Organic Modernism

This Potrero Hill couple with two lively dogs, remodeled their Edwardian turn-of-the-last-century home into a modern aesthetic. However, when it came to the garden, they wanted more traditional curves and an organic feeling.

Design Challenge
Three years of construction left the yard’s serpentine soil compacted under detritus. Tenacious weeds and a laundry line that bisected the space were the only remaining elements. When weather permitted, the couple was committed to hanging their clothes outside to dry. French doors that led to the garden and a door off the guest room opened to drop-offs and exposed pipes. On clear mornings, the art studio’s east-facing wall windows were blindingly bright. The dogs had little to amuse them when they went outdoors.

Design Solution
Now the French doors open to two wide steps that meet the curving path to the garden. Above the art studio windows, a vine-laced redwood arbor aromatically dims morning glare. A spur path of pervious pebbles begins at the guest room covering drainage pipes and directing rainwater toward the garden. Water tubes that sit in a pool of blue beach-glass are lit from below, offering sound and nighttime focal point. A laundry grove of hand-wrought recycled/powder-coated steel “trees” by is sculptural with and without clothes drying on them. The dogs can dig in their own “sand island.” Urbanite raised vegetable beds double as seating. In front of the potting/storage shed, a cutting garden is alive with butterflies and pollinators. Most of the garden is abuzz with drought-celebrating native plants.

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Photographs by Alma Hecht & Mike Koozmin

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