Work in Progress: Introducing Potrero Hill Duplex

Just over a year ago, I started a fantastic new project in San Francisco that is somewhere in between new construction and a gut renovation.

Here's a couple photos from the real estate listing to give you an idea of the place:

BEFORE: The non-descript facade.

BEFORE: The non-descript facade.

BEFORE: A diminutive little house in between to two towering buildings.

BEFORE: A diminutive little house in between to two towering buildings.

For this project my client has several high-level goals to hit:  

  1. Add as much square footage as possible
  2. Optimize usability of space
  3. Design a home that will be widely appealing yet unique

Now after one year, I'm a couple weeks away from submitting the permit application. This is what it took to get to this point:

  • Intense studying of the San Francisco Planning Code, Residential Design Guidelines, and various bulletins to fully understand the maximum buildable area we could achieve.
  • Numerous visits to the San Francisco Planning Department to get clarification on said code, guidelines, etc.
  • Creating a cohesive concept for the client's desire to have a sanctuary within the city.
  • Many, many iterations of floor plan designs (first as a single family home, then as a 2 unit building) to optimize space, circulation, lighting, and ease of use.
  • Building a 1/4" scale physical foam core model to help the client visualize the space, see how the spaces fit together, and provide feedback on the design.
  • Hiring and working closely with a geotechnical engineer, civil engineer, structural engineer, and architect to provide input and required documentation and reports. 
  • Sending out notifications of the proposed project to all the surrounding neighbors and listening to their concerns.
  • Historical research into the property (using microfiche and going to the public library!) because the building is over 50 years old.
  • Filling out many, many application forms.

Fingers-crossed that this permit submission process goes well....