jameshillarchitect | 17th STREET, COLE VALLEY


In expanding an efficient 40’s row house with a penthouse master suite, a dark and compartmentalized home brightens with a new modern sense of light, openness and connection to the outside.  From front to back, controlled views shelter privacy while magnifying distant landmarks, then, on approach, open to the larger view.  Vertical views pass up the stairs and through the skylight which returns light to the heart of the house.  The flow of light and functions, the long interior and exterior vistas create a sense of spatial generosity within severe spatial limitations. The open plan borrows light and air from surrounding spaces.  There are no closed doors between entry and master bedroom.  Privacy is obtained by spatial configuration.

The sky is also a view.  Facing up, skylights provide more daylighting per square inch than windows.  Open stair risers and light maple treads reflect light deep into the entry hall from the skylight above. From the top of the stair the hall leads north to the master bedroom at the rear and south to the bath and deck.  The open plan of the penthouse addition allows for spatial efficiencies.  Here vanity and hall share space. At the new penthouse level the master bedroom looks out to Lone Mountain, Marin Headlands and the changing weather. On the street tall rail and sill heights at south facing deck and shower window provide shielded views of Sutro Tower on Twin Peaks.