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AIA Partial Post-Mortem

We regret that docents were firmly forbidding cameras. Lots of people only got a shot of this gate at the Great Highway house. Like us.

We got a look at two houses on the AIA House Tour this weekend, both of which raised the bar on how to live and what to live in, in San Francisco. Tipsters are welcome to email us with their own house tour stories, along with any clandestine photo ops they may have been able to pull off. [Update: we're receiving reports that cameras were confiscated at the door at 55 Sheridan. Hardcore!]

Saturday was Aidlin-Darling's Great Highway house. It had been covered by the NY Times earlier this year, but none of those images prepare one for the setting (a grove of cypresses on the ocean) or the serenity of the interiors. Got the sense that no one on the tour wanted to leave, ever. An expansion of architect Ernest Born's mid-century home while leaving the original intact, and part of the joy of the tour was seeing Born's clever use of simple materials- steel mesh and some strips of fir to fabricate railings and recessed lighting. In the patinated steel box of the extension, the master bath opens into the privacy of the cypress canopy; the bedroom looks out to the ocean. Clearly everyone in the house surfs across the street, making this one extraordinary surf shack.
· Born, Again [Curbed SF]

Sunday we got to see Lundberg Design's 55 Sheridan house and studio. Much the same aesthetic as the Great Highway house, but set in SoMa, and consequently much more "urban fortress" and less "beach shack" starting with the two massive bouncers in black at the door. More End-Up than AIA, and about as crowded. They made us take our shoes off. No little blue booties, which would have been a lot classier. The house isn't occupied yet- it was only just finished last week. The level of detailing, especially in the Lundberg-fabricated stairway is a wonder, but the house doesn't unfold simply. You move between light and dark volumes, peer over edges, get glimpses of skyline, the new Federal Building, One Rincon Hill. The interiors are both minimalist and luxurious. One of the neighbors was playing Swedish Death Metal, fully cranked up (the volume, not the neighbor) no doubt a salute to the event. It's rumored they're not sharing in the architecture joy.
· 55 Sheridan [Curbed SF]