A San Francisco Renovation Impressed by ‘American Gigolo’


Like many new householders, Kevin Sawyers and Peter Steinauer knew they wished to make some modifications once they purchased a home within the Dolores Heights neighborhood of San Francisco in 2015.

And as an inside designer, Mr. Sawyers, now 53, the founding father of Sawyers Design, figured he would possibly go additional than most in updating the look of the place. (Mr. Steinauer, 51, is a software program engineer at Apple.) However even he didn’t notice how a lot the challenge would ultimately develop — that it might embody a top-to-bottom, nearly complete rebuild of the home.

“It was very rustic, with a variety of wooden, and kind of dilapidated,” Mr. Sawyers mentioned. The home had been up to date and expanded in suits and begins after the unique portion was constructed within the early 1900s, which had created an ungainly hodgepodge of architectural types.

Credit score…Matthew Millman for The New York Instances

However, he and Mr. Steinauer favored the way in which the house was set again from the road on a steep hill, and so they have been awe-struck by the big Monterey cypress tree within the yard. They purchased the property for $2.1 million that March, understanding that the unfastened ground tiles, beige carpeting and Seventies home equipment would all must go.

“I wished to place a contemporary layer on the home, for certain,” Mr. Sawyers mentioned. “I had grand concepts for what we might do on the within — mainly gutting it, which we did — however the whole lot ultimately modified on the outside, too.”

The couple moved in earlier than beginning the renovation, and the longer they lived there, the extra they sensed alternatives to make some huge architectural strikes. For assist, Mr. Sawyers contacted Hulett Jones, a companion on the structure agency Jones Haydu, whom he had labored with on the structure and design agency Gensler earlier than the 2 based their very own studios.

“I went with an architect as an alternative of simply attempting to do it by myself, as a result of I did need that greater imaginative and prescient,” Mr. Sawyers mentioned. “I had some concepts about what it might be, however they actually simply took it elsewhere and created a a lot bigger challenge than we had anticipated.”

The footprint of the home, which wouldn’t be permitted below present zoning laws, offered some distinctive alternatives, Mr. Jones mentioned: “The good factor about the home being sited on the rear of the property is that it will get these wonderful views downtown and north, and nice views from completely different angles, which grew to become a driving issue of the design.” He and his companion, Paul Haydu, additionally wished to create sightlines to the massive tree in again.

Jones Haydu eradicated many inside partitions and added new floor-to-ceiling home windows, together with decks at varied ranges, to open up the house. On the first ground, which was elevated above the road and had been used as a stand-alone workshop, they added a cantilevered addition on the entrance that comprises a visitor suite and shades a brand new patio beneath. Behind the visitor suite, they designed area for Mr. Sawyers’s residence workplace, which is massive sufficient to accommodate a number of staff, and added a staircase that connects it to the remainder of the home.

Within the second-floor front room, they blew out partitions that had only a few home windows and changed them with floor-to-ceiling expanses of glass below a cathedral ceiling, once more pushing a number of toes nearer to the road. To create extra headroom for the third-floor major suite, they raised the roof and altered its pitch. Within the major toilet, they positioned a free-standing tub in a nook with glass partitions.

“That’s most likely my No. 1 favourite factor in the home,” Mr. Sawyers mentioned. “You’re sitting within the tub and may look out the window as much as Twin Peaks. It simply makes you’re feeling such as you’re on this glass field.”

For exterior cladding, Jones Haydu changed the previous cedar-shingle siding with a mixture of standing-seam metallic, used as roofing and siding, and cedar slats.

With such a contemporary, clean-lined architectural envelope, one would possibly anticipate a sequence of pristine white containers inside. However that wasn’t going to occur on Mr. Sawyers’s watch. To create a private shade palette, he drew inspiration from uncommon sources: an expensive Tibetan coat and the units of the 1980 film “American Gigolo.”

“I used to be fascinated with making ourselves feel and look pretty much as good on this residence as we might,” Mr. Sawyers mentioned, a lot the way in which the units in “American Gigolo” flattered Richard Gere. “I wished to create this set that was for us — for me and Pete.”

The outcome contains partitions painted in Benjamin Moore colours like Grape Juice (impressed by the saturated tones in a number of the film scenes); kitchen cupboards completed in teal (which served as a foil for the nice and cozy colours, because it did within the film); a leafy wallpaper mural on one kitchen wall; and a front room hearth encompass of Phillip Jeffries grasscloth painted with gauzy clouds.

It took two years of development, at a price of greater than $1,000 a sq. foot, however the couple lastly moved again in to their largely rebuilt 3,200-square-foot residence in September 2020, assured that they’d created a one-of-a-kind gem.

“It’s enjoyable, it’s open and it embraces the skin as a lot as doable,” Mr. Sawyers mentioned. It’s additionally crammed with surprising private touches, which is the purpose: “It simply actually suits our life-style.”

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