Glen Park designed for living inside and out

link January 14, 2017 / News
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Clockwise from this page: For a San Francisco home, CCS Architecture formed a foyer gallery, with a pivoting red front door, in which a framed cast plaster panel, “Still Life With Fruit”
by Matthew Palladino, hangs above a bench that contains slippers for guests; the charred cedar exterior is comple- mented with a tall entry porch lined with back-painted red glass; a bleached Douglas r wood staircase, with side walls perforated for display niches, goes from the foyer to the third oor, inter- rupted only by a second- oor landing.

outside the box

A SAN FRANCISCO HIDEOUT, WHOSE SPARE, ART-FILLED INTERIOR OPENS TO SPECTACULAR VIEWS, A TIERED GARDEN AND DECKS, IS DESIGNED FOR LIVING INSIDE AND OUT.

BY ZAHID SARDAR PHOTOGRAPHS BY ERIC LAIGNEL

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IN A FAST-PACED DIGITAL WORLD,

disruption is a virtue. So although this 1930s house in San Francisco’s verdant Glen Park area had been extensively remodeled in 2012, its new owner, a 28-year-old tech entrepreneur, wanted to make further changes.

e four-story, 4,000-square-foot building on a steep up-sloping hillside had four bedrooms, a media room, several bathrooms, a panoramic view of the city and bay, and easy access to Silicon Valley. But its un nished backyard, gray stucco exterior, gray-stained oak oors, walnut casework and hemmed-in hallways were all unremarkable.

To put his stamp on what is the very rst home he has called his own, the young owner enlisted the help of Akemi Tamaribuchi Reed, his former hairstylist, who is now his design touchstone.

“My role is very atypical,” Reed, who heads a lifestyle consultancy rm called Subject to Change, explains.

e backyard, only accessible via a footbridge o the fourth- oor living spaces, was a priority, so, in 2013, Reed got landscape designers John and Danielle Steuernagel of the San Francisco rm Sculpt to work on it. en came architect Cass Calder Smith, whose New York/San Francisco–based rm CCS Architecture was hired to rethink the ooring and the staircase, which rises in a straight line between the foyer and the third oor before it switches back to go up to the fourth oor. Before long, the project scope grew to include the interiors and the facade.

Working alongside each other, both teams dovetailed their design exper- tise to craft a seamless indoor/outdoor living space.

John Steuernagel, who grew up in New Jersey with a father in the ower nursery business, started Sculpt in 2003. Many unique gardens ensued, including one for a blind man, but access-wise, none as chal- lenging as the one in Glen Park.

e Sculpt team easily added a koi pond and a heated Helios bench by Galanter & Jones in an existing open-to-sky grotto with a waterfall fountain o a rear guest room on the third oor.

e rest of the 100-foot-deep tiered yard, previously shored up by stacked rubble, took nearly two years to redo with new concrete retaining walls and terraces. Now, the footbridge leads to a dining patio with a re pit and an outdoor kitchen; farther uphill are a sunken stainless steel hot tub and an outdoor shower, an arti cial lawn with lounge chairs and bleachers and, at the very top, a plinth for an observation shed.

CCS, led by project architect Bjorn Steudte, later transformed the shed into a sculptural 10-by-10-foot mirrored cube, with a cylindrical interior that contains an oculus inspired by artist James Turrell’s Skyspaces.

Midway up the garden, an old apple tree was heavily pruned and saved, and plantings such as palms, leafy tropical philodendrons, Colocasia “ele- phant ears” and creeping leucadendron ground cover were added. At the very top, a green wall with Soleirolia soleirolii, or baby’s tears, combined with dwarf geraniums came from Flora Grubb nursery.

“ e owner loves bright colors and pop art and we wanted something cartoony, young and fun outside as well,” Danielle Steuernagel, who used to be an event planner, says.

Inside the house, “My client was still trying to de ne his style,” Reed adds. However, as an MIT dropout who came to the Bay Area to start a tech company, he is partial to modernism and rejected the house’s deco- rative hardware and other ourishes.

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Counterclockwise from this page: On the second oor, under stairs with clear glass railings, a found-wood-and-metal piece made of old bike handlebars near a wet
bar with a veined black marble backsplash is by Kirk Stoller from the Romer Young Gallery; the bar is conveniently just outside a black-painted home theater with colorful Roche Bobois seating with Missoni fabric; a spare bedroom is now a music room, where in place of a closet, CCS designed a padded nook for the owner to play his guitars.

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With CCS, Reed eliminated those and added a wealth of new materials. “I knew that the owner wanted to live in a space that did not feel plastic,” she explains.

So the building now has distinctive charred-cedar shou-suji-ban Japanese-style matte- black siding, with stainless-steel edging around the Fleetwood aluminum windows. A tall, skinny entry porch is lined with bright back-painted red Oikos glass. A new 8-foot-high steel front door with electronic hardware pivots opens to reveal a well-lit foyer that is designed as an art gallery; currently, a Matthew Palladino cast-plaster work called “Still Life With Fruit” is showcased there; on the second oor, under the staircase, a found-wood-and-metal piece by Kirk Stoller incorporates old bike handlebars.

“Cass’ design team also widened and ared out the bottom of the stairs to make them feel grander,” Reed says, pointing to cutaway walls made of painted medium-density- berboard (MDF) and above them, new three-quarter-inch-thick glass that replaced oriated metal railings. Existing at steel handrails, stripped of paint, are left bare.

“Victorians took stairs seriously and so did we,” Smith says. “We made a showy steel staircase encased in bleached Douglas r treads and risers by First Last & Always.” Wood cladding also reappears in the top section of the stairwell’s north parti-wall.

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Clockwise from this image: In the third- oor master bedroom, lightened Douglas r oors and walls paired with bleached hues in the vintage Vladimir Kagan Crystal armchair, Ligne Roset’s Ruche bed atop a Stark carpet, custom wood nightstands by Casegood, Atollo table lamps
by Vico Magistretti for Oluce and a vintage scalloped deco credenza, all complement the ev- er-changing palette of Noe Valley and downtown views; above the console are Oskar Zieta’s blown stainless-steel Ta a mirrors; a door on one side of the console leads to the master closet and the other (visible) to the Calacatta marble master bath, which has an enormous rain shower and an Agape tub with city views.

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On the top oor, which opens to a deck with views on one side and
the tiered garden on the other, the open-plan living and dining rooms and the kitchen have colorful furnishings and art, including a B&B Italia Tufty-Time sofa and a Knockout side table with a round base by Friends & Founders and Ida Linea Hildebrand, in front of a oating replace wall. Facing page: “Blue/Green Vertical,” a diptych by Joey Piziali, hangs beside a Mobile 8 pendant light by Michael Anastassiades.

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Similar materials unify the foyer and rooms on three oors above it: bleached recycled Scandinavian Douglas r plank ooring from Dinesen meets white painted walls with ush baseboards. Standard door openings were made oor-to-ceil- ing, and stairwell and hallway walls have openings cut into them “for a more open feeling,” Smith says.

For the interior design, Reed worked on nishes and furnishings in concert with Barbara Turpin-Vickroy from Smith’s o ce; Reed also accompanied her client to fairs such as Frieze in London and galleries in New York and San Francisco to select art and vintage collectibles.

On the second oor, the walls and ceiling of the media room are covered with blackboard paint and livened with Mah Jong sofas from Roche Bobois upholstered with brightly colored Missoni fabric. Sarah Morris wallpaper from Maharam in the powder room o a marble-backed bar niche echoes a similar pop sensibility, which recurs in several other bathrooms that are lined with mirrors or showy marble. For instance, a bathroom on the same oor in the guest suite facing the street has walls covered with custom black-and-white Bizazza mosaic tiles, installed in a pixelated pattern inspired by a chain link fence.

On the third oor, the owner’s o ce, located in the rear guest room, has an Oslo sofa and 70/70 desk from Muuto and on the wall, Matthew Palladino’s “Night Ride”; outside, in the rock-walled courtyard with arti cial turf, are colorful Adagio swings by Paola Lenti from Dzine.

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Noe Valley views from every oor include this vista from the top- oor deck, which has glass railings framed in thin strips of steel. St Paul’s Catholic Church, where Sister Act, starring Whoopi Goldberg, was lmed, is on the left; Mount Diablo is visible on the right. Outdoor Orlando sofas and Strap side table are by Paola Lenti, from Dzine.

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On the front end of the same oor, the master suite has a recon gured walk-in closet with custom pulls by Doug Mockett & Company, and a new Calacatta marble bathroom with a rain shower and Agape tub o ers unobstructed views of the city. Furniture includes a Ligne Roset bed against a Douglas r wood-clad wall. e bed is anked by nightstands fabricated from the same wood. A vintage Vladimir Kagan chair is paired with a Murmansk silver bowl by Memphis designer Ettore Sottsass, and a curved deco dresser has designer Oskar Zieta’s elliptical balloon-like steel Ta a mirrors above it.

Down the hallway, a small nursery was converted into a music room. Its closet was eviscerated to form a cubby, upholstered with green Maharam fabric, where the owner likes to play his guitars. For better acoustics and privacy, Reed asked for built-in pelmets to install drapes.

At the top of the last ight of stairs, Smith added a boxy MDF railing cap, which also provides a display surface in the spare, open-plan living space that has no dividing walls and opens easily to the outside. “You understand the house better up here,” Smith says.

At the front end, the living room, with full-width Fleetwood aluminum sliding doors, extends out onto a deck with glass railings surrounded by planters and river rocks. Its Paola Lenti furnishings and lanterns are all deliberately low so they do not block sight lines from inside the living space, where B&B Italia’s exible Tufty-Time seating is arranged facing city views. On one side, an old replace is recon gured with a new metal

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Clockwise from this image: In the open-plan living space, the dining area near the head of the stairs, where a glass railing doubles as a shelf, has a stainless steel ceiling panel that mimics the scale of existing skylights, and the under- stated all-white kitchen with marble backsplashes and a marble island opens to the stepped rear garden by Sculpt; ipe stairs and board-formed concrete walls and decks form several zones in the garden for outdoor cooking, for a spa, and for lounging on Daydream sunbeds by Paola Lenti, and at the every top, a 10-by-10-foot mirrored cube by CCS Architecture contains a James Turrell–esque room with a custom heated bench and an oculus; the rear garden green wall contains baby’s tears and dwarf geraniums from Flora Grubb Gardens, re ected in the mirrored cube’s back wall, which has a narrow doorway cut into it.

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surround, both inset into a white rectangular plane that is angled away from the wood-clad wall behind it. e replace appears to be oating, and backlighting reinforces the illusion.

e dining area in the center of the open-plan living space is simply de ned by a rectangular mirror- nish stainless-steel panel installed in the ceiling, aligned with a row of existing skylights. “Blue/Green Vertical,” a diptych by Joey Piziali, is paired with a Mobile 8 pendant light byMichael Anastassiasides.

Next to it, the taut modern, all-white kitchen has an island of Carrara marble and oxidized cherry bar stools by Sawkille Co. Artwork in this space includes a framed lithograph by Christoph Rossner from the San Francisco–based Romer Young Gallery on the kitchen counter.

Steps away, Fleetwood doors open to the footbridge leading to the cascading back garden, its many outdoor living areas and the mirrored cube at the far end.

e dramatic cube was intended as a viewing outpost at rst but is now used as a retreat for inward re ection. Its entrance is cleverly concealed in back and the cylindrical interior has another voluptuous heated bench to sink into and watch passing clouds through an oculus overhead. Acoustical felt on the ceiling absorbs any ambient sounds, and in that silence any passing thought can be scribbled on the berglass walls that are covered with whiteboard paint.

“ e owner wanted to create a playful space where ideas could be shared,” Smith says. “We gave him exactly that.” n

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Just o the owner’s o ce (a former guest room) on the third oor with its yellow Oslo sofa and 70/70 desk, both from Muuto, and Matthew Palladino’s “Night Ride” (not visible) is a rock wall fountain inherited from the previous owners. Sculpt enhanced it with a stone bench bordering a koi pond at its base and, atop fake turf, a heated Helios lounge chair from Galanter & Jones. Hot pink Adagio swings by Paola Lenti, from Dzine, are suspended from the footbridge leading from the fourth- oor kitchen to the tiered back garden.

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