McCarthy Residence / Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects


Architects: Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects
Location: San Francisco, CA,
General Contractor: Clandmark Building Engineering Construction Inc
Project/Construction Manager: Clive McCarthy
Structural Engineer: GFDS Engineers
Project year: 2007
Photographs: Rien van Rijthoven

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A robust Mission district industrial building, built in the 1930’s, has had many lives. First as a Lucky Strike warehouse, later an auto repair shop, and then in the 80’s the Capp Street Project Gallery. During the dot com era it was dolled up as a software company. Clive McCarthy bought the building in 2006 for his art factory and residence.


Our project involved the restoration of the original industrial warehouse and the removal of ugly mid 90’s additions, and the insertion of contained set elements of entry, powder room, kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, fireplace, and laundry to create a domestic landscape within the generous 10,000sf industrial space. These set pieces are smooth and refined, and contrast sharply with the rustic original building. To quiet the existing jagged backdrop, gray stain and paint are used as a camouflage which synthesize the disparate materials and elements.


The main studio is contained in a secluded space at the rear of the first level. Sometimes works spills out and occupies the lower level and central two-story volume. A series of spaces on the upper floor form a circuit around this volume. The living room is above the garage, at the street front, and flanked by a study and guestroom. A long dining room table continues to become the kitchen Island. Across the void is the laundry and another guestroom. The master suite occupies the rear of the building, with a sparkling white tub and sink area, and a shortcut to the studio below. A new central stair hangs in the void and links the work level to the living level above, and a rooftop garden at the top.

Cite: "McCarthy Residence / Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects" 19 Oct 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • CROFTdesign

    I find it difficult to critique this particular home other than the use of materials results in an extremely cold and psychologically dark space… I’ll bet the clientèle is a serial killer or an admirer of edward scissor hands.

  • Lucas

    in contrast to CROFT i really like the material. Yes it does look cold in a good way. Nice contrast between the private clean bathroom to the rough textured living spaces.

  • tafkarm

    I’m with CROFT. very cold place, would give you depression living here. i do like the materials used but they would be better suited to a nighclub

  • james

    feels like a factory
    to some people thats good, to others its bad
    if that what the client wanted, then good for them

    • liweis

      the same to you

  • ominaeshi

    It is not only depressing- it is scary. It looks like the owner stores cut heads in the refrigerator and drinks blood instead of coffee. I’ll freak out if I have to spend a night in such a place.

    • josep

      totally agree with you so depressing and the details are awful

      • christopher

        i’m not seeing the awful details you seem to find, maybe you could elaborate *Mies*…

      • Anon

        I agree with Christopher – I don’t see the awful details… I see quite crisp and refined details.

  • hj

    Besides the metal bars around the staircase (too prison-like) I really like it. The cold industrial atmosphere forms a good contrast with the Californian climate I guess

  • yuliya

    what a wonderful theatrical atmosphere… great contrasts… stimulating! love it

  • lester

    did anybody noticed the body on the floor? lol

    I like it. Wouldn’t mind living in such a place. I would use a more colorful furniture and paintings/ pictures hanging on the walls.

    • Gorgos

      Damn it!

      I have been staring at the photos trying to find a body, but I cant find it…

      • lester

        You know what I mean… the chalk outline of a dead body on the pavement.


  • Mookie Wilson

    Yuck: mid-90′s action thriller set, starring Val Kilmer and Tom Sizemore.

  • dwi wahyono

    Is real perfect design

  • majchers

    Never mind the architect, the architecture and all that but who the hell are the owers? What kind of people want to live in this type of harsh and extreme environment? Cold, unpleasant if not dirty. It is fine if you adopt an old warehouse to a studio or even an apartment but to create one from scratch…? Mhhmmm… not my parish.

    • Gorgos

      Dont forget, its not just a house, but also a studio, and most probably also room to showcase his art to clients.

      Also, the house is still empty. There is no `artwork` to be seen yet, which is talked about in the text.

      By the way, everthing is really oversized.

      • majchers

        You might be right. But still…

  • richie

    I like size and the details, we all live in minimum spaces, probably with a flat screen and a good computer in the best of the cases, but we forgot the nice big space to share with friends ,family or just contemplate it.We have to fight against those who extremely maximize the sq the furure we are going to sleep in stand up in a closet, sounds funny but if it slash reallity it should be one of the whorse creations ever.imagine to pay to live in spaces even shoters than the ones we live right now….ufff i start to shiver with only think in that.

  • christopher

    this is not an Architectural Digest house people. if a client wants minimal & metal, as an architect, you should be thankful. Because in the Northern California market, everyone wants a beige Tuscan faux-villa with Styrofoam cornices and granite countertops.

    this is clearly a work based on minimal monochromatic, light, texture & emptiness. true space. not flowery patterned curtains and taupe loveseats. some people outside of Akron don’t like those things.

    i love how all it takes is one negative comment on these boards to turn the whole group into an angry mob.

    we frankly don’t know anything about these people and what they want or what their tastes are. if they like Rob Zombie movies, who are you to judge? so they listen to GWAR in their spare time…so there’s a crime-scene chalk-outline on the floor. it fits doesn’t it? the light and space is actually not too far off from a Chelsea art gallery…

    for an industrial/minimal space, this is beautiful.

  • MKK

    I’d live there.

  • eb

    a house for happy people… noooooot. I think the color palette is really bad, I’ve seen great environments that are made with grayscale colors and feel good, this is totally scary.

  • wondering

    It reminds me of the Berghain club in berlin.

    it looks like a nice house for communal living.
    the staicase gives the section alot of interest but seems really impractical, and a bit Sisyphic.

    i wouldnt want to be a child growing in that house.

  • the uninformed observer

    What is telling when someone insists the color blue is better than the color red?

    The creatures that move about in this space are soft, hairy, they shed, leave behind oil prints and juices. How gorgeous a freshly split tomato there. Or an oozing bar of soap left on the edge of the tub.

  • dito

    AWESOME RENO!!!check the stair that floats…

  • Ellen

    I want to take a bottle of tomato sauce and smash it against the wall.

    • majchers

      At least you would add some colour to this sad and maddening architecture…

  • coolie

    it’s a fab. i just discovered this firm latetly when i saw their work on the book “american masterworks”. the house that was featured there was done in 1987, and i thought that after 23 years the aesthetic hasn’t lost its relevance, especially the interiors – that timeless element that’s also very elusive to achieve. so i check them out.
    the most that i like about the project being featured here was the great interplay of light and shadow that turned the space into a canvass, and the project description gave more clarity to the direction taken for the design.

    masterful and inspiring. great work!!!