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Hello All,
I am at the beginning of a large (for me) project to save a classic San Franciscan Victorian Apartment Building. I figure it will be fun to chronical the build from start to finish and share it with who ever wants to see it.
I will try and post an update every week or ever other week once the project gets under way. It will probably comprise of mostly pictures and brief descriptions as writing isn’t my cup to tea.
Hopefully a few of you want to come along for the ride.

A brief history of the building:
The building is listed as having 5,500 livable sq ft and being built in 1900. But 1900 is a catch all date for all buildings built before the 1906 Earthquake as all building records were lost when City Hall burned during the fire. So the building is 108 years old give or take and has survived 2 major earthquakes.
The original configuration was Three Stories over a basement with each story having one unit. In San Francisco a basement is defined as story where the ceiling is 6’ or less above grade. The original basement was at street level with about 6’ of head room.
In the early 1920s 2/3s of the basement was excavated and a garage was added. Now the front part of the basement is a couple feet below street level and there is about 8’ of head room.
Other than the garage, there is basically no building permit history, and the current state disrepair reflects that. The previous owner stated they had lived there for 60+ years and they had performed basically no maintenance. Furthermore, at some point a couple of posts were removed in the garage to allow for easier parking causing a severe overspinning of the main structural member. That, along with extensive dry rot (all sill plates have collapsed) and water damage has caused the building to sag and lean considerably.

Renovation Plans:
Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be saved in this building. The only items that will be saved will be the framing and siding (where it’s not rotten).
The building will be gutted, and the interior walls will be reconfigured. A seismic upgrade will be performed, and the foundations will be replaced. the rear 1/3 of the garage will be excavated to allow for new living space connected to the 1st floor unit, and the gabled roof will be flattened at the rear of the building to allow for a roof deck for the top unit. Half the Backyard will be excavated to the basement level to provide two private outdoor spaces for the other two units. There will be no expansion outside the existing envelope of the building. And of course, complete new DWV, water, gas, electrical, HVAC, doors, window, cabinets, flooring trim, etc.
Here are some photos of the building as it sits right now.
Front Facade


Garage: Missing two posts on 6x10 Doug Fir Beam. Current Span is about 25’

Terrazzo Stair Brick Foundations leaning

Sheetmetal and Asbestos liner put up in the 20’s for fire proofing the new garage. Buckled Sheetmetal shows how much settlement there has been.

Termite destroyed main post. Temporary posts added at some point just on top of slab, no footings.

Undermined footing from water that runs into the garage during rain storms.


Good representation of the plumbing systems in the building.

I guess there is a 10 photo limit per post. I’ll keep compiling before photos and get them up in the next post.
Cheers, and I hope you enjoy.
 

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John the Builder
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Will be interesting !!!
 
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The next few photos are of the rear stairs and an 8x10 pantry. The whole thing would collapse in a minor earthquake and will be completely rebuilt.







A few other exterior shots


 

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John the Builder
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OK those made me a little dizzy.
 
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That's a project for sure - looks kinda' fun if the budget is big enough. Looking forward to the progress pics. :thumbsup:


I hope it's far enough away from the Millennium Tower that it won't get crushed when that thing finally topples over! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Current Dining Room – Will becoming Living Room



Lots of fun tidbits like this throughout….


Existing Kitchen – Will become kitchen and dining

360 Image…

Flue Chase


Not sure about you, but I’m pretty sure the best way to fix a leaky sink is by putting a shag carpet under it…

 

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Discussion Starter #10
That's a project for sure - looks kinda' fun if the budget is big enough. Looking forward to the progress pics. :thumbsup:


I hope it's far enough away from the Millennium Tower that it won't get crushed when that thing finally topples over! ;)
Yeah, I'm really excited to get going on it. Its always fun to spend money.

The Mellenium Tower is so screwed up. They are going to spend more money fixing the foundations than it cost to build the building the first time. Its going to take them 5 or 6 years to do it too.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Each unit has just one split bathroom – 4 Full bathrooms will be added to the building.




Rear Bedroom – Remains Bedroom

Like I said earlier, lots of water damage in the building


Front Bedroom – Remains Bedroom

Settlement fractures in the plaster become very apparent at the front of the building

This is the wall that is directly over the over spanned beam in the garage.
 

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Man, that is a job. Lots of potential. Any idea of the time frame?
Once I can actually get going, it should be about 14 months, give or take of construction. There is still at least a month right now before demo can start.
But when all said and done, It will be somewhere around 24 month of involvement for me.
 

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Current Front Parlor – Will become master bedroom

There is so much lean in the house the pocket doors move by them selves. I’m behind the door holding the left one shut for the photo.


Current Middle Bedroom – Will become master bath and clost


 

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Discussion Starter #15
Exiting Attic – Will become accessible storage and roof deck for top floor unit.



Current Backyard – Will excavate just past the low fence to bring it to basement level. Rear portion of yard will be for middle unit accessed through stairs on the left. Lower unit will have the excavated portion of the yard accessed from the new living room at basement level.


The other units are very similar in both finishes and decay…. So I’m not going to put up any more before photos unless someone want to see something specific.
 

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That looks like a really interesting project.

I have to say that I'm a bit surprised that it isn't just a tear-down, when you listed the scope of work.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
 

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I have a set of stairs to do almost exactly what you'll be replacing .Will be watching how you do yours . Parking in the city is just such a pain . I got a serious cussing out once ,somehow missed the guys ripping tools out of a van that was just across the street from me ,and for some reason there were alot of flats on tires at another project .
 

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Discussion Starter #18
That looks like a really interesting project.

I have to say that I'm a bit surprised that it isn't just a tear-down, when you listed the scope of work.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
Honestly, it would be as fast or faster to build the building new, and you would get a better product... However, the permitting process for a complete demo and new construction is unbearably slow. You would get held up in planning for no less than 18 month, and probably closer to 2 years.
That is assuming you could even get permission to do so. Any building over 50 years old have to go though a CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) review if you want to change the front facade of the building.
During the process they can determine the house is a historic resource and then you can't change the first 15' of the structure.
I did a project a few years back where I added a garage to a building and that took 18 months to get approved.

Also, the current size of the building compared to the lot is much bigger than you can build now. So if you wanted to build new, you would end up loosing a lot of sq footage. Somewhere around 1500 sq ft, in this instance.

So the name of the game in SF is to build inside the existing envelope to get permits OTC.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have a set of stairs to do almost exactly what you'll be replacing .Will be watching how you do yours . Parking in the city is just such a pain . I got a serious cussing out once ,somehow missed the guys ripping tools out of a van that was just across the street from me ,and for some reason there were alot of flats on tires at another project .

You're talking about the front stairs?
I'm still thinking about using the Noble Deck product, so far its the best I have come up with.

Parking is always a huge problem. With the reserved street space, I only have room for 1 truck and everything is 2 hour parking in the area. You spend a lot of money sending guys out to move their cars.
I can get a couple short term permits, but its not nearly enough.
 

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Back stairs .the ones in the picture you have are identical.It has been waiting for me for years now .I am a north bay resident ,wine country .I am very busy here .easy to avoid or put off . that painted wood will last forever till it doesn't .It is a different world in the city for me.there is this little hardware store where someone drives me to and i get out ,then when i am done wait for my ride to come back again . working there is actually fun in a past tense kinda way .
 
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