Space Plan


Architect Andrew Mann and interior designer Jennifer Jones of Niche Interiors collaborate on updating an century old farmhouse for a modern family

Photos here and throughout by Paul Dyer

What turns a home from good to great depends on how well it supports the activities that are important to the people who live there. In this house, family meals were the highlight of the day. “We designed the home around the goal of gathering in the main living spaces,” says Andrew Mann, lead architect of his namesake company. He worked in tandem with interior designer Jennifer Jones of Niche Interiors to reimagine this hundred year old house on the San Francisco peninsula for a modern family.

Mann’s firm focuses on the abstract qualities of space — the play of natural light on surfaces and the proportions of rooms — using those ideas as an alphabet to create homes where rooms flow naturally into one another and which understand how light changes how those rooms feel and function throughout the day as the sun moves through them.

The house, originally constructed in 1925, had been added on to over time resulting in rooms that felt disconnected. The master suite and the children’s room were on opposite ends of the house; the living spaces felt disjointed; and, there was a lack of connection between the interior and the exterior. “Our job, in essence, is creative problem solving,” says Mann, “Our solution was to reconfigure the circulation throughout the house.”

Now, corridors form a strong axis through the house. They’re lit by skylights at each end that draw the eye and bring light into the interior. Porches, large paned windows and French doors merge indoors and out. The living/dining room, formerly dark and foreboding, now functions as the heart of the home. White painted trellises act as filters to modulate the sunlight coming into the house. On the lower level, a loggia facing the pool deck establishes a space that encourages entertaining and games.

Jones’ work underlines Mann’s objectives. “We really thought through how this family would use each room and created furniture layouts to support their lifestyle and hobbies,” she says.

In the living/dining room, a seating area paired a custom, eco-friendly banquette with a round table and chairs, creating the perfect spot for playing board games and puzzles. “The client loves bold color, so we opted for a dramatic entrance with peacock lacquered walls and trim accented with a charcoal ceiling. A custom tufted bench upholstered in a green velvet, paired with an ombre console table, a graphic rug and brass accents set a sophisticated and cosmopolitan tone.”

“The house captures the clients’ desires for a comfortable, casual home that integrates indoors and outdoors with architecture that is light-filled and welcoming,” says Mann.