San Francisco Chronicle


- Ly­dia Lee is a San Fran­cisco free­lance writer. Email: home@sfchron­i­ Interior Design · Austria

court­yard and cre­at­ing a sep­a­rate garage to shel­ter the house from the street.

Klopf gave the house a gut renovation: He re­tained the home’s orig­i­nal foot­print and kept its foun­da­tion, which had built-in ra­di­ant heat­ing, along with most of the ex­te­rior fram­ing and roof fram­ing. But he then re­worked the floor plan for greater open­ness. He also turned one of the two bath­rooms into a mas­ter bath (to cre­ate a mas­ter suite), put in glass doors where there had pre­vi­ously been win­dows, and added more sky­lights to max­i­mize nat­u­ral light­ing. The two fac­ing sides of the liv­ing room open up al­most en­tirely, mak­ing it feel like a gi­ant pavil­ion. The back­yard, by land­scape de­sign firm Grows­green, is de­signed to be an out­door liv­ing and din­ing room.

The ar­chi­tect also pulled the kitchen for­ward and cre­ated a pantry and sep­a­rate laun­dry room be­hind it. “There’s not much of a view to the side of the house, so it made more sense to close it off and add a sky­light to bring light into the kitchen in­stead [of a win­dow],” says Knopf.

With its big is­land, the open kitchen is de­signed to ac­com­mo­date the cou­ple’s love of cook­ing and bak­ing. How­ever, there are no up­per cab­i­nets; Wang, who is 5-foot-2, wouldn’t be able to reach them.

De­spite its in­ward-fac­ing lay­out, the house still has a friendly street pres­ence, thanks to the ar­chi­tect’s gen­er­ous use of nat­u­ral wood. Says Klopf, “With a mod­ern house, you can go one way or the other: You can go su­per-cool and in­dus­trial, or you can go more nat­u­ral.” He clad nearly the en­tire house in hor­i­zon­tal cedar siding, fin­ished with a clear coat so that the warmth of the ma­te­rial shows through.

“To be hon­est, I didn’t pay that much at­ten­tion to the plan, so I didn’t re­al­ize it was go­ing to be all cedar,” laughs Wang. “But peo­ple walk­ing by com­pli­ment us on it all the time.”

Along with his par­ents, Julien, age 7, has dis­cov­ered the joys of liv­ing in a mod­ern house. His fa­vorite as­pect? How the liv­ing room opens to the back­yard: “I can run in and out,” he says.

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