Into the Future


John Lum Architecture builds upon the details of an original mid-century home to create a modern masterpiece

A La Cantina Multi Slide Glass Sliding Door reveals a ceiling fixture by Alan Mizrahi. Photos by Paul Dyer, styled by Yedda Morrison.
In the living room, Carlisle wood flooring adds a layer of depth. Photos by Paul Dyer, styled by Yedda Morrison.

“We try to capture a client’s personality and lifestyle while bringing a playful sensibility of discovery into the design,” says John Lum, founder and principal of John Lum Architecture. “We like a good story line that resonates with our clients. The goal is always to have meaning behind our design decisions while creating highly, functional spaces that they can live and grow in.”

In the kitchen the backsplash tile is from Waterworks, the range and microwave are by Samsung, the dishwasher is by Monogram and the refrigerator is by Miele. Photos by Paul Dyer, styled by Yedda Morrison.

When hired by an existing client to rethink a classic mid-century home in San Francisco, Lum and the team reveled in the opportunity to elevate the intention of the original design while creating dual-purpose spaces for entertaining and respite. “The house had not been remodeled since its original inception, with a floor plan that was overly formal, restricting views and flow, and with little access to the outdoors,” Lum recalls. “The client wanted the house to feel open and have a more defined indoor-outdoor flow.”

The wet bar features a 3Form Chroma backsplash and espresso machine by Slayer. Photos by Paul Dyer, styled by Yedda Morrison.
Photos by Paul Dyer, styled by Yedda Morrison.

In order to establish the desired seamless flow, the team began by removing the interior walls that defined the formal entry, living and dining rooms and kitchen. They then replaced the windows with a continuous wall of sliding doors, allowing the space to completely open to breathtaking Bay views. “To address the entertaining needs, one side of the great room is devoted to a raised performance platform that doubles as an inglenook—a perfect cozy corner when not used for social gatherings,” he notes. “To better define the areas of the great room, the kitchen is anchored by an illuminated ceiling and an elaborately patterned marble island face. By creating such a strong statement, we were able to preserve the open layout while defining individual spaces.”

Photos by Paul Dyer, styled by Yedda Morrison.
In the primary bathroom, Delta Millwork Accoya Gator accent tile sits behind Watermark faucets.
Photos by Paul Dyer, styled by Yedda Morrison.

Outside, Lum covered the structure with Japanese shou sugi ban that unifies the structure while hiding the garage doors with the only penetration being the distinctive orange glass-front gate. “Crossing through that gate is otherworldly, as the orange glass transforming the blue sky and green trees into black and white, a surreal experience that recalls the 1970s Light and Space Movement,” he says. “Inside, the unusual combination of materials is the most significant aspect of the house. We selected interior finishes to complement the exterior materials. Brass accents, shou shugi ban, teak paneling and counters, and figured marble are carefully detailed providing a rich backdrop to offset the eclectic furniture collection.”

Photos by Paul Dyer, styled by Yedda Morrison.

Lum and his team did a fantastic job of ushering a historic home into the future by enhancing the bones and giving it new wings. When asked how the client felt about the new home he notes, “He loves it and feels like it captures his aesthetic and lifestyle. The clarity of the floor plan and unimpeded views are what he looks forward to coming home to after a hectic day at the office.”