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San Fran's Janus House Has Two Façades: One Old, One New

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Kudos to Kennerly Architecture & Planning for preserving the original façade of this 19th-century San Francisco row house during a recent renovation, as well as for knowing their Ovid. Riffing on the two-faced Roman god of transitions, the Janus House has a distinctly contemporary back-facing façade clad in recycled plastic, with an unadorned, minimal feel to it. "We wanted to keep the original integrity of the house," Bowen Kennerly explained to Metropolis Magazine, "while opening the back end to something more innovative and more interesting." With a steel-framed deck and retractable glass wall, the back end is certainly an innovative take on the traditional row house.

According to Kennerly, the theme of transition goes deeper than the front-to-back metamorphosis of the exterior, taking the form of what he describes as "a shift in lifestyle ideas between top and bottom." Each of the five gabled bedrooms on the top floor has a distinct design catered to its inhabitant, a highlight of which is the burnt-orange standalone wall in the master bedroom (below). The "lifestyle idea" that informs the main floor is one of communality rather than individual quirks, with wide, open expanses and steel beams in the ceiling that mark where walls used to stand. Get an eyeful, below:

· Life in Transition [Metropolis]