Washington Street, San Francisco: 
2012 - 2014


Budget: $4,000,000 US
Scope: Complete replacement of a 1960’s three story home with a ‘new’ modern open plan house with a sculptural steel and concrete stair. Included were a design of a professional kitchen, living and dining areas, telescoping glass wall to outdoor kitchen, exterior terrace with framed views of San Francisco towers and Treasure Island, garage, wine cellar, smart home technology, hydronic in floor heating, roof deck, windscreen, & outdoor fireplace
3600 Square Feet
4 Bedrooms
2.5 Baths
Exterior Terrace
Smart Home Technology




Architect: Keith Plymale
Construction and Interiors: P3 Construction
Structural Engineering: Seismic Zone, Andy Forrest

Washington Street Home

The site of the Washington Street house, is on the edge of the Pacific Heights and Chinatown neighborhoods in San Francisco. The positioning of the exterior spaces and window openings offered and framed specific and panoramic views of the TransAmerica Building, the downtown San Francisco financial district, and Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay.

The architecture is designed to incorporate innovative ways of capturing natural light and views. The house captures dramatic views through windows that are sized and placed in unique ways (at head level when on the pillow looking across the water, looking up into the sky from the shower, TransAmerica tower when you are standing at the sink, San Francisco bay water from the tub). 

The resulting home environment feels spacious, airy, and connected to the landscape while maintaining privacy with small openings at the level of the eye where necessary.

Our design for this project also incorporates 'green' building materials, a glass master bedroom ceiling, smart home technology, and abundant storage on each floor and a wine cellar. The result is a highly functional home that is as visually stunning as it is practical and welcoming.

In Phase I of construction, the interior was completely demolished and rebuilt with higher ceilings and fewer walls. The structure of the house is uniquely organized around a single steel column in the center of the space. In phase II of construction, the exterior envelop of the house, the windows, the building facades, and a roof were completely stripped off and re-built as new. At the end of the process we had built a new building and managed to keep the large 1950’s footprint of the rectangle, while making a very new, open, unique house.

The phasing of the project into an interior project and an exterior project was necessary to keep the square footages and setbacks allowed in the 1950’s. The house is landlocked and could not be built in its position by contemporary planning code. We managed to rebuild through phasing without losing the zero setback property lines. Given the nearly 100 percent demolition and re-construction, a tear down and rebuild would have rendered the site unusable. By passing we never took down more than 50% of the house. the construction was longer but the result was worth the energy and time involved.

At the end of the process we consider the house ‘new’ ground up construction, a totally contemporary ‘new’ house.