Penthouse Design. A repeat client and second time around for the home refurbishment. We completed this couple’s previous San Francisco penthouse in Presidio Heights a few years before and called it Paris in San Francisco, then the same client bought another residential building with Bay Views in the Buena Vista Park area, also in San Francisco.
The Building had a 2 level penthouse they kept and hence we designed. The Penthouse Apartment has direct street entrance as well. They moved some of the furniture and art we had purchased for their previous home and didn’t ask for a complete overhaul of the new home, they asked us only for renovations to the existing bathrooms.
Though different Pacific Heights, had charm and location, Buena Vista Park had view, and for those who live in the San Francisco Bay, if you want to enjoy the Bay Views properties are limited. Certainly the new penthouse on Alpine Terrace, was elegant and felt very good.
Then the couple asked for help only with some additional pieces of furniture and lighting still missing. The House immediately said Art Deco to me, so I went to the Deco shops district for chairs, and fell in love with a Mirror, which I took out on Memo, and my clients decided to keep it. California Regency Deco.
About a year later, they called again. They were not happy with the house, things hadn’t worked properly, mainly the layout and overall ambiance. It didn’t feel good.
This time they asked me to look at the entire picture. The Deco mirror had gravitated to the Piano room at the entrance, and my clients now were Deco Society members, the mirror had taken their spirit over I guess.
We had the red fabric by Manuel Canovas applied to the back wall, being at the entrance it carried the style of the House, the color and the glamour. Piano and room window reflected on the salvaged mirror door panel right.
From the entrance to the two level Penthouse you could see a hallway in the lower level, very sad, dark and cluttered with two closets popping out. beautiful salvaged mirrored doors and a salvaged built in bookcase. Yet it was dark and sad. On the other hand, the upper level landing into the main portion of the home had plenty of natural light with four skylights.
So I prescribed a “Glass Floor” in the landing above, to feed light downstairs, and make the two levels of the home communicate visually. Then I had the protruding closets removed, and added a wall to wall built-in book case opposite the existing salvaged one. I like to tier bookcases, providing a Marble ledge in the middle to rest the books you are looking at or to place objects. We included a marble top and a mirrored splash, as well as a wet bar just in case.
The area under the staircase adjacent to the library had always been blocked for many years I guess, so we carved an additional powder room missing in this home’s level. Then I had the salvaged mirrored doors relocated to the stairway and bathroom sidewall leading to the library. The fauteuils from the previous home were going to be used in the library and we liked the fabric, we used the remaining drape table fabric to cover the entry wall in the fabric to match. It became one of the favorite and most useful rooms in the house, the library.
Salvaged Doors applied to wall.
Needless to say the vestibule glass floor opening above the library required structural reinforcement, for an old building in an earthquake zone and with the engineering behind it. An 8’ x 8’ area with a cross metal structure divides the glass floor in 4 equal squares. The landing had been twice the size, yet in order to reach the Living and View areas of the home you had to maneuver a narrow corridor. The Master Bedroom had its closet in part of the hallway, which we relocated to the end of the landing.
For additional information on the glass floor. See previous Blog on glass floors.
The Library. The small door in the angled wall is for the new powder room. See wet bar.
The upper level landing had a sky light and plenty of light we figured a Glass floor would make the lower level more attractive with natural light. This also allows better visual communication between the two levels too.
The owners loved it, though had hated the fact I insisted in structural calculations and reinforcements for the earthquake zone. It was a pain to do, now nobody remembers they just enjoy.
Occasionally we get a remark on ladies skirts, I personally prefer the full transparent view which fortunately the owners did too. instead of any anti-slip textures. We slanted a mirror on top of the shelving to extend the glass floor the full width and reflect other angles.
A magnificent view of the San Francisco Bay can be appreciated from here. Composed of 2 bay windows it had a very common problem. The Living room on one of the two sides, was too small and the Dining room on the other was too large.
Actually the architecture allocated half of the space to each, and neither worked well. However one side, the Living side had a dead extension at the back, with no use other than a desk and closet and was remote.
We gave the entire space to the living entertaining area, and used the corner and closet to carve a wet bar and a corner booth table to sit 8.
San Francisco Bay views at night. Antiqued salvaged panels and motorized shades. Corragio fabric.
The living room needed a Rug. I wanted a single piece to tie the two areas of the Living room and improve the flow. However the client and I fell in love with André Arbus’s work. We tried to find an Arbus rug and we did, one belonging to Karl Lagerfeld, it had sold (for about 500K).
We were then very lucky to obtain a matching pair of smaller A. Arbus licensed rugs that fitted each on one side, and as licensed pieces rather than done for the Designer during his life, they were accessible.
I had seen the pair of rugs some time ago and had wanted to use them at another project (Hacienda on the Beach, for Narvel Blackstock and Reba McEntire) however it didn’t work they were to fancy for Cancun.
Since the estate of A.Arbus had not licensed the Rugs reproduction yet, the two rugs were not for sale. Towards the end of the project however we were able to purchase them.
We had a curved Michael Taylor Schiaparelli Sofa, which we had done in a different fabric, for the client’s previous home. It fitted very well on one of the Bay windows, so we ordered a second sofa to match for the other window. This would provide the continuity between the two areas, and provide some consistency and a salon look.
They were reupholstered in a coral tone fabric, to go with the rugs. The bay windows are actually on the view side of the living room, the soft tone would avoid competing with the view. I find consistency very helpful when fitting assorted pieces into a small space.
To extend this space more, we had to do an additional demolition of a protruding wall extending the former desk area. We ended with enough space to do a grand booth sitting and carve a small wet bar. Now the two bay windows would be for the Living room space. The booth table was actually Deco.
The chairs had been purchased earlier however with the new Burgundies palette from the Deco mirror we reupholstered the chairs and used another burgundy fabric for the camel back corner booth. The table offered an extension so it can sit 6 to 10 people.
The kitchen to the living room formerly into the dining area had the best view, which I thought should be given to the main sofa and sitting areas. Having an additional door closer to the booth area, I hung a pair of antique panels to block the view into the kitchen. The panels though slide towards the corner, to allow view form the kitchen when necessary, or keep closed for a formal living area.
As mentioned before the landing now had the walk in closet in it only a few steps from the bedroom. On the other hand we recuperated a wall for the bedroom which had had a pair of doors and a wide opening exposing it to the landing. I thought the wall was too useful for a cabinet, and the bedroom could use a bit more privacy.
The bedroom would have a built-in wall to wall mirrored cabinet. Not deep enough for hanging, but perfect to storage. The cabinet would have mirrored doors to visually extend the space of the small bedroom.
She particularly had asked me for Red. She had seen a film with a London Flat she had liked, and thought it would be sexually stimulating…
Gerald Jacobs, ASID. Jacobs Design, Inc. AKA. Jerry Jacobs
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