Geoffrey de Sousa, a San Francisco-based interior designer, has redesigned a century-old Bay Area residence. With a perfect harmony between light and dark ambiance, the designer has transformed a Tudor-style home with contemporary details and modern elements.
A house of good structure, which is hard to believe is a century old. Built in 1927, this three-story Tudor-style home is in a coveted location overlooking the Presidio San Francisco and offers unobstructed views of the Golden Gate Bridge. What an incredible location, isn’t it?
It had just enough charm to make the buyers – a young couple with a growing family – forgive the flaws. Chief among them were the war-like interior with its heavy, dark paneling and the fact that nothing had been modernized since the 1960s.
De Sousa chose to begin with replacing the original Tudor-style staircase with a more luminous and contemporary design in creamy white plaster, while also adding a large skylight at the top that floods the previously moody space with natural light.
In the past, the home‘s basement level, which had been shortened and unfit to live in, was excavated to build a modern family room with ten-foot ceilings, guest suites, and a wine cellar. Sliding steel-framed glass walls open onto a Californian sunny terrace with steps up to the backyard.
In the dining and living rooms, the Tudor-style meets and welcomes modern and contemporary elements. Geoffrey De Sousa preserved the existing millwork but sandblasted it to its natural hue, creating a lighter, fresher backdrop for contemporary artworks by Chuck Close, Paul Wonner, Sara VanDerBeek, and others.
“We chose lighting very early on—it’s kind of the jewelry of a project.”Geoffrey De Sousa
He also gave preference to chandeliers and sconces – some of them came directly from his San Francisco design gallery, De Sousa Hughes – such as the living room’s eye-catching asymmetrical branching fixture with brass and onyx lights.
Geoffrey De Sousa didn’t want to reject all darker elements, since they are a genuine part of the original style. In the open kitchen and a more casual dining area, the designer installed floor-to-ceiling chocolate walnut cabinetry but gave it a decidedly contemporary feel with clean, minimalist fronts adorned with oversize bronzed pulls.
Several walls were taken down to open up rooms and create the free-flowing space.
A black-and-white artwork on paper by Richard Serra occupies a central place, right above the room‘s original limestone fireplace. Once again, curvy elements were used to contrast with the original style.
“Dark has such a negative connotation in a home. Sometimes it is the nature of the space, and if you really play that up, you can get something that’s super moody and sexy.”Geoffrey De Sousa
The master bedroom is revealed through sliding paneled doors and the couple’s bed is theatrically set under a magnificent Murano glass chandelier and a custom-printed mural of an Arcadian landscape in striking grisaille that gives the space visual depth. You also can see the bedside tables in pink quartz and brass on a grape-color carpet.