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myMarvin Architects' Challenge: Victorian Conversion

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Originally built as a single family house, this Victorian structure had suffered a series of serious compromises by being altered to a rooming house in the 1950’s, and then into five poorly subdivided apartments in the 1960’s. The still discernable beauty of the underlying spaces and proportions, however, suggested a creative solution. While San Francisco codes did not permit a return to a single family occupancy, the design configures three new units in a way that they can be joined into one large home, or inhabited individually allowing flexibility and change in the way it is inhabited.

Proportions, windows and doors “make” the spaces in this residence. Vertically scaled windows and 9′ French doors are appropriate to the high ceilings. Equally important were energy considerations. Antiquated counterweighted single glazed windows were replaced with weathertight, clad, double glazed and coated windows which improved occupant comfort and slashed energy usage. By creating modern livable plans within while respecting the original spirit of the Victorian design the house gained a new utility and aesthetic for its second century.

This home was renovated by Alexander Seidel, FAIA.