The Pink Warrior stands sentry in the living room. The bubble gum–hued, cast bronze sculpture from Wanxin Zhang’s Made in China series irreverently alludes to the terracotta soldiers of the Qin dynasty. It’s the perfect emblem for Studio Terpeluk’s renovation of the Redwood House, a home belonging to an art-collecting couple in San Francisco’s verdant Noe Valley. That’s because the residence also boldly bridges past and present.
Originally designed in 1974 by the prominent San Francisco architect Albert Lanier, the Redwood House is a three-level structure with one-storey frontage on a sloped site. Its recent and thoughtful renovation and expansion by local architect Brett Terpeluk and his firm, Studio Terpeluk, preserved its angular geometries and redwood interiors while maximizing its sense of openness and introducing new amenities.
The lowest level of the Redwood House, once a storage area, was enlarged to contain a home office, kitchenette and media room; with the addition of a guest suite to the middle storey — the domain of the bedrooms — Studio Terpeluk increased the house’s overall livable area from 210 to 299 square metres. Also paramount to the design intention was new emphasis on a sense of outdoor–indoor fluidity, achieved by bringing in ample natural light through generous glazing and sliding window systems that also grant easy access to nature. On the two upper elevations, the house features courtyards and gardens newly refreshed by landscape architect (and Terpeluk’s wife) Monica Viarengo.
In fact, one enters the home through a courtyard on the main level. It leads into the kitchen (which transitions effortlessly to the dining area) and the adjacent library; the living room, where the warrior stands in chromatic contrast to the refurbished wood banquette and brick fireplace, is at the opposite end. Throughout the Redwood House, Studio Terpeluk augmented and balanced the original character — the rich redwood plywood roof beams, partitions and built-in shelves — with complementary moves like the blond Douglas fir flooring featuring dark knots, which was fabricated from San Francisco pier pilings.
A point of pride for Studio Terpeluk is the Redwood House’s staircase; another combination of light and dark, it is framed by vintage rough-sawn redwood ply walls that provide a soft counterpoint, aesthetically and texturally, to the blackened steel handrail. “It serves as a visual anchor and sculptural presence that helps unify the home’s various levels,” Terpeluk says.
The residence’s unique colour story most embodies its era-spanning dual identity. Terpeluk has long admired mid-century Italian design and its intrepid embrace of vibrant hues. He collaborated with designer Beatrice Santiccioli, renowned for her colour sensibility, to conceive the palette for the custom millwork; her selections include such marvels as Orchid Tint, Lemon Curry, Peignoir, Nimbus Cloud and Vapore.
In the kitchen, for instance, a large divider cupboard that partially conceals the space is finished in pale blue Vapore, while the main cabinetry is a contrasting pastel pink — the refreshingly whimsical Orchid Tint — and the counter and backsplash are in a unique Carrara marble called Michelangelo.
“The palette is characterized by both high-gloss bold and matte muted tones,” Terpeluk explains. The vivid strokes, he says, were used to accentuate the custom millwork, while the softer tones defined the larger room surfaces. All the shades were fine-tuned through multiple swatch evaluations on site.
“Their combination and their dialogue with the wood and marble surfaces create a chromatic landscape that visually enlivens the spaces and harmonizes with the atmosphere of San Francisco.” The result is a renewed house that maintains its original integrity while letting in the full spectrum of light — literally and figuratively.
A 1974 house characterized by dramatic redwood ceilings and walls is rejuvenated and given a vibrant colour palette.