431 Tehama (Image Source:

If you participated in the San Francisco Living: Home Tours this weekend and care to share your thoughts about any of the homes other than 55 Sheridan or 306 Mullen (such as 431 Tehama above which a plugged-in reader first called to our attention six months ago), this is the place to do it.

And yes, comments on those other two homes are more than welcome as well, but we’re asking that you consider doing so on their property specific threads for the sake of continuity.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by SteveN

    Loved the cantilevered stairs, central courtyard and walls of storage that didn’t compromise the dynamics of the space in the Fougeron loft. Found the glass enclosed showers and toilet (!) visually interesting but intimidating.

  2. Posted by salarywoman

    If I had seen these projects 5 years ago I would have loved them. Now I am not so sure. Consider me a grump. The spaces feel disorganized and the stairways, which are such a primary (and expensive) feature in all of the projects, are squeezed. With all that space I’d expect lower risers (a joy to walk up and down on, if you’ve ever experienced them) and a more generous width. Loved the rear skylight across the entire back of the Fougeron offices, but that was part of the original building.

  3. Posted by Jim

    Another great AIA tour, and a chance to actually get inside some of the best new housing in San Francisco.
    Some expected great new works by some of the current crop of great designers – Neal Schwartz (master of beautifully detailed liveable homes), Craig Steely (knock your socks off), Allan Levy (new excitiement while honoring the past), Aidlin Darling (the only house that could ever tempt me to live on the foggy coast), Anne Fougeron (glorious, pure and simple), Larissa Sand (very very cool), Stanley Saitowitz (consistently wonderful), and others.
    And always good to experience an affordable housing project (Van Meter Williams Pollack) which exceeds many market rate projects in its high design quality).
    A couple of missteps, but they are important to experience also.
    A terrific job by the AIA of finding the best of the best, and putting together in what has to be one complicated event to organize. Just one thought – the Ora Way rehab isn’t just “within a typical late Sixties development”, it is a Sixties Fisher Friedman architect-designed development, justifiably honored by the AIA when it was new; now updated and wonderfully reimagined for the next fifty years.
    The prize for the silliest design feature of the year – bathroom sinks in project after project that are good for little more than splashing water on the floor.

  4. Posted by liar

    I was able to see all the houses on Sunday… In my opinion the Sand studios office and residence was the best of the bunch. I could see myself living there but work would be too close for me. Great details, great execution of the design, should have stayed there longer.
    55 sheridan way too pretentious with its bouncers. I lied about my camera – no way I was letting the “bouncer” guy chuck it in a cardboard box. I felt like I was climbing a dark mountain for a room and a half on each level. Seemed like a waste of time for ole. Nice details but the parti sucked. Is the shaft in the middle of the stair to be an elevator that was value engineered out of the project?
    The Fougeron place was a exibitionist’s dream. Can’t see myself work at Fougeron’s office with its lack of view for the architect plebs. Plus you have to walk by Ann’s desk to leave at night. Maybe you will never leave…
    I liked the van meter project as it shows what you can do with little money. The buildings looked like market rate units. Though the streets with car parking seemed unnecessary with all the public transit so close by. How do the tenants afford to own a car in the city? A park would have been nicers than parking for the kids.
    The AIA missed the opportunity to promote all the houses were within walking distance of each other. The bicyclists got a 10% discount, while I paid full price. I know the AIA could not verify who walked so no discount. That 10% discount to bikers really sucked… come on AIA give me a discount, too!!!

  5. Posted by WenttoAIAtour

    I went to *all* the AIA houses on Saturday and Sunday.
    Aidlin-Darling’s Ocean Beach house was fantastic – the details were great. The Ora way residence was classsically modern – it was perhaps the only house I would consider feasible to raise my kids in. The only realistic house of the bunch.
    The house on 17th ave – Wretched excess and ridiculous amalgam of every single design trick thrown into an incoherent house with no unifying style.
    431 Tehama – I loved it. Loved the shaft of light. Loved all the glass. But I would never live there. Its like Hong Kong – its a beautiful place to visit but it would be very difficult to live there – as a previous reader said, an exhibitionist’s dream.
    Neal Schwatz’s House – A great project on a budget with some nice details – the little ledge/trays sitting on top of the half walls were really neat. And I love his taste in furniture.
    55 Sheridan and the place on 16th st – A tour de force of architectural ego. Simply put, they were both excessive. Neat to look at for 5 minutes, but then one realizes that these were constructed as art first and life second, not the other way around.

  6. Posted by docent boy

    I was a docent for the tour on both days, saw all 10 houses and have been a docent the past 3 years. Every year this gets more mainstream and more media attention- dunno if thats necessarily a good thing. This year my favorite house was the one on the Great Highway- the old and new worked very well together. I spoke at length with the contractor/ architect and that was valuable. I love the color and texture of the Cor-ten sans any visible fasteners. All concealed clips, all sooper expensive installation. I wish each house was honest in its price per sq ft number. Sexy self satisfying houses can start to tire after a while.
    I disliked the Fougeron loft because although the details were crisp, it was sterile. The glass walled shower and toilet on the roof and new condominiums with “now selling” a mere 25 feet was a little weird. And fougee’s office downstairs had no windows for the staff. Thats a no-no in my book.
    I wish the AIA with its fascist dictats would demand that the Architects would leave a set of drawings at the tours so other Architects like myself and others more technically oriented could get beyond the – “ah nice wood, nice metal, cool tub, awesome fireplace” and see the space in 2d after seeing it in 3d.
    Last note, if you repeatedly take photographs of somebody’s house and violate their trust, break the rule printed on the ticket, dont be all shocked if a docent interupts you, perhaps more rudely than neeeded. It makes our job more fun!

  7. Posted by Kurt Brown

    Saw 4/5 houses both days. Agree with previous posters.
    1) The bouncers at 55 Sheridan were supremely rude. Simply holding up the line to stare everyone down for 30 seconds like we were criminals. Left a very bad taste that everyone was chatting about.
    2) The Darling house on Ocean Drive was my favorite too, and I think just about everyone else’s, based on my overheard conversations. Just an amazing combination of old and new. Can someone remind me where this house was written up in the press earlier this year? Was in the NYT Sunday Magazine? The Chron? Google failed me.
    3) Re the Fougeron loft: one person’s “sterile” is another person’s “open and free.” The eternal clash of the clean versus fussy aesthetics, never to be resolved. I liked it. I’m a bit of an exhibitionist, and I could see myself in a glass shower with the condo neighbor’s getting off on that from across the street (hey, it’s SF — we don’t use window coverings, that’s another thing that sets us apart from the rest of the country). But taking a dump in a glass booth? Even I draw the line there. Bless our fair city, I’m sure there is a sizable crowd that would consider a glass toilet stall the perfect fetish object 🙂 Ann seemed quite nice, BTW. Her “wall of fame” award display in her office was quite intimidating. I pitty the windowless associates.
    The docent comments are appreciated! I can only imagine. By the latter afternoon, it was quite the zoo in some of the smaller spaces. All the docents were extremely nice and nice looking, making the “security” thugs at 55 Sheridan all the more crass by comparison.

  8. Posted by LoftLover

    Interesting to see the Saitowitz remodel of 270 14th considering the number of dot com parties I attended in the space. The new spiral staircase was fantastic as was the roof deck. Wish they wouldn’t have removed that crazy marble (?) full room shower that I recall being in the back. Living space was the least inviting of all the lofts on tour. Felt like an office.
    Bummed I missed the Darling house. Would love a link as well. Completely agree about the docents. Cuties everywhere.

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