For their own house, partners Vivian Lee and Robert Edmonds had the peculiar luxury of extraordinary insight into San Francisco’s permitting process, 24/7 access to each other for discussions of ideal rebar and the best window frames, and the particular freedom that comes from being experienced architects finally doing their own— dream—house. Practically, the pair, who have two children, needed (at least) three bedrooms and enough living space for their family to feel perfectly situated: close enough that their now-youngish children didn’t have to be sidelined into a basement or attic, but ultimately spacious enough that as they do grow up, they can become independent - from each other, and from their parents. Edmonds + Lee also decided to divide their building into two units, making use of Lee’s development expertise combined with Edmonds’ architectural focus. The lower floor can be—and currently is used as—an income-producing rental, but the house is designed flexibly enough that the owners can turn the structure back into a single-family home. Working as not only their own clients but also their own developers, they were able to avoid the typical market-driven pressure of maximizing square feet and instead focus on qualitative issues. As a result, they were able to work creatively—by flipping the plan to place the living room on the top floor and bedrooms on the lower level— to bring to life the feeling of loft-style living that they wanted, without giving up the intimate neighborhood feel of their immediate surroundings.
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