A San Francisco Renovation Inspired by ‘American Gigolo’

An interior designer and a programmer set out to renovate their house. (51-year-old Mr. Steinauer is a software engineer at Apple. He didn’t know how far the project would expand. It would require a complete rebuild of the house from the top. After the original house was built in the early 1900s, it had been updated and expanded intermittently. This had created an awkward mix of architectural styles. Credit…Matthew Millman, The New York Times. Mr. Sawyers and Mr. Steinauer loved the way the house was situated back from the street on a steep hill. They were also amazed by the huge Monterey Cypress tree in their backyard. The couple bought the property in March for $2.1 million. They knew that loose floor tiles, beige flooring, and 1970s appliances would have to go. “I had big ideas for what we could make on the inside — basically, gutting it — but everything eventually changed on its exterior.” The couple moved in before the renovation began. They noticed more opportunities to make big architectural moves as they lived there longer. Hulett Jones, a partner in the architecture firm Jones Haydu, was contacted by Mr. Sawyers. He had previously worked with Gensler’s architects and designers. “I went with an architect rather than trying to do it myself, because I wanted a bigger vision,” Mr. Sawyers stated. “I had some ideas about what it could be, but they really just took it somewhere else and created a much larger project than we had anticipated.”The footprint of the house, which wouldn’t be permitted under current zoning regulations, provided some unique opportunities, Mr. Jones said: “The nice thing about the house being sited at the rear of the property is that it gets these amazing views downtown and north, and great views from different angles, which became a driving factor of the design.” He and his partner, Paul Haydu, also wanted to create sightlines to the big tree in back.ImageThe couple liked the way the house was set back from the street on a steep hill, and they were impressed by the large Monterey cypress tree in the backyard.Credit…Matthew MillmanJones Haydu eliminated many interior walls and added new floor-to-ceiling windows, along with decks at various levels, to open up the home. The first floor was an elevated space that had been used as a workshop. They added a cantilevered addition to the front, which houses a guest suite and shades the new patio below. They designed space for Mr. Sawyers’s home office. It was located on the first floor, above the street. They raised the roof and altered its pitch to make more space for the primary suite on the third floor. They placed a free-standing tub in the primary bathroom’s nook. It has glass walls and is probably my favorite thing. Mr. Sawyers stated that the tub was his number one favorite feature in the house. It’s like you’re in a glass box. It makes you feel like you are in a glass box.” Jones Haydu used standing-seam metal to replace the cedar-shingle siding. Mr. Sawyers didn’t expect that to happen. He was inspired by a luxurious Tibetan coat and sets from the 1980 movie “American Gigolo” to create his own color palette. “I wanted to make this set for Pete and me.” It also has unexpected personal touches that make it unique. Follow us on Twitter at @nytrealestate.