The Gray Lady

Sometimes a home remodel is more than just an architectural project. The commission to renovate the Grey Lady not only breathed fresh life into a 150-year-old Italianate Victorian but created a new dynamic in the 50-year bond between siblings. When Jonathan’s brother, a well-known sportscaster, moved back to the Bay Area and bought a classic San Francisco house in nearly original condition, he tasked Jonathan with remaking his home. Collaborating in a new domain brought together the brothers’ contrasting styles: the owner more outgoing, attuned to broad networks of friends and acquaintances; the architect more private and project-oriented. “My brother,” the owner reflected, “guided the entire process; my vision and his expertise delivered a spectacular house.” And for the architect: “My brother’s geniality and social skill smoothed the numberless decisions on conception and details facing the design team.”

The remodel of Grey Lady reflects this meeting of minds. The classic façade was left unchanged, with its heavily articulated trim, but the interior of the house exemplifies modern living. It retains the original trim, casings, and ceiling rosettes but opens up the small rooms to create new areas for socializing. Added windows and doors face the rear garden, while skylights flood the middle of the house with additional daylight. A new stair extends from the top of the house down into the newly excavated basement, allowing light to filter in through a perforated metal screen. The down-sloping site allows the new basement to open directly to the rear yard, creating indoor-outdoor living on both the main and lower levels. The basement gym and den personalize the house for the owner-sportscaster with places for enjoying sports as participant and spectator.

LOCATION San Francisco, California


Builder: Upscale Construction
Interior Design: Feldman Architecture
Landscape Design: Loretta Gargan Landscape + Design
Structural Engineer: Sheerline Structural Engineering
Geotechnical Engineer: Murray Engineers


Residential Design