With its lofty views of the San Francisco skyline, this otherwise banal apartment unit was ripe for reinvention. Low‑ceilinged and spatially uninspired, it was transformed with the insertion of two rectangular walnut volumes. One volume defines the vertical circulation; the other envelopes a living area that breaks through the roof to a new penthouse and outdoor terrace.
“The original unit, built in the 1970s, had many rooms. They wanted to create more openness, but without making one big space like an urban loft,” says Rudabeh Pakravan, AIA. She wrapped the floor and ceiling in walnut to create a warm living and dining space that floats within the floor plan, bounded by a walnut storage wall on one end and a solid walnut island on the other. “It’s all very visually connected, but you still feel like you’re walking into the living room,” she says.
An open-riser staircase with solidwalnut treads extends that volume up to the wood-clad penthouse. Henrybuilt paneling from the kitchen was used on the walls and ceilings of both insertions. “It was important to keep the stairs feeling as light as possible,” says Rudabeh. “We had a complex structural detail of a steel stringer in the wall and welded steel treads.”
“It is definitely a beautiful stair that required a lot of decisions,” a judge said approvingly.
Sidell Pakravan Architects
Nineteenth Street Residence
Architect: Rudabeh Pakravan, AIA, Sidell Pakravan Architects, Berkeley, California
Builder: Lemma Construction, San Francisco
Project size: 2,500 square feet
Site size: 5,000 square feet
Construction cost: $750 per square foot
Photography: Laurian Ghinitoiu for Henrybuilt
Entry doors: Golden Gate Door and Window
Lighting: Tech Element
Pavers/patio/retaining walls: HandyDeck
Radiant Heating: Warmboard
Structural: Simpson Strong Frame
Vanities/Pedestal Lavs: custom concrete, Henrybuilt
Windows: Bonelli Doors + Windows
Window Wall Systems: LaCantina