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San Francisco

A Closer Look At A New Buena Vista Aerie

If you frequent the hikes around Buena Vista Park and Corona and Ashbury Heights, chances are you've noticed some work on the building pictured above, the result of a three-year renovation and redesign by local architect George Bradley and his husband Eddie Baba.

The project, at long last a finished home, was recently featured in April's issue of Dwell. It's a big, airy, redwood-clad retreat with expansive, panoramic views of the city and the Bay, a far cry from the "pink marshmallow" the pair bought it as.

We had a chance to ask Bradley some questions about the project, and how he and Baba like their new perch.

A sketch of the house by George Bradley.

How long have you lived in the city? Were you drawn to the neighborhood, or the house, or both? 

"We have lived in the city for 17-plus years. Our first apartment together was a studio on Beaver St., just down the street from our home today. We fell in love with the neighborhood then and always dreamed of moving back in our own home.

"In 2011, we started looking for a place and found this property with a pink marshmallow house. We knew immediately that the place was a diamond in the rough, but the corner site and views were something we would never be able to find again. We were very excited about the opportunity to have exposure on three sides, very unique for a typical city home, that would allow us to have windows on three sides, letting in tons of light and great vistas of the surrounding city."

How long have you been an architect? Was it daunting to design your own house?

"I have been an architect for 18 years since graduating from Virginia Tech with my B.Arch.

"Actually, it was quite enjoyable designing our home. I was able to explore design options and then review with Eddie. He acted as an arbiter and made sure that I did not go to far afield or get overly intellectual about the design. He also made sure the house functioned, hence form followed function. Given we both worked hard to design and build the house, we both really enjoy the space. We love being home, we love sharing the house with our friends and family. And we have often walked around the house in awe that we actually live in the house."

What were the biggest site challenges?

"The site is slightly smaller than the typical SF lot. It is also a triangular lot that slopes in two directions. All of these limited what could be done on the site. We had to reinforce the foundations by drilling new piers along the downhill perimeter section of the house."

Were there any quirks of the original building you preserved in the new design?

"The quirkiest quirk is the angled wall, a result of the triangular lot. We worked hard to remove/ resolve the angle to square during the design process until finally, at Eddie's insistence, I finally accepted the angle and incorporated it into our design. The result is a well proportioned facade that bends where the site dictated. From inside, the angled wall 'focuses' the space towards the easterly view of the SF Bay and beyond. It became a magical moment for the house."

Thanks to George and Eddie for talking about their new home, and thanks to tipster Andy B. for writing in about it. For more photos of the house's exterior and interior, check out Dwell's recent coverage and Bradley's website.

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