Moving over to Noe Valley, we find eco+historical project #3…1436 Sanchez St.

Set in a row of nicely-restored homes out in what us hilltop folk call “Noe Flats”, 1436 Sanchez is a 1903 home that had been in a single family for at least 90 years and vacant for the last 4 or 5.

On the bright side:

  • The location is great
  • The neighboring houses are all restored
  • There’s a single fireplace
  • There’s an existing, albeit scary, garage
  • There are 3 living levels (but the lowest level, above the garage, is mostly basement)

On the not-so-bright side:

  • Like most homes of its era, it’s uninsulated
  • The wiring is old (it still has gas/electric fixtures)
  • The plumbing is old
  • The kitchen has nothing worth saving
  • Although apparently huge, there are just 1200 sqft. w/2BR and 1BA

So what are we going to do?

We’re eco+historical!  That means we’re going to make this a great family house…and along the way, we plan to get ourselves a LEED Platinum rating for it.  Will we get there?  We’ll see.  But we’ll definitely make this old, drafty, lead paint-filled home a healthy, attractive, family-centered bastion of efficiency and sustainability.

We’ll be blogging the entire process from concept to completion, so stay tuned.


There’s a detailed post on the main eco+historical site on the as-built drawings, but we’ll include a summary here so it’s all in one place.  We worked with Fog City As-builts to capture the dimensions of the existing home and site and get them into CAD so that we could start on the design of the remodeled home.  In just a couple of days they were able to give us the floor plans…

…and some 3D cutaways showing each floor

…and a full rendering of the front of the house that almost exactly matches a recent photo!

Design Concepts

With the as-built plans in hand, our architects, Feldman Architecture, set off to create a new design for the house that would make better use of the space that the home has.  Although the house appears huge, due to the 3 apparent living levels over the garage, the lowest level was unfinished and only had a 6′ head height since the garage went straight in under the house and restricted the available space.  We suggested to Feldman that we could change the garage from going in under the house, level with the sidewalk, to sloping down starting at the garage door so that by the time the garage passes under the house, it’s low enough down that the area that’s currently basement could be made into a full living level with 8′ ceilings.

Combining that with some good use of wall dormers (see our post on adding floor space in the same footprint) in the back of the top story will greatly enlarge the floor space we can use in the existing house and a small addition in the back, to match the neighbors, will make the two lowest levels great family living spaces.

Check out the concept drawings.  In my humble opinion, Feldman, and our project architect, Bridgett Shank, did a simply fabulous job.

Note some of the great things that they accomplished with this design:

  • Family-friendly 3 Bedrooms and 2 Baths on the top story
  • Master bed has views to downtown San Francisco
  • Kids bedrooms get a great shared deck in the rear
  • Main level takes existing LR/DR/Kitchen, grows the kitchen and adds a Family Room, Powder Room and Coat Closet
  • New ground level has a  suite-like 2 BRs, 1 Bath, and a huge Rec Room that looks out onto the garage’s Green Roof
  • New garage level has room for 2 tandem cars plus a huge amount of storage

Next step…get this into 3D CAD like the as-builts!

Final Plans

Oct 15, 2010…the plans are done!

It took us some time, but I think we’ve really come up with a great plan for the remodel.   We’ve scaled back a bit to manage costs, but we still have both a Family Room off the kitchen and an amazing Rec Room/Man Cave down on the bottom level – with its own kitchenette, no less.  The Master Bedroom is much improved in both size and layout, giving it room for not only the bed and nightstands, but a couple of chairs, a view of downtown SF, and some built-in bookshelves and dresser drawers.  Check it out and let us know what you think!

Garage Level

Keeping the size of the garage more or less the same as it currently is, we’ll replace the circa-1924 concrete with rusted-out rebar, add proper drainage, and connect it to the house for the first time via an interior stair.

Ground Level / Basement

This level does currently exist as an unfinished basement, but with barely a 6′ head height.  We’ll excavate to get an 8′ head height and extend it in the rear of the home, giving this floor two good-sized bedrooms, a full bath, a huge Rec Room/Home Theatre, a laundry, and a kitchenette to keep the wine, beer, Perrier and microwave popcorn at hand…

First Floor

This is the original social level of the home.  Unfortunately, the original version had no bathroom, no strong connection to the back yard, and an awkward kitchen.  By making our small rear addition and opening up the floor plan in a more contemporary way, we get a great Entry and Living Room with the original fireplace, a new Powder Room and coat closet plus a huge Kitchen connected to new Dining and Family Rooms – with a wall of windows and French doors opening to the newly-elevated rear yard.

Top Floor

The original top floor sported just two bedrooms and one bath…and lots of pink carpet.  Um…yeah.

In our re-envisioned top floor, we added dormers in the back to take advantage of the full width of the home and enabling us to split the rear bedroom into two bedrooms and a bath.  The rear addition below for the new Family Room serves as the foundation for a huge rear deck for these two bedrooms and, with plantings on the deck and in the rear yard, give them a lovely green-space view.  The front bedroom always had a view of downtown San Francisco, but enlarging the front windows (and upgrading them from the lovely aluminum sliders there now) only serves to improve that view.  By dropping the ceiling height of the Living Room below, we gain extra square footage in the new MBR plus we squeeze out a Master Closet and Master Bath with double sinks and a huge walk-in shower.

Front and Rear Views

The front view shows just how little the house actually appears to change from the original (which I’ve included from MapJack for reference), preserving the historic identity and details of the home.  The dimensions of more or less everything remain the same and there will be no above-ground vertical additions to the home.  Only the new dormers really give away that there are significant changes upstairs, and they are set back pretty far from the front.



While seeing the new rear view has much more substantive changes, raising grade to enable the new Family Room to walk straight out to the yard and showing the new rear upper deck shared by the two rear upper bedrooms.  At the roof, a small peak illustrates the original sharply-peaked roofline, transitioning to the new, more shallow roof that extends to the outer walls, enabling us to double the available width of living space in the rear top story, capturing space that was previously lost to the sharp roofline.