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Brooks Walker had plenty of say in the newly constructed dwelling next to his—he designed it
On any given block, construction of a new house is often cause for concern among the neighbors. Fortunately for Brooks Walker, a founding partner of Walker Warner Architects, there was no need to worry as development got underway next door.
When he and his wife purchased their San Francisco property seven years ago, the acquisition included the two vacant lots south of the Joseph Esherick-designed residence they would call home after extensive renovations. The middle lot is the family’s garden and the third now holds a 6,205-square-foot dwelling of Walker Warner Architects’ design. While his own house “set the language up for what we wanted to do next door,” he says, “I didn’t want to copy Esherick”—who he describes as “a master of proportion and scale.”
From the street, although the detailing for each is distinct, the modern structures make for a unified composition. Inside, their shared elements include warm honey-gray rift-sawn oak. “We experimented in a couple of rooms in our house and loved it so much, it became a theme next door,” says Walker of the wood finish. Visits to quarries in Italy yielded marble slabs that appear in the two residences, and the architect also opted for the same high-end recessed lighting by No. 8 in both.
Walker aimed to maintain the privacy between the properties as well as capture an abundance of natural light in the three-story spec home. A large operable skylight in its central stairway allows for ventilation and pulls light deep down into the lower level. An indented bay window features “windows that face each other rather than [our house],” he explains.
The plan was to design an abode fit for resale—it did indeed sell quickly, before hitting the market—and build it like any other Walker Warner project. “The quality is top-notch,” says Walker, noting that the Amari windows and doors, revered for their thermal and acoustic capabilities, are triple-glazed. “It’s a beautiful house,” he continues, adding with a laugh, “I could have moved in there.” – Anh-Minh Le