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From an ‘uninspired white box’ to a warm two-level loft

From an ‘uninspired white box’ to a warm two-level loft


With expansive views over San Francisco’s Bay Bridge, this two-level loft was once an uninspired white box chopped up into many small rooms.

The architects on the project, Studio VARA, had previously worked with clients on another residence in Los Angeles’ Carmel Valley and wanted to bring a similar warm, modern and spacious character to this loft that celebrates the view while offering two-bedroom suites for overnight guests.

The living space in the San Francisco apartment by Studio VARA

To achieve this, walls and ceilings were first removed to expose concrete. Once pared back to the essentials, the space was then reimagined as a composition of planes and volumes in warm materials: concrete, wire-brushed and waxed European white oak, gunmetal grey panels and gallery white walls.

Loft apartment by Studio VARA

The kitchen is a compact space with white lacquer cupboards and storage that opens to harbour views over an oversized island. A slender blackened steel stair of white oak treads and a frameless glass guardrail replaces the heavy original and serves as a focal point for the room.

San Francisco loft apartment

The adjacent guest bedroom features a moveable wall of hanging panels that can be hidden away, allowing the living room to double in size.

Moveable panels in the guest bedroom

The master bathroom features backlit steel mirrors, travertine slab floors and shower walls and vanities made from wire-brushed, waxed oak. Overlooking the living room, a loft features cabinets that separate a large dressing area from the media room.

The master bathroom in the Studio VARA designed apartment

A vibrant Stark carpet purchased by the owners before construction started and furniture and art were selected to complement the natural material palette. Unique pieces include a custom steel and oak dining table and an upholstered bench.

Photography by Bruce Damonte


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