A few weeks ago I met architect Stephen Shoup of building Lab in San Francisco to photograph a new residential project. Stephen’s work has a very strong character that makes it instantly recognizable, but it also evolves over time, which is absolutely fascinating, and challenging, from a photographic standpoint.
For example, check out this stairwell:
And then compare it to this one I shot for Stephen back in 2013:
Natural wood, check. The thin metal rods that serve as a partial wall have morphed into high-tension wire, but the motif remains the same. Both stairwells have very strong graphical lines and both “make a statement” rather than receding into the background.
And this stairwell came with a little something extra…a playspace for the resident kid!
I could’ve spent the rest of the day doing nothing but composing shots on this structure, but we did have a few other things to shoot:
All in all, a fun day! More building Lab projects coming up, so don’t touch that dial!
Here’s a terrific project from my friends at Regan Baker Design, in San Francisco. We spent a couple of days here with Regan and her team — here are the highlights!
Nobody “gets” mid-century modern like Stephen Shoup of building Lab. His Eichler remodel (which I shot last fall) has received acclaim and is being published in multiple venues.
So I knew that this project would be a good one — a mid-century house with the building Lab design touch. Stephen created a flowing, connected space along this ranch house’s long axis with peaked-ceiling spaces at each end and a lower, flat-ceilinged central area in between, encompassing the kitchen and eating area. This space is clearly the “heart” of the structure, where the family will spend 80% of its time.
Looking back towards the playroom we can see the intricate architecture and the way the ceiling lines interact to help define the spaces.
Stephen is absolutely brilliant when it comes to defining discrete spaces even within a fluid or open floorplan. Here, the kitchen is separated from the foyer and dining room by a slot skylight that channels light straight down in the wide pass-though. When you walk beneath it, you can’t help feeling that you’ve left one space behind and are entering another, despite the lack of structural boundaries.
This project features the trademark building Lab book-matched wood paneling, although in a much more subdued way than other of Stephen’s designs.
We’ve already got the next building Lab project on the calendar, so stay tuned for more architectural happiness!
Leslie Arnold Architecture brought me into this outstanding midcentury-esque residence in San Francisco a few weeks ago, to document the extensive remodel they did.
Leslie did a complete remodel of this 1959 structure, top to bottom, and the really remarkable thing was that she did it for an astounding $150/sq. ft. — which is really, really inexpensive. Green materials were used extensively, there’s natural ventilation drawn through the house from the front end windows and up through a large operable skylight at the rear. Solar panels were installed on the roof, and radiant floor heating added. A bearing wall was removed from the living room to create a large open space, which involved new truss joists spanning the entire width of the house to transfer the load to the exterior walls.
The west wall is floor to ceiling glass, and the light pours through it like a tangible force.
That light, combined with frequent skylights and a translucent lightwell mean that you would never need artificial lighting during daytime hours. This place GLOWS.
Leslie designed a kitchen that responds beautifully to this flood of light. Back-painted glass backsplashes, white composite countertops, and clean, simple lines give it a light and airy feeling.
Design in the bathrooms follows the kitchen’s lead — with the addition of gloss-finshed cabinetry fronts and excellent storage solutions.
A pocket door separates the foyer from the steps leading up to the main level. In the background is the family room and an excavated level-out backyard that’s now being landscaped — a future photoshoot!This is a stunning project, both in terms of the finished result and the design work that went into it — I was thrilled to photograph it!
Pleased to see my photographs accompanying an article on Dwell.com on the brilliant Eichler remodel I shot last fall!
If you’ve been seeing a lot of building Lab work here this year, it’s because Stephen Shoup and his team have been on a tear – lots of amazing projects, and the recognition that comes with doing fantastic work.
This project is, in many ways, the epitome of what Stephen is all about. A Joseph Eichler home in California’s Marin County, this structure has seen extensive work but still feels 100% authentic. We shot this house over the course of two and a half days in November and created a set of photos I’m quite proud of. More photos, and some behind-the-scenes, after the jump!
Obviously there’s a lot of natural light in play here. We bounced some of that back into the near side of the island, and added a bit to the cabinetry under the window. You can see how the backs of the stools really throw light back onto the edge of the cantilevered part of the island.
This is an example of a really beautifully designed kitchen. Stephen Shoup of Building Lab did a wonderful job of creating a modern, functional space while staying aesthetically true to the Mid-Century Modern bones of the house.
We photographed this kitchen in early October, and I was immediately struck by the cantilevered island and red cabinetry, as well as the enormous openings leading outside to the large deck.
This is always a challenging shot, as we had to light the interior to match the sunlight exposure of the deck, but without being too obvious about it.
With the multi-paneled sliding doors fully open, along with the very large window, the deck joins the kitchen and adjacent family room in an open floor plan. It’s incredibly inviting and must be an absolute joy to live in.
We backlit the translucent glass backsplash but made sure there was a gentle gradient from left to right for a more natural appearance.
We identified shots that would show off the features of the kitchen but which would also emphasize that indoor-outdoor aspect as much as possible.
And, just to make sure everyone understood that the rear backsplash was actually translucent glass, we shot the reverse angle:
A tremendous amount of lighting is being done to this stairwell in order to show the intent of the designer. The shadow pattern from the pendant lamp upstairs has been strengthened, and the stairs have been lit “from the inside out” in order to draw attention to the keyhole cutout and the strong graphic lines of the handrail and bars.
We’ve recently completed a two-day shoot in Marin County California with Building Lab, documenting a spectacular remodel of a mid-century modern residence. Building Lab manages to create crisp, clean, graphically compelling designs using traditional materials — emphasis on wood grain, metal, and glass. The staircase shown above is a classic example: it’s deceptively simple and clean, but further examination reveals a very careful and skilled design. Photos, write-up, and lighting notes, after the jump!
I was really pleased to get to shoot this updated mid-century in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood (my favorite ‘hood in SF) a few weeks ago. Architect Leslie Arnold and General Contractor Steve Altman retained the classic lines and character of the space but created a light airy feeling that seems totally up-to-date.
We had planned to wrap the shoot around 5:00pm, but after seeing the private courtyard above I knew that it simply HAD to be a twilight photo. We spent the next couple of hours setting this up. There’s some added light pretty much everywhere, inside and outside, which kept me and Alan pretty busy. As the time drew near, we sketched out where we wanted our models (Leslie, and the homeowners, who are both in the design/architecture field themselves). Then came the patient waiting, then the frantic last-minute tweaking….until voila! The perfect moment.
Here’s a few more from this shoot. Enjoy!
Earlier this year I was fortunate to team up again with Quentin Bacon on another Michael Thompson (Sotheby’s International) real estate project — this one in Orinda, California.
92 Sandhill, Orinda, CA Full write-up, video, and photos after the jump!