Architect Stephen Sutro of Sutro Architects grew up in San Francisco just four blocks from this home, alongside one of the owners, who was a childhood friend. Years later, when the friend and her husband hired Sutro for this project, that long relationship made it easy to communicate and share ideas for the transformation of the couple’s Edwardian flat from a dark warren of small rooms to a light-filled family dwelling.
Houzz at a Glance Who lives here: A couple and their 2 children Location: San Francisco Size: 2,900 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 3½ bathrooms Year renovated: 2013
Photography by Aaron Leitz
“We call this project Parisian Modern Flat, because it uses the European idea of classic architecture as the backdrop for modern elements and furniture,” says Sutro. The architect reordered the rooms, making a large, open space up front and relocating the bedrooms in the rear of the house. Now the living room, dining room and kitchen are in one space.
Sofa: Dizani; art: Matt Lipps
The architect staged a delicate design balance. “By using classic molding and a herringbone-patterned floor, we referenced the era in which the house was built,” the architect says. A sofa with multisided seating has decidedly modernist attributes; it allows people to relax and enjoy the contemporary fireplace, the avant-garde photo collage, the more traditional bay window or the modern kitchen. “It is the perfect piece, because it has seating on all four sides,” says the architect. “It knits the room together.”
“The modern interventions create an interesting juxtaposition and a pleasant tension between the old and new,” says Sutro. The design of a fireplace in Tom Ford’s New York City flagship store inspired the architect to create this wood and limestone surround and mantel in the living room.
“The Lindsey Adelman light fixture defines the dining area and adds a formality to it,” says Sutro. Although the architect removed the division between the rooms, he left a suggestion of a wall between the dining room and kitchen to make a slight visual separation. “It’s just enough to suggest two spaces,” he says. “Dim the lights in the kitchen during a dinner party, and it seems to disappear.”
Light fixture: Lindsey Adelman; dining table: Link by Jakob Wagner, B&B Italia; dining chairs: Masters by Philippe Starck, Kartell