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A “Runt’s” Redemption

From an overshadowed cottage to a three-story stunner in just 16 months. 

SLIDESHOW

The kitchen centers around a 4-by-10-foot marble island and a 10-foot-long concrete desk.

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Jonathan Feldman and Chris Kurrle melded the home’s traditional facade with a modern interior aesthetic.

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A 20-foot shipping container doubles as a hangout space and bathhouse for the nearby hot tub.

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The “tiger burn” cypress wall by Delta Millworks in Austin was lightly charred to give it a textured surface. The light fixture is made from individual vintage glass insulators that Feldman Architects strung together.

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In the basement-level library, a Living Divani Extrasoft sofa makes a plush spot for reading. The light fixture is by Restoration Hardware.

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The drought-tolerant plants by Arterra Landscape Architects are irrigated via a gray water system and a rainwater collection tank. The home is certified LEED Platinum.

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The glass bathroom tile is made of recycled computer and television screens. “We really like the imperfections and tiny pieces of junk in there that they couldn’t refine out,” says homeowner Steve Rappaport.

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Longtime Noe Valley dwellers Steve Rappaport and Christy Keoshian had had it. After years of sharing a bathroom with their three kids, aged 11, 13, and 16, and mediating disputes in their two teenage sons’ shared bedroom, they longed for some breathing room. Still, they were cautious house hunters. “We didn’t want it to feel too big,” says Rappaport. “We didn’t want to disrupt the pattern of togetherness we had in our old place.”

For their grand expansion plan, the couple eventually settled on an unlikely abode: a two-story Noe Valley cottage built in 1912. “It was a runt,” recalls Chris Kurrle, the Feldman Architects partner who oversaw the renovation. “It was one of the smallest houses on the block set on the largest lot on the block.”

Although Keoshian and Rappaport had originally been seeking out Victorian accents, this home had no such flourishes. “Inside, it was completely charmless,” Rappaport says. So the couple tapped Kurrle and Jonathan Feldman to salvage what was left of the home’s original detailing. They removed the facade’s deteriorating stucco cladding to reveal wooden shingles and uncovered original beams overhead in the kitchen. When contractors discovered the original front door buried in the basement, the homeowners painted it lemon yellow.

The back half of the home underwent a total overhaul: The family added a master bedroom, a master bathroom, two more bedrooms, and a series of decks. A large common area was created on the main floor to encourage nightly gathering, and nearby, the kids do their homework at a 10-foot-long concrete countertop that local fabricator Buddy Rhodes repurposed into a desk. On the west-facing side of the living room, 18-foot sliding glass doors open onto an expansive terrace.

A new oak-and-steel staircase connects the floors inside, while a spiraling steel stairway links the decks out back. Since the home is sandwiched between two larger houses, channeling natural light was a challenge. Post-renovation, light floods all three stories from an 18-by-12-foot waterfall skylight: glazed glass that cascades across the ceiling and down the wall.

The couple hunted for a dramatic light fixture to accentuate the stairway, the home’s major architectural moment. “We saw some amazing things, but they were like $50,000,” chuckles Rappaport. Instead, he found a fabricator on Etsy who turns old telephone-pole electric insulators into pendant lights. He bought two dozen and had them wired together. 

Surprisingly, in a home built around outdoor overlooks, one of the most striking spaces is the master bathroom. That’s by design, says Rappaport. “Basically, the five of us all used the same bathroom in our old place,” he explains. “So when we moved, Christy and I were committed to having a nice bathroom for ourselves.” They modeled theirs after those in the Park Hyatt hotel in Shanghai, where they had both traveled for work. The Fireclay Tile is made of recycled CRT glass—the heavy screens from old computer and television monitors. (Fittingly, both Rappaport and Keoshian work at Apple.) Beyond the shower, equipped with three showerheads, the bathtub is framed by a yellow-painted steel sunshade. The screen is both decorative and functional, framing the view and lending privacy. It’s to this room, on the home’s top floor, that Keoshian and Rappaport head to unwind. “Ironically, the best view in the house,” he says, “is from the tub.”

 

Originally published in the October issue of San Francisco

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