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Modern Formal Living in Pacific Heights

Embarking on the task of updating a Pacific Heights home, Butler Armsden took inspiration in the client’s stories, embodied in the family heirlooms, collected objects, and fine and folk art that fills the home. Originally from South Africa, the clients settled in San Francisco after years spent living and working in London, Hong Kong, and Los Angeles, and wanted a space that would make room not only for their objects, but also for their international lifestyles. For the architects, this began with combining the many small rooms on the main floor into larger spaces for living and cooking. This new openness links the house to the views beyond — of Alcatraz, Marin, and, closer by, the Golden Gate Bridge — through a sight line that stretches through the dining and living area and out over the parterre garden. The simplicity of the overall design puts the visual emphasis on the views, just as a controlled materials palette — muted ecru upholstery, rich walnut floors, eggshell wall finishes — lets the clients’ collection shine.

Email Project

Special Feature

Butler Armsden re-hung the owner’s existing art collection to complement their new vision for the house


7000 sq ft


San Francisco, CA


Glenda Flaim



James Carriere

General Contractor

Mueller Nicholls

Interior Designer

Butler Armsden Architects

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