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Form and function exist hand-in-hand in this joy-filled modern home. An intricately detailed dwelling for a tight-knit family of four, the Bernal Heights House boasts inspired finishes, strategic placemaking and conceptually rich accents throughout. An homage to the dad’s family home in Australia, designed by his architect-father, Studio BBA conceived of a “rescue house.”

“Memories of the outside world will never have the same tonality as those of home and, by recalling these memories, we add to our store of dreams; we are never real historians, but always near poets, and our emotion is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost.”

-Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space

An all-too-true San Francisco story applies here; after searching for years for a new home, the family finally settled on one in terrible shape and with few resources left for a renovation.  Through a strategic design exercise, Studio BBA assisted the family in a new design approach, circumventing the Planning Department by staying within the building’s envelope and expanding down. Coupled with the necessary foundation upgrade, the new lower level added minimal work for maximum opportunities.

The program is split between three floors: a lower floor for parents, a middle floor for the family, and an attic floor for the kids. The levels are tied together and enveloped in wood: a douglas fir slatted ceiling above and a white oak hardwood floor below. The wood detailing visually extends as an outdoor canopy, integrating the outdoor bathing and lounging space adjacent to the master suite.

Studio BBA took advantage of every nook to achieve function and beauty. The Welcome Niche at the top of the stairs provides a place for everyday objects, serving platters, and family games. Open wood shelves display Australian heirlooms and family artworks. Efficiently planned kitchens and baths host colorful tile and new daylight via two added skylights and large sliding doors. Added space even allowed for an  upright piano  in the dining room.

Like all BBA projects, sustainability is inherent to the design and integrated into every design detail; this house is solar powered and offers radiant heating on two floors, leaving the attic uncontrolled because the building envelope is tightened and heat naturally rises.

Our design work continues with a new garden project and mural in the stairwell.



BBA Team

Bonnie Bridges

Megan McGuinn


1,890 SF


Elliot Build Remodel


Semco Engineering


Brian McCloud Photography

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