jameshillarchitect | DIAMOND STREET, NOE VALLEY


Frequently, our projects involve changing the inward looking character of 100 year old urban homes by tearing open the back to provide connections to light, outdoor living and city views. The street facade retains its historical character with its legislated propriety. Meanwhile, the rear achieves modern goals of casual living adapting the relaxed  freewheeling attitude typical of backyards everywhere. The nostalgic stiffness of the traditional parlors deepens by contrast to the uninhibited modern spaces at the rear.  From here open stairs lead down to a master bedroom suite with open bath, shower and video screening wall.

As seen from the front entry, taller doors, red paint and bright daylighting draw one immediately to the warm living spaces at the rear.  The formal quality of the Victorian rooms are enhanced by new wall moldings increasing the contrast with the modern rooms beyond.  Living space includes a 10′ long table, hinged to open to dining position. Table serves triple duty as ceremonial dining table, kitchen island and home office for interaction designer. Behind the living room shelving unit an open stair descends into the new master suite.

The kitchen counter lines one wall of the living space.  Ikea cabinets and large format  tiles provide attractive and affordable finishes.  A 17′ long, 6″ deep aluminum channel conceals fluorescent task lighting below.  On top the shelf transforms functional kitchen supplies into decorative art. In the pantry black chalkboard paint provides space for grocery lists, movie must-sees and doodling.

The stair landing frames a view through the master bedroom to the deck beyond. It also serves as mudroom to the intermediate garage level.
The open plan of the lower level passes from the bright stair landing at the rear through the dressing hall before descending the final two steps to the master bedroom. At the Master bedroom projection wall tonight’s feature is: “Lost: Final Episode.”

A victorian tub provides a curious divider, separating the bath area from the master  bedroom.  With no interior doors at the lower level, privacy is gained by wall configuration.  Toilet and sink share space with shower. The curbless shower drains to a linear drain concealed below a stainless steel cover.