Three Bernal Homes Selected for Schwanky Architecture Tour

Here’s some deep evidence of Bernal’s celebrity status. This year, three (3!!) Bernal Heights houses were selected for inclusion in this weekend’s Home Tour organized by the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Architects. So chic!

Thankfully, our real estate-obsessed friends at CurbedSF prepared an excellent executive summary:

The 10th annual San Francisco: Living Home Tours are this weekend. We thought it best to give you a preview of the featured projects on the tour. The tour aims to shine a little light on a wide variety of architectural styles, neighborhoods and residences – all from the architect’s point of view (most of which will be on hand to answer all your questions). This is a great way to get an inside look into the world of distinctive and new residences in the city. The projects are showcased on either Saturday, the 15th or Sunday, the 16th from 10am to 4pm.

The Folsom Street Residence [3407 Folsom] designed by Gary Gee Architects is a brand spankin’ new home that was built on a vacant, cross-sloping downhill lot in Bernal Heights. From the architect we learn that the design concept was “to create simple layering of living spaces stacked and interlocked to express the mass and topography of the site.” It’s a 3-level home with a 2-car garage. Our favorite property highlight is the roof deck that has views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Downtown, East Bay Hills and the Bay. [EDITOR’S NOTE: This same roof deck/helipad was much beloved by the Invisible Obamas during their recent visit to Bernal Heights.]

Bernal Heights is definitely the neighborhood of choice for this year’s tours. The Bernal Tower [66 Ellsworth] by Blue Truck Studio is a tightly-detailed modern home that re-mastered a decrepit bungalow. The architect says things about the house like “The classic bay windows and siding of neighboring Victorians were re-interpreted as a floor-to-ceiling front window and square-grooved vertical siding” and “The street level facade of nearby stucco houses was re-invented with a rough-sawn cedar siding hand-coopered to curve up under the soffit.” It has a green roof.

This single-family home [175 Ripley] designed by Zack | de Vito Architecture and Construction is a retreat in Bernal Heights for a professional couple. The residence is a spacious 3,200 sq. ft. and has “dramatic views” of downtown via floor-to-ceiling glazing and terraces from the back.

If you want to join the Home Tour, tickets are available. For everyone else, do not be alarmed if you see a lot of architect-types wandering the neighborhood over the weekend. They’re easy to spot; just look for sharply-dressed men and women wearing the telltale Daniel Libeskind glasses.

Lastly, hearty congrats to the Bernal Heights homeowners (and their architects) who are participating in the tour. Thanks to you, all of Bernal can now bask in the glory of being AIA-certified glamorous.

PHOTOS: Folsom, Mark Luthringer Photography; Ellsworth, Eduardo Navarro Photography; Ripley, Bruce Damonte Photography

16 thoughts on “Three Bernal Homes Selected for Schwanky Architecture Tour

  1. Homey is what your grandmothers house used to feel like in 1943. this is 2012. Making a home “homey” comes from the occupants. These are great modern houses, very nice. Those who don’t understand them really don’t understand modern architecture.

  2. Hmm. I just have to say that Peter, the Blue Truck Studio guy that built the 66 Ellsworth house, had a long conversation with us and all the neighbors (before he blocked our views) about how into Bernal he was and how excited he was to live here and how he needed the house designed the way he designed it because he was building a family home for his expanding brood. We welcomed him with open arms but six months after construction was finally complete, the house was up for rent for $6,500 a month. Crazy. He never came to any of our neighborhood events or played in our open yard but I was surprised they didn’t even tell us they were moving. Sigh. I guess I was naive.

  3. Funny. Peter just called and I told him about my snarky post, and that I felt bad, but we were just really bummed that they left and rented the place out when our other renter neighbors have come and gone numerous times. Anyhow, he’s a really nice guy and they were really bummed to have to leave and yes I feel like a jerk.

    • Thanks for kicking my ass, Michelle. Sorry we never had a chance to say a proper good-bye, but Grace lost her job and we had a crazy few weeks trying to stay on our feet. I know you’re bummed/pissed/annoyed… I am too! We loved Bernal for the two years we lived there and are only renting out the house because we want to come back in the near future. LA sucks! I read Bernalwood weekly and reminisce. Hope you like our tenants… they’re not paying $6500 by the way (not even close)… that was just our way to find someone to live in it who could take care of our home. We’ll be back one day…

      Oh and thanks again for sending Patty over to help with the shelf!

  4. Sorry, I never got into the minimalist look – too much like an office building. I’m still waiting for the victorian revival. Give me molding, lots of it! Victorians age more gracefully.

  5. I walk by that house on Ripley all the time, watched it get built. Always thought it was beautiful. There are a lot of crappy minimalist/modernist designs out there but it’s not one of them in my opinion. Ripley’s a cool street, lots of neat architecture up there.

    I like the Folsom house too; except that I think it’s situated wrong and feels like a fishbowl. It would be awesome on a hill surrounded by several acres so the occupants wouldn’t feel so on display if they left their windows uncovered all the time.

  6. Whether you like Modern architecture or not, it’s pretty impressive that such a quiet, small neighborhood has such a strong representation in a tour of architecturally-significant houses. I think it’s a testament to the diversity of Bernal and an affirmation for where we live. If you had actually gone inside even one of the houses, I think you might have been surprised how warm and livable the spaces were… even for “cold, soulless office buildings”.

  7. Yes. Congratulations to those who made it onto the tour list. All the houses on the tour looked very similar in appearance and structure. I understand that’s the current trend. It’s just not my interest.

    As for the warm, livable feeling, it’s is also a matter of taste. It’s like telling someone who likes baths that taking a shower is the same thing or someone who likes renaissance art that they should like minimalist works. It’s all very subjective. I like victorian or art deco office buildings. I could live in several of those downtown.

    I do not intend to offend. I’m just expressing my opinion in out diverse neighborhood. 🙂

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