How A San Francisco Victorian Made Its Way To The 21st-Century


living room with fireplace flanked...

The living room's fireplace wall is a prime example of the home's sophisticated symmetry.

Powder room with leafy wallpaper

Tucked beneath the staircase, the powder room is enlivened by Cole & Son’s Florencecourt wallpaper. The Watermark faucet, Rejuvenation mirror and sconces by The Urban Electric Co. introduce glimmers of brass.

Child's room with a white...

In the daughter’s room, Rebecca Atwood’s Petals wallpaper, an Armadillo rug and shades made with a Calvin Fabrics textile foster a serene setting. The George Nelson for Herman Miller pendant light hangs above a Crate & Kids bed and artwork by Gaétan Caron.

Child's room with a cloud...

Charlap Hyman & Herrero-designed Schumacher wallpaper, Roman shades made with Rebecca Atwood linen and a Moroccan rug from Tony Kitz Gallery set a playful tone in the son’s bedroom. Beside the Pottery Barn Kids table set is Knoll’s Womb chair and ottoman.

A primary bedroom with a...

The primary suite features a bespoke bed upholstered in a Rogers & Goffigon mohair. A Phillip Jeffries wallcovering and drapery made with Opuzen fabric strike quiet notes. Beneath a painting by Edith Park Truesdell are a T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings desk and Tom Faulkner chair.

classic dining room table centered...

Farrow & Ball’s Skimming Stone coats the dining room’s new wall paneling, while a Stark rug adds pattern underfoot. The bespoke walnut sideboard is topped with a Porta Romana table lamp from Kneedler Fauchère.

Dining room with console and...

Anderson and team designed the oak-and-brass dining table. It is paired with chairs reupholstered in a Perennials fabric and a Visual Comfort & Co. chandelier. Time Capsule III by Rob Delamater accents the corner.

Kitchen next to a family...

Calacatta Lincoln countertops from Da Vinci Marble, custom cabinetry, Visual Comfort & Co. pendants and Fyrn stools define the kitchen. The space opens to the family room, anchored by a Stark rug and Andrew Mills’ Awaken.

classic entry with a console...

In the foyer, Benjamin Moore’s White Dove and an Oushak rug from Tony Kitz Gallery set the stage for an antiqued mirror and custom cabinet conceived by designer John K. Anderson’s team. A Murano-glass chandelier by Multiforme and a Jonathan Browning Studios table lamp from De Sousa Hughes illuminate the space.

Despite spending several years working on this 1900 French Provincial-style residence, architect Benjamin McGriff’s efforts might initially go unnoticed—and he doesn’t consider this a bad thing. “Often, when we’re renovating a home of this caliber, it’s about trying to make the plans feel more intentional—as if they could have always been this way,” he says.

Simply put, the goal was to elevate the Presidio Heights abode with an eye toward increasing access to and connectivity between spaces. “Like many homes in the city, it had been touched numerous times over its 124 years of existence,” McGriff recalls. “There had been isolated renovations in some rooms, like the kitchen, but there was nothing terribly comprehensive about the work. It needed some revision to both celebrate what was great about the home and modernize it for contemporary living.” 

Alongside interior designer John K. Anderson and general contractor Jeff King, the architect reimagined every room in the house, moving interior walls to improve flow and even out proportions. “The dining room, for instance, was a touch oversized,” McGriff notes. “We recalibrated it to be more appropriately scaled for the rest of the home.” The square footage plucked from the dining room was then used to create a corridor that connects the front and rear of the dwelling.

In another right-sizing move, the narrow doorway connecting the living room to the foyer—which includes beautiful original elements such as a wrought-iron stair rail and a stained-glass window—was widened substantially, improving the flow between spaces. Beyond practicality, the endeavor also yielded aesthetic benefits: “When we expanded that opening, it became symmetrical with the living room’s fireplace wall,” the architect explains.

Establishing that kind of equilibrium became a through line in the renovation. “With this style of home, symmetry is the backbone,” McGriff elaborates. “It shows up in the façade especially, which lends itself to reinforcing the concept in the interior.” Replicating the existing trim, he installed wall paneling that emphasizes the newly resized dining room. Upstairs in the primary suite, balance again plays a key role, as seen in the custom his-and-hers vanities—conceived by Anderson and his team—flanking a large window.

The furniture and accessories throughout meld new and old, with an emphasis on the latter. “We love pieces that have a story or some age and soul to them,” Anderson notes. For example, the designer and his team paired a 1930s game table with cane-back Edward Wormley chairs in the living room. The client shares this sentiment and, as Anderson says, “appreciates a good mix.” Her preference for a midcentury sensibility permeates the abode, evident in the Paul McCobb walnut-framed armchairs she discovered and brought to the project. 

Another driving force: the owner’s preference for blue, a hue that threads through the otherwise neutral palette. “She appreciates understated color and prefers softer shades—nothing too bright or primary,” Anderson says. Where needed, the designers injected accents of rust and gold for “a little punch,” he adds. 

For the children, Anderson and his team prioritized durable textiles, like the gray leather-like vinyl upholstery on the breakfast room’s banquette. Paired with a Saarinen-style pedestal table, it’s the ideal spot for casual family meals and art projects alike. The designer also infused their bedrooms with a healthy dose of playful color via whimsically patterned wallpapers.

All members of the design team agree that the key to such a beautifully realized, well-tailored dwelling starts with channeling the client. Listening, according to Anderson, is the first step. “From there, we work to tell the clients’ story,” he describes. Adds McGriff, “We see our job as helping the client interpret their vision into an architectural framework that celebrates who they are and how they want to live. For this home, the narrative became a practical balance of functionality and gracious living.”