They Bought a House for Its Surf-Friendly Location, But Its Layout Left a Lot to Be Desired—See the Stunning Remodel
Location really is everything.
Location, location, location—isn’t that what they say all the time in real estate? And for one San Francisco couple, it was definitely everything. The pair—who work in tech and are avid surfers—bought a home on their favorite Ocean Beach surf spot with amazing views of the waves. But while the location was stellar, the house was not. The layout and design left a lot to be desired. There was a lot of work to be done for it to become a “dream home.”
So they brought in Johanna Vente Anderson and Fiona Bronte Burr of Bay Area design studio Saffron + Poe for a gut remodel. The house was built in the ‘90s and was almost identical to all the other houses on the block (aka it was lacking personality). It had brown countertops, wall-to-wall carpeting, and boxy separate rooms. The space definitely did not suit the couple’s style, which the designers described as California casual with traveled and Old World European elements. “The main goal was to open up and connect the main living spaces to create a great room that let them be more together as a family, and be able to see the beautiful view of the ocean from the kitchen,” Anderson says. “Since both of them share a love for cooking, it was very important to them to create a beautiful and functional chef’s kitchen where they could entertain and cook meals together with their families.”
The transformation starts when you walk into the entry and stairwell area. The ‘90s floor tile was replaced with stone pavers, which set that Old World European vibe that the owners wanted. The carpeted stairs were replaced with wide-plank oak stairs with a minimal black metal and oak handrail.
The biggest project was the great room, where almost all the walls in the main living area were removed to create an open floor plan for the kitchen, dining room, and living room. The designers incorporated custom elements throughout to give the home warmth and personality. “We did this by working with the clients to select a variety of natural and textured materials, and design elements like arches and plaster walls to give life to the space,” Burr says. “They were both very involved in the layout and material selection, and we loved the collaborative process with them. They have an amazing eye and passion for design and we loved integrating many of the antique found items and art pieces they collected over the years.” Anderson and Burr included pieces from their Saffron + Poe collection to the project as well.
One of the designers’ favorite rooms in the house is the kitchen, which features a custom oak cabinetry, soapstone and Michelangelo Calacatta slabs for the countertops, a marble backsplash, Viking range, a custom plaster hood with vintage sconces on each side, and a large island paired with Saffron + Poe woven leather strapped counter stools. The previous kitchen had curved ‘90s glass brick windows on each side of the sink—those were replaced with counter-to-ceiling cabinetry for even more storage. And in the dining room, a hand-carved walnut dining table by local woodworker Jacob May takes center stage, along with a chandelier by Apparatus.
“In the living room we added a large bench/daybed in the bay window with storage underneath, and completely remodeled the fireplace wall by furring in the walls with plaster arches and designing custom white oak built-ins,“ Anderson says. “We added a matching white oak mantel, modern gas fireplace, and marble fireplace surround and hearth using the same Michelangelo Calacatta slab as the kitchen island. We were able to incorporate quite a few of our Saffron + Poe pieces including vintage cedar end tables that we designed for this project and now carry as part of our collection, and our hand-thrown ceramic lamps.”
The primary suite bedroom and bathroom became a sanctuary. Two hall closets were removed to create a larger bathroom. “We added a plaster arched opening to the wet room to set it apart and call to the living room arches downstairs,” Burr says. “In the primary bedroom we incorporated our oak and leather side tables and a custom Beni Ourain rug handwoven by our artisan partners in Morocco. We also turned two small separate closets in the primary suite into one large walk-in closet with built-ins.”
And there was one extra special room that was added at the tail-end of the three-year project: A nursery. The couple found out they were expecting a baby girl, so Burr and Anderson designed a nursery that features a Beni Ourain rug from our collection, a mobile from Electric Sun Creatives, a framed antique embroidered textile, and custom book shelves from Studio Inko.
The whole family (which include two Siberian cats) are in love with the finished space. “Our sweet clients and friends are over the moon, and so excited to enjoy their dream home as a family for years to come!” Anderson says.
Designers: Johanna Vente Anderson and Fiona Bronte Burr, Saffron + Poe
General Contractor: John Shaw, Fahan Construction
Architect: Chris Sullivan, Sullivan Architects
Millwork: Robert Fairless, Cornerstone Home Design
Photography on walls: Carter Johnston
Bonus: The home’s outdoor space underwent a transformation too, and that’s a whole other story. Click here to get the full story on how the designers fit a hot tub, outdoor shower, kitchen, and an ingenious seating solution into a tiny patio area.