entertaining, including a library, dining room, and living room, and a grand, skylit staircase, newly restored, that ascends up three floors.
The living room, with its dramatic views of the San Francisco Bay, is lined in a celadon silk wall upholstery by Miles Redd, punctuated by cozy seating groups, tall bookcases, and collections of drawings and paintings on the walls. Miles also installed the vibrant green chinoiserie scenic wallpaper in the dining room, and lacquered the adjacent butler’s pantry in a deep blue.
We added a new mantel to the original library on this floor, and restored the original faux bois paneling that had been installed by the California decorator Michael Taylor years ago.
The large new kitchen, breakfast, and family rooms— part of our new addition to the house and the new center of family life there—are light and airy with 10-and-a-half-foot tall windows that overlook the lush garden below and the Bay beyond. An enormous tufted leather banquette and table anchor the breakfast room and are the perfect spot for the children’s many projects.
Our work also included the complete renovation of the house’s lower level with new mudroom, playroom, pantries, guest suite, and music practice room for the husband and his band.
On the house’s upper levels, we completely reorganized the plan creating a large master suite, additional guest rooms, and bedrooms and baths for each of the children. This complex and extensive project took over three years to plan and execute, including successfully navigating the, at times, Byzantine approvals process for the Bay Area.
Throughout the house, Miles Redd’s signature maximalist approach to color, antiques, and art has infused the house with a youthful spirit of fun, adding personality and pizzazz to the traditional “bones” we restored. The house is once again modern yet classic, glamorous yet family friendly, all at the same time.