A major remodeling expands the bottom and top floors of a four-story San Francisco row house, with movable walls offering the choice of openness or privacy to accommodate the varying needs and desires of contemporary living.

As beloved as it maybe, the traditional row house offers little in the way of spatial variety, sense of scale and height, or expansiveness. This renovation, on a beautiful site with amazing views in the prestigious Pacific Heights neighborhood, makes the most of a simple device: a spiral stair that ascends visibly through four floors, opening up the compartmentalized spaces. The stair is both an anchor and a source of light, and it connects the home vertically, from the double-height entry to the entertainment spaces opening onto the sweeping rooftop terrace. You experience the fact that it’s a tall house—taller, in fact, than it appears from the street—a delightful surprise to the first-time visitor and a continuing delight to the residents.

Photography: Gerry Ratto
Interior Designer: Steven Volpe Design