Revamping the San Francisco Vernacular, Modern Design and Technology Serves A Busy Family

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By Gabrielle Golenda / Published by Dwell
Presented by Nest
Designpad Architecture renovates a Noe Valley residence for a growing family to help them feel more connected to each other and safer at home (and while away).

Homeowners David and Cameron Rivinus looked at over 200 homes in San Francisco before finally committing to the modest one-story over a garage—a two-bedroom, one-bath home in the Noe Valley neighborhood. As the story goes, they stumbled upon the original structure while on a walk with their daughter. After touring the home, their dream was to modernize and expand the space that they could comfortably live and grow. 

The couple hired Designpad Architecture to create adaptable spaces where they could come together as a family, but also find their spaces apart. The renovation involved thoughtfully expanding the home horizontally into the backyard and vertically towards captivating views of downtown, while mindfully integrating technology to establish a safer environment for two children. Interspersed throughout, Nest Cam IQ helped the family of four feel more secure by intelligently connecting to them throughout their home.* Outfitted with honest materials inspired by modern design, the three-story renovation allows them to live more easily in an open floor plan, flooded with natural light. 

Revamping the San Francisco Vernacular, Modern Design and Technology Serves A Busy Family - Photo 1 of 7 - On the third story, a master suite and roof deck with city views were designed along with two bedrooms and a new bath.

On the third story, a master suite and roof deck with city views were designed along with two bedrooms and a new bath.

"One of the things I have always loved about modern design is how purposeful things are, how the goal is to do more with less. You want to make things beautiful, while also keeping them very functional," says David. 

After living in San Francisco for over 16 years, David and Cameron were both well-accustomed to lateral living spaces. Like the other very similar homes that were constructed adjacent to it (though each is slightly different than the next), "there’s not a lot you can do with the perimeter of your home," says Cameron. Their renovation involved expanding living space on the ground floor, an open floor plan on the main floor with a rear deck, and a new third story with a master suite and two bedrooms. "We wanted to make sure that we had an open floor plan where our family could take advantage of as much light as we possibly could."  

Revamping the San Francisco Vernacular, Modern Design and Technology Serves A Busy Family - Photo 2 of 7 - "With the two young kids commanding our schedule, we spend a lot of time around the house. Being able to completely open up the back of the house to the outside and back yard makes that time at home much more enjoyable and relaxing and completely takes care of the cabin fever we used to always feel in our old house," explains David  

"With the two young kids commanding our schedule, we spend a lot of time around the house. Being able to completely open up the back of the house to the outside and back yard makes that time at home much more enjoyable and relaxing and completely takes care of the cabin fever we used to always feel in our old house," explains David  

Revamping the San Francisco Vernacular, Modern Design and Technology Serves A Busy Family - Photo 3 of 7 - The design of the house makes their lives easier by opening it out to the light and the outdoors. At the ground floor, the rear was dug out and expanded to allow for a living space and home office. 

The design of the house makes their lives easier by opening it out to the light and the outdoors. At the ground floor, the rear was dug out and expanded to allow for a living space and home office. 

Envisioning multi-functional living spaces that are both comfortable and safe, Cameron decided to introduce Nest Cam IQ security cameras that monitor the children's bedrooms and shared areas inside their home. While she or David are in and out of the house throughout the day, they receive customized Person Alerts that let them know someone is in the house. She can check in on their two-year-old son Ned and their five-year-old daughter Frankie periodically. With wide and close-up tracking views, the cameras allow her to see their nanny of many years, Nina. "We’ll get an alert that it’s 5:30 and they are having their dinner. It is great to have that peace of mind and I don’t have to disrupt Nina in what she is doing," says Cameron.* 

Revamping the San Francisco Vernacular, Modern Design and Technology Serves A Busy Family - Photo 4 of 7 - "Sometimes you catch hilarious moments when you’re watching them with Nest Cam IQ," says Cameron.*

"Sometimes you catch hilarious moments when you’re watching them with Nest Cam IQ," says Cameron.*

Revamping the San Francisco Vernacular, Modern Design and Technology Serves A Busy Family - Photo 5 of 7 - The family wanted to make their home beautiful, but also functional. When designing the renovation, they paid particular attention to making sure the common spaces could serve multiple functions and grow alongside the family.

The family wanted to make their home beautiful, but also functional. When designing the renovation, they paid particular attention to making sure the common spaces could serve multiple functions and grow alongside the family.

For David, the Nest app helps him feel more connected to the house, especially when he is away. "That little moment is like a little check in on what they are up to and causes me to take a second to think about the family. It's just a helpful reminder of what is going on. Maybe my son is napping upstairs, or they are all eating lunch in the kitchen," says David.*

Revamping the San Francisco Vernacular, Modern Design and Technology Serves A Busy Family - Photo 6 of 7 - The downstairs family room serves as a guest room for visiting family, the kids’ play area and art studio, movie-watching room, and indoor/outdoor living room. 

The downstairs family room serves as a guest room for visiting family, the kids’ play area and art studio, movie-watching room, and indoor/outdoor living room. 

Revamping the San Francisco Vernacular, Modern Design and Technology Serves A Busy Family - Photo 7 of 7 - "It's great to be able to check in anytime or be notified if something is going on. I find the little reminders about the family's activity in the house to be a fun distraction throughout my day that makes me feel closer to my family than before we used Nest Cam IQ," says David.*

"It's great to be able to check in anytime or be notified if something is going on. I find the little reminders about the family's activity in the house to be a fun distraction throughout my day that makes me feel closer to my family than before we used Nest Cam IQ," says David.*

For them, it was important to put effort into creating a space that made living easier and more comfortable. "It's where we spend the most of our time as a family. The peace of mind and sense of security we gain by protecting it is invaluable to us," says David. 

 

* Video streaming, video recording, and mobile notifications require working internet and Wi-Fi.