Cumberland Street

This project was an exercise in minimalism — how it can be embraced and incorporated at multiple levels. Typical of San Franciscan Victorians, the dark interior of this home was segregated and circulation spaces were narrow and dark. The stairs to the upper level was an afterthought and tucked away.

By removing the walls and rebuilding the stairs, we shifted the focus of this home’s interior and made the stairs the focal point. This project pays homage to the stairs, a critical element in the function and tone the home sets. As a transitional element, it carries the user from level to level, function to function, and mindset to mindset. The goal of this remodel was to invite the user upstairs and offer a more integrated transition to the upper level while at the same time using it to create a shaft of light into the inner recesses of the living space below.

As one ascends the stairs, the floor gradually disappears revealing a naked structural spine as the stairs reaches the upper level. The dormer addition offered ample headspace and invites columns of light to penetrate below. The cantilevered floor and shadow play this offers, dynamically marks its imprint on both levels.

Ancillary and storage spaces tucked away neatly and delicately – reminding us that expression should not be at the expense of function. Delicate and clean food preparation areas — now integrated with the rest of the home — invite us to celebrate this expression of unity.

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