Day 1, AIA SF Home Tours: Jack Sprat

Day 1, AIA SF Home Tours: Jack Sprat

Roanoke St. Residence by Apparatus Architecture

Remember the nursery rhyme?

Jack Sprat could eat no fat

His wife could eat no lean

And so betwixt them both, you see

They licked the platter clean.

The last two houses on this first day of the AIA SF’s Home Tours were rather like Jack Sprat and his wife.  In Glen Park, the Roanoke St. house was a skinny 12 1/2 feet wide. Not too far away, the Bosworth St. house was only 42 feet deep.  Each was an inspiring example of how to get out of a tight squeeze. And on this rainy day, where fall seemed to have arrived overnight, modern architecture’s ability to grab whatever sunlight there was to be had was particularly welcome.

On Roanoke St., Apparatus Architecture could only open one of the two long walls to the light outside. So, they made internal doors out of frosted glass, which keeps the hallway bright.  To maintain privacy from the street, the windows  themselves had “between-the-glass” translucent honeycomb shades, which cleverly get around the problem of dusty blinds (I’m guessing they were from Pella).

Over on Bosworth  St.,  architect Strachan Forgan of Sasaki Associates created a double-height living room with equally enormous walls of glass. A staircase with landings of glass floats you right up to the mezzanine level, and then to the top-floor master suite.  At that level, you can see the tops of the black bamboo that create the house’s back wall.  Perhaps because of his association with the late landscape architect Hideo Sasaki, Forgan (who joined the firm ten years ago) made sure to include a serene sliver of a backyard–which makes his thin house look much deeper than it actually is. No fat on either of these houses!

Tomorrow’s roundup includes architect Casper Mork-Ulnes’ own home, which looks to be a charming mix of old and new–he started with an old Victorian boarding house and modernized the inside–and a last-minute switcheroo of a Cary Bernstein house in lieu of a Edmonds + Lee loft in South Beach’s Oriental Warehouse (wonder what the story is behind that).