Complied by Leah Linhares
Photography: Bruce Damonte; courtesy the architects
Step into a space of precise detailing showcased through Studio VARA’s meticulously designed Noe Residence.
Called upon by a detail-oriented client with a modest vision and a couple of basic practical needs, the architects of Studio VARA were confronted by the challenge of transforming a 1908 Noe Valley cottage in San Francisco - with a history of sub-par alterations – into a cohesive modern dwelling, while additionally providing an enclosed garage in a neighbourhood with tough parking.
The result is an elegant two-storey 3500 sq. ft. home with two distinct faces; one that provides privacy from urban street traffic, and the other that opens up to expansive Bay views. With traces of the original cottage still preserved, the grand stairs marks the demarcation between public spaces to the south and private spaces to the north.
Situated at the heart of the home, the open living space expands past the folding window wall to the east-facing deck below, permitting its owners to savour in the wide view of the city and the east bay; or simply mull over the juxtaposition of urban and natural in the garden below.
Acquiring a spectacular view through both - framed openings and a lofty private deck, is the master suite that rests above the living space. The new garage makes its home in the ‘public space with guest suites above and below. The design of the residence gives off a calm and peaceful vibe with a balance of restraint and supple details.
The natural wood screening at the master bedroom window, which reinterprets an existing invasive tree, the wall of custom cabinetry that unifies the kitchen and living room, the dance of metal and glass on the main stair guardrail and the subtle palette of “warm” mixed with “cool” that recurs in both, tone and materials, are symbols that clearly speak out the success of this project.