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Home & Garden


Tiburon bayfront home a homage to Japanese architecture

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 23:24:48 UT

Set at the northeastern edge of Tiburon’s peninsula overlooking San Francisco Bay, a striking display of Japanese architecture overlooks boat slips and the sea. Alfred Klyce, a fourth generation Mill Valley architect who trained in Japan, designed 225 Martinique Ave., a four-bedroom revolving around an open-air courtyard. A raised entryway past the pocket doors serves as the official entrance to the house, with a tiled section beside the sliding panels is for depositing shoes before coming inside. Japanese temple builder Hiroshi Sakaguchi of Ki Arts in Occidental designed the gate, employing traditional no-nail construction with exacting precision. Sakaguchi’s craftsmanship extends into the front yard, where sliding pocket doors fashion a traditional front door. Other elements of Asian architecture — specifically, the Chinese philosophy of feng shui — embed themselves into the home. The tall, narrow hallway makes two turns before arriving in the public area. Here, the kitchen, family, dining and media rooms all access the courtyard through sliding glass panels. A northern orientation frames views down the boating slips, beyond the home’s waterfront expansive deck. Four-bedroom, three-bathroom bayfront home in Tiburon’s Paradise Cay neighborhood. Japanese architectural details permeate the construction perched atop bedrock and staring down the length of the channel.

Russian Hill condo ‘built for everyday living’

Fri, 10 Feb 2017 23:23:49 UT

Steps from Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown and North Beach, the community bordered by Cow Hollow and the Marina District stands out as one of the city’s premier destinations for tourists and residents alike. Box-beam ceilings, refinished oak flooring and handmade moldings speak to the Edwardian aesthetic as Restoration Hardware light fixtures and a Nest thermostat cater to the modern motif. Wainscoting, balustrades and coffered doors evidence craftsmanship found throughout a condo occupying the home’s middle level. The house features three bedrooms, though its flexible design allows the formal living room to serve as a fourth. Upon entering, guests are greeted by a living room warmed by a wood-burning fireplace nestled within a handsome mantlepiece. An open, inviting layout accented with Ann Sacks tiles and white Zodiac marble includes a six-burner Thermador cooktop and various professional inclusions. The kitchen, in tandem with the adjacent open living and dining area, serves as center stage inside the remodeled flat. A tiled floor spans the kitchen as walls of solarium windows frame landmark and bay vistas. Custom cabinets, media storage and a wine fridge speak to convenient living, but the incredible views will captivate you. Coved ceilings, wainscoting and plaster medallions offer a traditional contrast to contemporary amenities like professional kitchen appliances and Restoration Hardware finishes.


Fri, 10 Feb 2017 23:23:21 UT

Stacked stone and patina steel surround the tranquil courtyard with a fountain and fire box. A built-in barbecue grill stands beside a rustic plank table that seats a dozen. Designed by architects Conrad Sanchez and Eden Asturi of Conrad Asturi Studios, 2955 Stevenson Drive boasts a rich material palette amid world-class amenities. Carrera marble makes up a striking vanity in the spa caliber master bathroom with glass tiles lining a walk-in shower. Like the great room, the serene master suite opens to the courtyard through sliding glass panels. “One thing about Pebble Beach, you definitely have to have a fireplace because it gets cold and foggy,” said Rebecca Kmiec, an independent photographer who assists the architectural firm behind the home with its marketing. Designed by architect Conrad Sanchez and Eden Asturi of Conrad Asturi Studios, this three-bedroom embraces a modern rustic aesthetic with an open floor plan and stuccoed hearth. Floor-to-ceiling glass walls in the great room open to a spacious courtyard offering a fire box and sheltered sleeping area. The chef’s eat-in kitchen revolves around a honed limestone island and features marble counters and stainless steel appliances.

11 amazing treehouse designs

Sun, 22 Jan 2017 12:00:00 UT

14 fantastic ideas for finished attics

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 12:00:00 UT

With a few home improvement projects, the attic can become a fun place for adults (or kids) to hang out in.

10 new lakefront condos hit market at Lake Tahoe

Mon, 12 Dec 2016 23:02:18 UT

A flurry of construction and redevelopment in north Kings Beach has brought better roads, more retail and the Tahoe Beachfront Residences, 10 lakefront condos just released to the market. Dale Cox Architecture designed the townhomes, GLA Morris served as general contractor and Marti McElhinney of the Open Door handled the interior. Ten units with lake views, open floor plans and designer finishes sprang from this collaboration. Coffered wall panels establish a Craftsman or farmhouse element in the great room anchored by a chef’s kitchen with Thermador appliances. Turn to the home’s two gas fireplaces and three heating zones to stay cozy on windy winter nights. Sunlight kisses the suite’s gabled and picture windows while illuminating the spa bathroom’s walk-in rain head shower and soaking tub. A laundry room on the entry level serves as a place to shed snowy or sandy accessories before unwinding upstairs. A homeowners association tends to the development obsessively, and the continuous maintenance commonly associated with a vacation home isn’t a concern for Tahoe Beachfront residents. Grill, mingle around a fire pit, sip on something at the bar or simply lie in a beach chair with a book as the lapping waves provide the soundtrack.

Opulent Victorian a snapshot of historic San Francisco

Mon, 7 Nov 2016 19:04:45 UT

The Page Street residence falls under the “Stick Style” classification of Victorian architecture. Dual oak doors rest within the porch and grant entry to the ornate interior. Multiple layers of crown molding wrap around rooms graced by sconces, chandeliers, ceiling medallions, stained glass and stencil work. Cordovan-hued redwood and Douglas fir flooring spans an interior composed of traditional and contemporary spaces. Combining the existing kitchen and adjacent den results in an open, airy cooking space revolving around a massive island with bar seating. Originally a grand ballroom, the lower level’s expansive dimensions enable the space to serve any number of functions. Set on top of the detached two-car garage, the deck gives residents a relaxing space for al fresco dining, stargazing and watching over Hayes Valley any hour of the day. Traditional finishes including wainscoting and basket-weave porcelain tiles await in the three full bathrooms and powder room. A wall-mounted reading light lingers above the bathroom’s freestanding soaking tub. Retire to the master bedroom with a walk-in closet and a bathroom with a period medicine cabinet and marble sink. Sunlight filters through a stained glass window, draping the room with gentle hues. [...] Victorian grandeur awaits in the formal dining room, an opulent space that easily accommodates a party of 20. Coffered wainscoting, a built-in china cabinet, a serving station, and a hand-crafted sideboard finish the elegant space punctuated by gold leaf cornices. Located a few blocks north of Market Street and a block west of Octavia Street, the home rests near a wealth of shopping, dining, and transportation options. The four-bedroom boasts more than 6,900 square feet of living space and includes a remodeled kitchen, a full floor attic serviced by a dumbwaiter, a partially covered patio and a grand ballroom.

Dramatic luxury home in Sonoma features private observatory for stargazing

Mon, 7 Nov 2016 18:56:04 UT

If said architect happens to also enjoy stargazing, then the result is 5340 Grove St. in Sonoma — a dramatic luxury residence punctuated by an observatory with a professional telescope. The abundant use of glass and outdoor spaces off both levels ensure an airy, open ambience. A COR-TEN steel gate stands guard in front of the meandering driveway — the metal’s deep patina and bulky design complementing the trunks of mature trees peppered across the landscape. A series of retaining walls formed from stacked stones descend the hillside and serve as an accent finish. Hillside homes routinely embrace reverse floor plans, which place the public rooms on a level higher than the bedrooms. Reveal baseboards, the extensive use of natural light and plenty of outdoor accessibility grant the great room a decidedly modern aesthetic. While one side of the room features floor-to-ceiling glass doors opening to the view deck, gallery walls anchor the opposite end. A placid master suite offers privacy within an already secluded locale. Rural surroundings ensure city lights don’t obscure the stars, and the crisp air provides no shortage of clear nights. The picturesque listing offers vistas of Mount Diablo and San Pablo Bay from a plethora of inviting rooms and open outdoor spaces. Stacked stone, eaves jutting out parallel to the ground and floor-to-ceiling windows fashion the contemporary’s exterior. The rolling landscape beyond the home includes a lap pool and a guest house with observatory.

Builders create 'incredibly sexy' Piedmont oasis

Mon, 7 Nov 2016 18:42:55 UT

Bay Area architect Bennett Christopherson designed the home with Robert Farnsworth, a structural engineer and inventor, in the early 1970s. The efforts of the original builders, combined with the investment from the most recent residents, yields a seductive, light-filled retreat offering indoor/outdoor living amid modern finishes. Exterior spaces lined with slate tiles evoke the elements as the patio contains a cast concrete water feature and a gas fire pit warms the view deck. The open kitchen comes equipped with a wine refrigerator, a Viking range, a Miele oven and an espresso maker, A colorful mosaic tile backsplash complements the kitchen’s bamboo cabinetry, display shelving and low-voltage lighting. Usable square footage awaits under the home, allowing an intrepid owner to develop a storage space or bonus room. From its perch atop a stony ridge peppered with evergreens, the dramatic contemporary relies on ingenious engineering to maximize its western outlooks. [...] given the home’s soaring perspective of the landscape below, it only makes sense that 99 Somerset Road in Piedmont includes a custom-built bird enclosure. Bay Area architect Bennett Christopherson designed the home with Robert Farnsworth, a structural engineer and inventor. Together, the pair erected the home atop piers plunged 20 feet deep, allowing dramatic western views from the hillside construction. The current owners invested more than half a million dollars in the form of high-end appliances, designer windows and custom cabinetry.

Plant a cool-season vegetable garden

Sun, 16 Oct 2016 11:00:00 UT

Just because the vegetables and fruits of summer are long gone, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a whole new crop of fall and winter veggies grown at home.

Steal the look of this stunning winery

Sat, 15 Oct 2016 11:00:00 UT

Add a dazzling bolt of blue for fall

Fri, 16 Sep 2016 22:38:47 UT

A stroll down your nursery’s ground-cover aisle will reveal a host of sturdy, year-round perennials, so it’s not often that we think of a low and spreading plant that’s at its best in fall and winter. The red stems and red-leaf borders in winter form a nice contrast. When the flowering period is finished, the cooler winter temperatures bring out the red flush on the leaves, making for an extended period of interest. Ceratostigma plumbaginoides can be used to fill in an empty bed, spill over a low wall or simply provide an understory carpet around taller plants. With a little regular water it will provide a lush carpet of foliage, yet once established it will tough out dry conditions. Despite its toughness, the brilliant blue flowers and spilling nature make it a lovely addition to a decorative fall container. Though he failed to successfully return with a living specimen, a British trader known only as Mr. Smith was able to bring a specimen home to England, which eventually resulted in the plant being cultivated.

Getaway: Storybook mansion on Alamo estate blends Old World design with modern living

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 17:48:22 UT

[...] the 20,467-square-foot Storybook mansion is the focal point of 7 Country Lane, though manicured gardens, verdant hillsides, a luxurious tree house and welcoming patios rightfully command their share of attention. “The architectural sophistication and elegant craftsmanship create this sense that the home has been around for generations,” said Dana Green of Pacific Union Christie’s International Real Estate, who is listing the mansion for $39 million. John Aiken, curator and aviary expert for the San Francisco Zoo, designed a bird sanctuary for the Alamo estate, while San Francisco artists Mark Evans and Charley Brown painted murals and objects throughout. Bronzed Italian windows and chandelier lighting illuminate a grand living room anchored by an antique French fireplace and artistic valences. While timber reclaimed from New England barns receives a new start as the posts and beams, the great room’s generous proportions and high-end kitchen align with modern expectations. Honed slabs of Calacatta marble form the kitchen’s counters and backsplashes, while the islands are topped with yellow bamboo marble and Rojo Alicante marble. Six pendant lights — fashioned by an Austrian blacksmith who also designed ironwork throughout the mansion — hang from reclaimed beams in the kitchen’s coffered ceiling. An oversize pool and spa merely begin a list of amenities that includes a grotto dining area, a family dog park, a wishing well, multiple fountains, four outdoor bathrooms, two outdoor showers, a barbecue pavilion and a water slide that ends in a plunge pool. PE Guernin hardware accents a posh dressing room equipped with a safe offering built-in drawers and compartments. A home this grand will host gatherings and celebrations, so designers included a prep kitchen to supplement the butler’s pantry and help kitchen. Reclaimed materials like beams from New England barns and antique French fireplaces lend rustic elegance to the interior. The resort-caliber grounds hosts a grotto dining area, a dog park, a wishing well, multiple fountains, four outdoor bathrooms, dual outdoor showers, a barbecue pavilion, an oversize lap pool, spa and a water slide spilling into a plunge pool.

Lumina penthouse offers luxury above the clouds

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 17:41:26 UT

The wait was worth it. Since 1999, developer Carl Shannon has dreamed of the day when the Lumina project in San Francisco’s South Beach would be complete. While some construction, buff and polish still lies ahead at the intersection of Main and Folsom streets, the bulk of the work is complete — and residents are pouring in to claim the various floor plans. Shannon’s particularly excited about penthouse 36A, a crescent-shaped three-bedroom boasting two balconies, city views and an open floor plan. Gaggenau appliances outfit a German kitchen accented by SieMatic cabinetry with aluminum recessed channel pulls and Caesarstone counters and backsplashes. European porcelain lines the floors and walls of the penthouse’s spa bathrooms, and there’s a temperature-controlled wine room beside the dining area. Towering above SoMa, the Lumina development has 37- and 42-story towers offset by smaller structures housing condos and a suite of luxury amenities. Residents access a suite of services and amenities like a 10,500-square-foot rooftop terrace with room to grill, garden or gather around a fire pit. [...] the dining room opens to a terrace if anyone changes their mind and wants to savor breezes off the bay and the marine layer. “The private dining room’s kitchen is a place guests can have a chef prepare the meal — or they could cook with their friends,” Shannon said. Because looking and feeling great is part of living well, Lumina’s 70-foot heated lap pool pairs with multiple fitness centers to offer residents a wealth of exercise options. Making it softer and curved at the corners avoids the sharpness and makes the buildings feel further apart. [...] that translates into these possible spaces with diagonal views. Listing agent: Hugh O’Donnell, Lumina sales manager, (415) 495-3600, Amenities for Lumina’s residents include a private 10,500-square-foot roof terrace, 70-foot heated lap pool, multiple fitness centers, a rock climbing wall, private dining room and access to the development’s fleet of Audis.

Designer Profile: Allison Hatcher

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 17:40:23 UT

There she designed interiors for clients such as Apple and Wells Fargo before turning her sights toward residential projects. Hatcher loved the Bay Area from an early age. Hatcher left Fresno after her sophomore year of college and earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from San Francisco State University. Fresno’s cow pastures and open stretches become monotonous over time, and there was no comparing the architecture between the two cities. “Everything I grew up around was brand new — strip malls, ranch houses and giant intersections with two left turn lanes,” she said. San Francisco has Victorians, Edwardians, steep hills and vibrant colors. In this lightly edited interview, Hatcher talks about her influences, her most recent project and what she enjoys hearing the most while eavesdropping during an open house. What architectural style do you identify with? [...] Tom and John and I take elements from that tradition, from what we see in Storybooks and from Craftsman and Victorian homes and draw from it to create a new house. There’s an emphasis on details and natural materials, and there’s solid integrity to the design. Part of my goal is that I want people to feel like they are in an old, stately East Bay house. The staging went really well and we ended up pairing up. [...] Anthony found a kindred spirit in building designer John Newton, another First Bay fan, and the collaboration has really taken off with new-old projects like Oakmont, Ninth Street and others before that. How does a degree in industrial technology lend itself to interior design? What’s a piece of technology that’s changed how you do business? Cell phone cameras and texting, hands down. All day long my colleagues and I are sharing photos, “Look at this handrail” or “Look at this floor.” What is the Oakmont project and what’s your role? Oakmont is a development of 10 homes that Anthony, Newton and I have partnered to build where a couple of dilapidated, really old houses once sat. Each home represents a different neighborhood in the East Bay, but they complement each other. [...] two homes will arrive on the market, followed by the final four.