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A Home With a Game Plan

An Escher-esque staircase and an indoor swing translate into a vertical playing field.

The handmade swing—which is personalized with the words “Best. Swing. Ever”—was carved from reclaimed oak by Dzierlenga F+U.

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The rolled-steel staircase wraps around a voluminous atrium. “The kids could be playing catch—with one kid lying down, looking up from the kitchen floor, while the others drop a ball from the office,” says project architect Taisuke Ikegami.

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Jake (left) and Riley Foard glide through the kitchen on a swing suspended from the staircase.

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The door of Foard’s office pokes fun at the business within. “My design direction was 'I want it to look like an old dentist’s door you’d see in the 450 Sutter building,’” he says

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The home’s painted cedar facade and elegant entryway offer no clues to the high jinks within.

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Co-owner Nicole Rimpel selected the home’s decor, including art from Sense Fine Art and photographs by David Fokos.

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The green roof offers unobstructed views of Sutro Tower.

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Apple Creative Director Lane Foard, who speaks in a southern Virginia drawl, named his home the Fitty Wun house after its Cole Valley address. But it could just as easily be known as the Witty Fun House.

“They really wanted an informal environment,” says architect Jonathan Feldman, who transformed the 1915 Marina-style home for Foard, his wife, Nicole Rimpel (a hospitalist at Stanford Medical Center), and their sons, Cooper, 14, Riley, 11, and Jake, 6.

“All of our rooms serve a function and are used,” adds Foard. “There are no precious spaces.” in the kitchen, a wood and rope swing—a Christmas present originally intended for the family’s summer home in Martha’s Vineyard but suspended from the staircase—often makes a wide arc between the living and dining rooms, zooming past the kitchen island “at 90 miles per hour,” Feldman says, chuckling.

The tour de force, a spiraling rolled-steel staircase, connects the ground-floor den and kitchen, the second-story dining and living rooms, and three high-ceilinged bedrooms upstairs. The mezzanine level houses Foard’s office, where the sign on the door reads, “L.W. Foard & Sons: Jackassery, Tomfoolery, High Jinks and General Nonsense” in stately black and gold leaf.

“Such a design is not typically in our playbook,” project architect Taisuke Ikegami says of the open-core layout. but with three rowdy boys, a dog, and two kittens romping through the rooms, “we definitely needed space,” Rimpel says. With this 4,200-square-foot townhouse, they got it. “I grew up in a house where all the neighborhood kids liked to hang out,” Foard explains. “We wanted a friendly home like that to keep a close eye on things and everyone within earshot.”

 

Originally published in the October issue of San Francisco

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