San Francisco Rowhouse Designed Without Architect in 1911 Renovated With One in 2011

From This Old House magazine writer Deborah Baldwin: "Seeing a house through a remodel is dirty work, but somebody's got to do it.  And at the San Francisco home of Jenna Miller Pelaez and her husband, Steve, that would be Jenna.  All went well until the work dried up, at which point Jenna homed in on this needy rowhouse across the street, its rooms small, dark, and dated. "So maybe the double-hungs no longer went up and down — the house had other virtues, including a rich past.  It was built in 1911 by a developer named Fernando Nelson, who, like Jenna, was self-trained, focused, and broad in his tastes.  Before retiring to a mansion nearby, he put up thousands of working-class homes, using his magpie's eye for other builders' details rather than hiring an architect.

"It has a front-facing gable, tall banks of windows, strong horizontal trim, and entry stairs rising sideways to a glassed-in front porch atop a street-facing garage.  On the second floor, the baths sat back-to-back, with nary a WC on the first or third floors.  Yet, 'even with all the dark woodwork I could tell the house had lots of natural light,' says Jenna."  Full article with slideshow here.  (Photo credit: James Carrière.)