Custom Home less than 3,000 s.f.

Zack/de Vito Architecture
San Francisco

Project name: Laidley Street Residence
Project location: San Francisco
Square footage: 2,988
Total project cost (not land): $1.55 million

This single-family residence peers over a steep downhill slope with fabulous views of the city. Light floods through the central skylight and translucent stair bringing light to all three levels. The open plan is composed of two side-by-side volumes; the larger, more public space pushes farther out toward the view. Using a consistent palette of materials and detailing techniques, the project exemplifies craft.

The house is sustainably designed and built with high fly-ash concrete, engineered lumber, FSC wood, and more. The house is powered by PV and solar hot water panels. Using panelized construction, 85 percent of the framing was built off-site and installed in three weeks.

The site posed the most challenges, both physically and in obtaining approvals. Like most San Francisco infill sites, there is the ever-present challenge of fitting the program into a restricted space and getting light into the middle of the building. An important goal was to maximize sustainability while maintaining the integrity of the overtly modern design and integrating some form of modular construction into the project. The height and length of the house, as well as its volume on the south side, were reduced to preserve the neighbors’ views, light and air.

The amounts of the reduction were designed after lengthy communication with all of the affected neighbors. The assumed detriment of reduced space was turned into positive attributes of more side-wall windows and higher ceilings. A large operable skylight over the central, translucent acrylic stair brings light to the middle of the house. As the narrow infill site was not appropriate for modular construction, a system for panelized construction was implemented.