Inside, the floorplan was reworked to make it more comfortable and to carve out another apartment on the bottom floor. A large skylight on the roof floods the kitchen with natural light, while box windows pull in more light from the sides. A new rooftop art studio was added for the husband who is an artist, which has beautiful views out across the green roof to the San Francisco skyline. Covering the roof is a large steel canopy outfitted with a solar photovoltaic system that gathers light from both the top and the bottom. The solar canopy provides additional shade from the house and prevents the kitchen from being over lit through the skylight.
The Xiao-Yen House in the Corona Heights neighborhood is neither new nor old, but somewhere in the middle. “The clients didn’t want a really modern house or a painstakingly precise renovation,” said Steely. “It’s hard to have both new and old be really strong, and not have one nullify the other.” The end result is a wonderful rehabilitation and a seriously sustainable upgrade.