Noe Valley - Liberty Heights Remodel

San Francisco’s “Hill Street” is aptly named to the point of being understated. This dramatic San Francisco remodel, poised high on a hillside, takes maximum advantage of its sweeping views that extend from the south bay to downtown.

The original house, essentially identical to the neighboring houses below it, was a vintage 1300sf split level house from the early 1950’s in poor condition. The program was to completely remodel the old house and add an additional story above it to capture the amazing views, while remaining within the building envelope permitted under the city’s planning code. The resulting silhouette of the house is almost a diagram of the maximum permitted volume, down to the projections on the front façade that make use of the code’s allowance for “bay windows” in the front setback.

While the lot and the planning code dictated a boxy form aligned to the street, the hill and the views beckoned for a more eastward orientation. The architect took advantage of these seemingly conflicting forces to introduce a strong diagonal into the plan and that subtly orients the view away from the neighbor across the street and towards the city and bay to the southeast. This play of the orthogonal street grid against the diagonal natural orientation permeates the plan and makes for dynamic – and sometimes challenging – spaces.

Functionally, the house includes three bedrooms and three baths with a study, open kitchen/living/dining and a two car garage. The two story master suite features a private rear deck and a mezzanine with roof deck and hot tub that enjoys sweeping views. Its large volumes and constant vertical movement (remember it is called “Hill Street”) make the house feel much larger than its mere 2800 sf.

While the house was not specifically designed to be “green,” it incorporates many key components of good green architecture beginning with the re-use of an obsolete structure in an urban location accessible to public transportation and local commerce (what city folk simply call a “neighborhood”). Its large shed roof slopes southward and the new owner intends to install photo-voltaic panels. The metal roof is reflective, durable and recyclable with roof R40 blown in cellulose. The stucco – already a durable and recyclable product - is made from natural hydraulic lime rather than the usual Portland cement. This provides a high quality finish, and radically reduces the amount of CO2 off-gassing from cement based stucco. The large openings take advantage of views, but use solar grey tinted glass and insure cross ventilation and natural cooling. There is no mechanical cooling and the hydronic heating system is powered by a highly efficient condensing boiler.

In a city where strong modern residential architecture can be a challenge, 332 Hill Street demonstrates that thoughtful solutions that respond to their local context and add value to a street can still prevail. In the case of this project, the groundwork was laid with good communication and 3D computer visualization. There were no neighborhood objections or public hearings to overcome and the new home sits proudly and gracefully among its peers.
Street Views
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Robert Hatch, photographer, 2011
“narrow house” — serhantatman
Living, Kitchen, Dining
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Robert Hatch, photographer, 2011
“level ceiling in split level- this house has same challenges as ours in terms of topography” — chloeandollie
Living, Kitchen, Dining
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Robert Hatch, photographer, 2011
“The colors” — mperetz
Garden views
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“This would drive me insane. that window about doesn't fit!!” — fanniepearl
Garden views
Ideabooks1,396
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“Colors” — firstbourn
Living, Kitchen, Dining
Ideabooks2,947
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Robert Hatch, photographer, 2011
“RAILING” — dorianpolite
Bathrooms
Ideabooks364
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Robert Hatch, photographer, 2011
“Like the baseboard lighting” — kekrygier
Bathrooms
Ideabooks769
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Robert Hatch, photographer, 2011
“Color of walls and vanity” — mortimore99
Garden views
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“Doors used by david” — najleonard
Bedrooms
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Robert Hatch, photographer, 2011
“stairs” — Han Jae Min
Street Views
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Street Views
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“Backside modern house” — cmgillon
Living, Kitchen, Dining
Ideabooks426
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Robert Hatch, photographer, 2011
“lighting” — Jeff Mininger Designs
Bathrooms
Ideabooks5,370
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Robert Hatch, photographer, 2011
“basin top” — tinap178
Bedrooms
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Robert Hatch, photographer 2011
“Nice” — hmlinfra
Bedrooms
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Robert Hatch, photographer, 2011
“white staircase” — kimmienj
Bedrooms
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Robert Hatch, photographer, 2011
“balustrade” — astonmartin69
Bathrooms
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Robert Hatch, photographer, 2011
“color, texture on wall” — sambagirl
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