In St. Francis Wood, Sublime Details From Feldman Architecture


Longtime clients of Feldman Architecture, the owners of this handsome 1920s house in San Francisco’s St. Francis Wood neighborhood had lived here a few years before deciding it no longer suited their needs. Or more correctly, their future needs. With a trio of young sons, they wanted a house they could grow into, and looked to Feldman Architecture again to create a modern residence within the framework of the old. The result is a seamless, beautifully detailed hybrid of new and vintage in a thoroughly modern home.

Among the planned residential communities that sprang up across the country before the First World War (influenced by Daniel Burnham’s City Beautiful movement) St. Francis Wood is still one of the loveliest and best preserved, with winding streets, underground utilities and mature landscaping, in a subdivision that grew under strict design covenants, some still in place. Even though it was initially opened in 1912, lots didn’t sell until after WWI, and most of the homes would be built in the ‘20s and ‘30s, resulting in a remarkably cohesive architectural ensemble in the hybrid conservative modes of the day– Monterey Colonial, Spanish Revival, Tudor. Nonetheless, these handsome homes were built for another time, and many need some form of adaptation to life nearly a hundred years later. Looking forward, the owners chose a complete overhaul.

Project architect Ben Welty described to CH+D the extensive work involved in creating a new home for this family, which both reorganized the plan and included a shallow, respectful 2-story addition that increased living space on the main level and additional space for the bedrooms. Among other changes, the staircase underwent a thrilling renovation, extending it down into the lower level and up to a skylight, flooding the core of the house with light.

The attic disappeared as well, with the architects removing the rafters and opening the upper level rooms with pitched ceilings that followed the roof line, now paneled in immaculately milled tongue-and-groove pine planks, and along with walls, painted in Benjamin Moore’s Simply White. The pristine oak flooring throughout is by Arc Wood & Timbers.

Feldman Architecture’s Lisa Lougee was responsible for the interiors, and in addition to Ben Welty, the entire project was overseen by Partner-in-Charge Chris Kurrle.

Above, the dining room is dominated by a pendant fixture by Charles de Lisle. Casework and trim in Farrow and Ball’s Downpipe complements the subtle wallcovering from Phillip Jeffries; the dining table and chairs from De La Espada via The Future Perfect. Lougee used subtle brass finishes where you don’t expect them, like the kick plate of the bar, below.

Taking the long view– that this would be their home for the next few decades– the clients were deeply involved in every detail in a project that took a total of four years to complete from the first sketches to completion. Clearly, they were in good hands along the way.

Contractor: Upscale Construction
Landscape Design:
Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture
Structural Engineer:
Sheerline Structural Engineer
Civil Engineer:
Bay Area Land Surveying
Photo Credit:
Suzanna Scott Photography