Segmented SF House Becomes a Secluded Nature-Loving Pad



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This oddly-situated home in San Francisco’s Mission District is a singularly fantastic demonstration of creative reuse. The site once housed a dry cleaner and during WWII served as a munitions bunker. It passed through various hands and underwent plenty of (not entirely up to city code) renovations.

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In 2011, the home was foreclosed on and the new owner decided to bring it up to code and make it into something fantastic. Todd Davis Architecture and contractors Matarozzi Pelsinger went to work on a truly lovely creation. At the time, three structures occupied the lot: a garage at the front end, a small studio in the middle, and the residence way in the back. The street-front facade is actually the garage door, making the enclosed lot look a bit like a bunker from the street.

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The new owner’s wish for the property, which was badly in need of some rehab, was to make it more open and airy like warm-climate homes in Southeast Asia. To this end, they cut the concrete studio building right in half, creating a sort of half-room with a doorway that marks the passage from the front of the property to the more secluded inner covered patio and open courtyard.

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While the landscaping underwent serious reconfiguration, the contractors uncovered an old maple stump. The stump was hung from the ceiling of the covered patio as a kind of “chandelier” that reinforces the newly-made space’s purpose as a natural sanctuary.

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The residence itself enjoyed a striking facelift both inside and out. The interior was opened up to make it bright and airy; skylights were inserted in the kitchen and bedroom to flood the home with sunlight. Corrugated metal, sandblasted concrete, and natural light cedar now adorn both the interior and exterior of the home to give it a modern but peaceful feel.

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