San Francisco’s celebrated Victorian row houses have many charms, but with windows often limited to two elevations, they can make access to daylight a challenge. The Pacific Heights Townhouse, located at the end of its block, enjoys the luxury of a long southern exposure at one side wall. “That,” says architect Jonathan Feldman, “bought us 40 feet of space to bring in light.” In combining the house’s two flats into a single residence, Feldman leveraged that built-in advantage by locating the daytime rooms as close to the sun as possible. “All living spaces are on the top floor,” Feldman says, “where there’s more light and access to a roof deck.”
The kitchen hugs the south wall, mediating between the living and dining rooms to the front, and the more casual breakfast area and family room to the rear. “It’s the heart and hub of the public spaces,” says Feldman, who highlighted that centrality in the most literal way possible. “We added a ton of large windows down the side of the building, and skylights,” he says. Storage concentrated along the north wall, including a walk-in pantry secreted behind a glass-paneled door, frees the south wall for a bank of windows overlooking the house’s narrow side yard.
A U-shaped layout of painted wood base cabinets and a small working island, both with stone-composite counters, define the cooking area and contrast with the darker wood floor, an engineered material surfaced with reclaimed oak. Ceiling-suspended storage—glass-front cabinets toward the dining room, open shelves toward the breakfast area—brackets the space at eye level. “It’s a kitchen that has a ton of counters and a ton of storage but doesn’t feel very substantial,” Feldman says, “because everything’s put away.”