Shingles That Mingle

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.

On this open plan second floor, the dining area is a part of the living area.

The living room’s steel-clad fireplace balances the lightness of the open stairway.

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.

The new windows look out onto spectacular views of downtown San Francisco.

The master suite is a compact and efficient space, with the bedroom opening directly into the bath.

Interplay between grained wood veneer and the grid of the tile brings visual variety.

There are green views from the bathtub. Transom windows bring light into the bathroom while maintaining a sense of privacy.

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