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Before & After: A Derelict Shed in San Francisco Transformed Into an Artist’s Studio

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Before & After: A Derelict Shed in San Francisco Transformed Into an Artist’s Studio

November 11, 2019

A few months ago, we wrote about architect Ryan Leidner‘s impressive work on a dilapidated former saloon, which he turned into a modern courtyard-centered home for a young family. (See the story here.) We recently came across another of his first-rate transformations.

The property: a run-down shed in the backyard of an old Victorian. The location: Mission District, San Francisco. The clients: Lisa Foti-Straus and Drew Straus, creative siblings (she’s an artist and furniture maker; he’s a songwriter) “who have lived there at times with various other friends,” Leidner says.

The results: A new studio that’s modest in scale and masterful in its execution. “The owners and I share a love for Northern California and the dream of a little hand-built house on the coast, where you can go to reflect and retreat,” Ryan says. “I remember we found ourselves often looking at projects in Leslie Williamson’s great book, Handcrafted Modern, which is filled with endless inspiration.”

This artist’s studio may not be oceanside, but it certainly feels like a tranquil space to reflect and retreat. Let’s take a look.

Photography by Mariko Reed, courtesy of Ryan Leidner Architecture.

Before

&#8\2\20;the clients purchased the property because they loved that particu 9
Above: “The clients purchased the property because they loved that particular tree-lined block of the city, and they were excited to take on the project of re-imagining and renovating a Victorian,” says Ryan. It came with this sagging, unusable shed in the backyard, though. Their wish was to turn it into a “shared studio space that can also double as a guest house.”

After

the neglected backyard is now a peaceful outdoor space with decomposed granite  10
Above: The neglected backyard is now a peaceful outdoor space with decomposed granite underfoot. “The Mission District of San Francisco is one of the warmest and sunniest pockets of the city, so there was a desire to connect the new studio space with the backyard while bringing in natural light and a sense of openness to the structure,” explains Ryan.
the new building is 535 square feet, &#8\2\20;with one bedroom, one bathroo 11
Above: The new building is 535 square feet, “with one bedroom, one bathroom, and a full (albeit small) kitchen.”
&#8\2\20;the kitchen cabinets were custom, and were actually inspired by th 12
Above: “The kitchen cabinets were custom, and were actually inspired by the kitchen in Paolo Soleri’s home at Arcosanti,” says Ryan. One of Soleri’s wind bells hangs in the entry, at left, to the studio. (See Object of Desire: Architect-Designed Bronze Wind Bells from Cosanti.)
&#8\2\2\1; i love the overall warmth of the building, and how the interior  13
Above: ” I love the overall warmth of the building, and how the interior space feels both very contained and intimate but also very connected to the garden,” shares Ryan. “The use of exposed framing and a wood ceiling, I think, gives a nice quality of rawness to the space, which seemed important for an artist’s studio.”
&#8\2\20;pretty much all of the existing building was water damaged and unu 14
Above: “Pretty much all of the existing building was water-damaged and unuseable, but we were able to salvage the siding, which was wide-plank Doug Fir, and we milled and used that wood to make the sliding pocket doors into the bedroom and bathroom.”
&#8\2\20;the bed was a custom piece designed by lisa and built by our cabin 15
Above: “The bed was a custom piece designed by Lisa and built by our cabinet maker,” says Ryan. “The light is just a basic globe, but we liked the large proportions.”
basic terracotta tiles in the simple bathroom. 16
Above: Basic terracotta tiles in the simple bathroom.

For more inspired conversions, see:

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