The design for Fitty Wun reflects the playful, sometimes irreverent, personalities of the clients – a couple with three active young boys and a “work hard, play hard” approach to life. The family of five have shared the 1,300-sf two-bedroom one-bath house for many years, and they were finally ready to transform the circa 1915 Marina style house into their dream home with enough space to absorb the lively energy of their active and fun-loving family.
The clients desired a house centered on large, light-filled central spaces where the kids and friends of the family would love to hang out today and also ten years from now. This space also acts as a welcoming, warm kind of “Panopticon that allows the boys the freedom to be boys while the parents are strategically within ear, if not always eyeshot, to arbitrate, adjudicate and apply basic medical direction” (the client’s words!).
The completely reworked front façade is an interpretation of a traditional townhouse—a simple composition that blends in with the neighborhood but hints at the modern interior through scale, material choice and updated details. In contrast, the modern composition of the rear façade more directly reflects the modern sensibility of the interior architecture with large apertures to bring in light and form a connection to the rear yard. The newly excavated sunken courtyard provides both the physical connection and natural light to the au pair’s bedroom and the family room located in the basement level.
The main floor consists of an open plan kitchen, dining, and living rooms. The kitchen opens upward to the ceiling, bringing light down from two stories above. Nooks and innovative storage solutions allow the three connected rooms — used for cooking, eating, working, and playing—to be the hub of the household without clutter. The living room flows out onto a deck and into the backyard, where there is plenty of space for the family’s varied, energetic activities.
The metal-screened stair, backed by a tiled feature wall, leads from the street-level entry to the upper floors, where a catwalk connects the bedrooms and rings the atrium. The master suite is located along the rear of the upper level with floor-to-ceiling window providing strong visual connection to the rear yard. The children’s bedrooms are located across the open atrium, providing just the right amount of separation, but still within eyeshot of the parents, rather than down a long and narrow hallway as is often the case in the typical urban townhouse floor layout. The relatively compact footprint of the children’s bedrooms are compensated with extra ceiling volume. Small loft areas take advantage of the verticality of the space, and connect the two bedrooms via a hidden passage door for the kids to crawl across.
A diagonal stair over the atrium leads up farther to a floating office “pod” and the roof deck. The pod provides an acoustically separated space for the client to occasionally escape from all the excitement below. The design of the pod door serves as a counterpoint to the clean lines of the fiber cement board clad pod and the industrial aesthetics of the steel staircase with more traditional detailing and hand stenciled sign reflecting the clients’ sense of humor. The roof deck, one of the best spot in the neighborhood to catch the group of local parrots put on daily shows, is surrounded by a green roof and looks out to broad views above the neighboring buildings.
Location: San Francisco, CA
Size: 4,1888 sf
Contractor: Design Line Construction
Lighting Design: Kim Cladas
Landscape Design: Owner with Loretta Gargan Landscape + Design
Green Roof: Fred Ballerini
Photography: Joe Fletcher