San Francisco, California

Townhouse Master Suite
Photo © Sharon Risedorph

John Lum Architecture

General contractor
Meridian Builders

Structural engineer
Santos & Urrutia

Kohler (tub, tub filler); San Francisco Terrazzo (floor); Ann Sacks (glass tile); Prisma (light fixture)

From the third floor of a 102-year-old town house in San Francisco’s Cole Valley, seeing is unbelievable. This perch enjoys a panorama extending to the Marin headlands. Moreover, the owners of the house have a series of impressive artworks.

In renovating this space, local architect John Lum explains, “We wanted to create a light-filled glass pavilion that would focus on the views while also providing enough wall space for the art collection.”

In contrast, Lum anchored the center of the floor with a volume containing a walk-in closet and master bathroom, and offering an intimate atmosphere that engages all of the senses. Steel-troweled stucco was applied to the walls, a tactile gesture matched by the shower’s two heads. Equally intriguing, the tub sits outside the core, in a hallway nook that shares the same great views as the perimeter rooms. And to stimulate the ears, Lum mounted the tub filler in the ceiling so that its basin fills by a gently streaming, 10-foot cascade of water. Pocket doors may seal off this space for private bathing, although the homeowners’ four-year-old daughter prefers to splash in the Bay Area skyline.