Adding more space to a tiny builder’s cottage in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood involved adding a third floor, which in turn meant some reconfiguring. The heart of the new interior is the stairway and stair hall, which connect the third floor to the rest of the house.
The stair hall adds brightness. Because the lot size was shallower than usual (75 feet instead of the typical 100), adding a rear entry stair wasn’t an option. For this remodel, “Houdini-like feats were required,” says architect Cary Bernstein.
The open staircase has a sculptural feel, and it reinforces the feeling of lightness in this formerly dark cottage. Making the house deeper front to back would have made the interior darker, says Bernstein.
Architect Cary Bernstein opened up the second-floor layout, further underscoring a modern, airy vibe.
The third-floor addition is 500 square feet—the maximum allowable size without a second form of egress.
On the third floor, an extended hallway functions as a dressing area, with room for closets. The bench has a guardrail and storage underneath.