Interior designer and architect Linnea Clark of Studio NEA says this home, originally built in the Mission District of San Francisco in the 1920s, had a cottage-like charm when she first saw it. This served as the inspiration for the remodel she soon embarked on, embracing the scale and warmth of the original house but updating it with clean lines and sumptuous materials. Linnea settled on calling it a Modern Cottage, meaning they contrasted the severity of minimalism with the inviting elements of a cottage. Read on to learn more about the unique transformation.

Hi Linnea! We’d love to know more about the property, and how the neighborhood influenced the design.
The existing 1920s townhouse had a quaint charm which provided inspiration for the remodel. Arched openings, wood windows with divided lites as well as an intimate scale. The location is unique because it is situated in the heart of San Francisco’s bustling Mission neighborhood but is tucked into a small quiet street providing a retreat for the young family that lives there. We set out to embrace the sweetness of the original residence while contrasting it with restrained minimalism and industrial touches, for example:

-The angular oak breakfast nook is nestled into the classic bay window.
-The classic marble counters and island contrast the roughness of reclaimed brick in the kitchen.
-The windows, with traditional divided lites, were hand painted black on site and finished with limestone sills.

What condition was it in when you first saw it?
The original home had its charms but was a prime candidate for a major overhaul. The existing floor plans were chopped up into many small spaces and the finishes were pretty dated, so the first order of business was to open everything up and create a better flow through the house. As well as raise the head heights of the windows to allow more natural light to enter the home. We kept the classic bay windows, divided lites and arched entry as a nod to the original home. 

What can you tell us about the family?
I met my client Rachely Esman a few years before this project began. She had a design-focused startup and so I introduced her to a few contacts in the business and we attended industry events together. It was over dinner one night that she gave me the idea and lots of encouragement to start my own business and since then she has been a champion of my work.

Her business called Wescover is a virtual marketplace full of well-made alternatives to mass décor, providing access to small, unique creative brands that normally would be difficult to find without an interior designer’s connections. We sourced many of the furnishings and fixtures through her platform.

What were some of the top priorities for the renovation?
The original home had a breathtaking view from the roof that was totally inaccessible. This was an obvious opportunity that my clients wanted to seize, they hoped to create a roof deck that was easily accessible from, and an extension of, the third floor living area. To achieve that we created a new sculptural staircase that was capped with a giant skylight which slides open to allow you to ascend through the roof.

The furniture is really thoughtfully selected. What can you tell us about some of the pieces?
We are big fans of Croft House and their handmade furniture from LA. There are several pieces throughout the house including the Marquina marble coffee table, metal and leather Latigo lounge chair, metal Arden console table at the entry, and the pair of Sierra Chairs on the roof deck.

The slice dining table by Ethnicraft feels heavy and substantial as well as delicate, the Bedont Drive chairs with leather cushions are insanely comfortable.

The pendants in the kitchen and chandelier over the dining table are from Atelier de Troupe, the industrial yet refined pieces were the perfect finishing touches for the third-floor common area.

The bathrooms all feature handmade porcelain light fixtures from Porcelain Bear in Melbourne Australia. The pulley pendant plays off the exposed brick in the powder room. The scalloped fixtures create playful gestures in the girl’s bathroom.

What do you love most about working in this industry?
I develop every aspect of the spaces for my clients, Architecture, Interior Design and Artwork. I studied Architecture and am a licensed Architect, but I also grew up in the studio of 2 watercolorists and love to create work of all different scales. When I started Studio NEA, I really wanted to do it all, Site Design, Architecture, Interior Design and Artwork. In the words of Frank Lloyd Wright “To thus make of a dwellingplace a complete work of art… this is the modern American opportunity.”