An SF Victorian House Gets A Radical, 21st-Century Update

And it actually looks great!

Modern additions on Victorians usually look terrible. The cool efficiencies of contemporary architecture just don't gibe with all that gingerbread crap. But the clients of architect Craig Steely were adamant: They wanted to preserve aspects of their San Francisco Victorian and give it a dollop of 21st-century style.

So he sandwiched together the original 1880s building (painted neon green!) with a recycled-wood facade, a frameless glass penthouse, and a steel exoskeleton which in part supports the penthouse and which has all the charm of an industrial warehouse. Sounds like a horrid jumble, right?

Thing is, it works. Just look at the pictures. Lydia Lee, writing in the Architect's Newspaper, describes it perfectly as the architectural equivalent of "a delicious Napoleon pastry." Check out her story for lots more info.

[Images courtesy of Craig Steely]

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  • sean

    New San Francisco is so boring. This type of architecture belongs down in Los Angeles, not a classic city like San Francisco.

  • Mogwai

    The shots of the contemporary addition look great. Bolted on to the front of an erstwhile perfectly-happy Victorian, but otherwise great. If the owners so badly wanted a contemporary house, I wonder why didn't they move to or build one from scratch, rather than jam this confection together? They could've sold to somebody who genuinely likes Victorian architecture and they could've had an uncompromised design. Entitled clients! Sheesh!

  • Suzanne LaBarre


    The Victorian had already been renovated -- and renovated badly -- over the years. The architect was just fixing other people's mistakes. Check out Architect's Newspaper's article for the full story:

    And thanks for reading!