Anderson House: Bernal Heights Victorian Cottage Reinvented

Designed by acclaimed architect Gisela Schmoll, the Anderson House in San Francisco, California, represents a captivating blend of contemporary design and historic charm. This meticulously renovated Victorian cottage in the vibrant Bernal Heights neighborhood has been transformed into a modern, light-filled living space tailored to the needs of its residents.

Featuring an open-plan layout, expansive primary suite, and thoughtfully excavated basement, the Anderson House showcases the potential of adaptive reuse in historical contexts, providing a harmonious connection between the past and present.

Cozy living space with wooden platform bed, plush seating, and nature-inspired artwork.
Sleek, modern kitchen with dark cabinetry, hexagonal tile backsplash, and pendant lights.
Modern kitchen with sleek white cabinets, hexagon-patterned blue backsplash, and pendant lighting.
Minimalist dining room with wooden table, black chairs, and potted plants. Sleek pendant lighting.
Warm-toned wooden details, clean minimalist design, and mid-century inspired furnishings.
A cozy bedroom with a large triangular window offering a scenic view, complemented by warm wood paneling.
A modern A-frame cabin with sleek black trim, floor-to-ceiling windows, and cozy Adirondack chairs on the deck.
Elegant bathroom with large marbled wall, freestanding tub, and minimalist fixtures.
A charming two-story home with a gabled roof, bay windows, and a welcoming front porch.

About Anderson House

In San Francisco’s vibrant Bernal Heights, the Anderson House showcases a remarkable transformation. Designed by Gisela Schmoll in 2021, this project seamlessly blends contemporary design with the historic charm of a Victorian cottage.

A Radically New Floor Plan

Originally, the house featured a jumble of small, dark rooms. However, the comprehensive renovation gutted the interior, paving the way for a completely new and modern layout. The heart of the home now beats in a large, open-plan living area on the main floor, strategically organized around a central core that houses the stairs and a bathroom.

Abundant Natural Light and Refined Aesthetics

This configuration optimizes the flow within the house and introduces an abundance of natural light. Furthermore, the use of a bright, subtle material palette enhances this effect, ensuring that light permeates every corner of the home, creating a space that is both comfortable and lively.

A Luxurious Primary Suite Retreat

Ascending the stairs, the transformation continues. Multiple small rooms give way to a grand, luxurious primary suite, adorned with cathedral ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows that frame views of the San Francisco Bay. This private retreat offers a sense of grandeur and exclusivity, providing the residents with a direct connection to the cityscape.

Expanding Living Space with Basement Renovation

To address the challenge posed by local zoning codes that restricted volumetric expansion, the design team cleverly incorporated additional living space by excavating the basement. This move added 400 square feet (37.2 square meters) to the home’s area, introducing significant natural light and serene garden views through large windows.

A Testament to Adaptive Reuse

Through thoughtful design and meticulous attention to detail, the Anderson House stands as a testament to the potential of adaptive reuse in historical contexts. It provides a modern home full of light, space, and connection to its urban setting, showcasing the transformative power of innovative architecture.

Photography by Thomas Kuoh Photography
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- by Matt Watts