Our Golden Gate Adventure
Twenty years ago, my husband Marshall and I found, fell in love with, and purchased a funky old white stucco house with a rusty red tile roof. We have been camping out in her rooms on top of a tiny island in San Francisco Bay ever since. As doting parents do, we made constant excuses for her countless deficiencies as if she were our favorite child who, despite her many shortcomings, could do no wrong.
Are We Nuts?
Over those two decades, we have dreamt of resurrecting her ancient bones, updating her crusty insides and burnishing her charming 1920s Spanish Revival style façade. Since 1999, we saved our money and single-mindedly persevered copious challenges to realize our vision for the home we affectionately refer to as Golden Gate. More than a few times, our friends questioned our sanity!
The years-long struggle to develop just the right plan to bring the home’s quirky footprint with its exaggerated and asymmetrical features up to date, while preserving its intrinsic charm, has been one of the consummate design challenges of my career.
I created the exterior elevations and interior floor plans that we submitted with a 78-page document required by our local planning and building departments in the spring of 2018. It has taken until now – the fall of 2020 – to obtain approval of all the plans and construction drawings required to secure that most elusive yet essential document we must have to proceed.
The Elusive Building Permit
And now that we can finally feel the building permit in our grasp, the timing couldn’t be worse. The pandemic is raging, fires are burning, the economy is chaotic, and our country is divided. Despite all this, we have decided to continue our journey to renew Golden Gate. Sadly, we can no longer live in the declining, broken-down frame that we still enthusiastically affirm to be an architectural treasure that deserves to be saved.
On the Bay
Finally admitting that our home was no longer habitable, we rented an apartment a few minutes away, hired an engineer, excavator, contractor and sub-contractors to take this extended journey with us. We feel fortunate to contribute to our local community by providing jobs for talented people who are supporting families during this arduous time.
At this moment, my office is stacked with empty boxes I have yet to fill to make our move eight minutes away. I am signing off for several weeks to pack and prepare for this exciting adventure of transforming our beloved Golden Gate into a beautiful new version of her iconic self. Stay tuned, keep safe and please vote as soon as you can! It has never been more important!
I hope you will open and enjoy this collage of Golden Gate images and music. It might just lift your spirits as it does mine.
For the love of special old houses,