In San Francisco, Studio AHEAD designed a residence that brings emotion and intuition to a historic setting. Paying close attention to Edwardian architecture and a passion for local art, they transformed this residence into an inspiring story filled with colour.
With their multicultural background, Homan Rajai and Elena Dendiberia of Studio AHEAD bring together Eastern and Western identities in unique, creative residences. The San Francisco-based collective of art and design professionals focuses on creating spaces filled with emotional stories. By looking for contrasts, for example between contemporary and primitive, logical and intuitive, and raw and refined, they transform any place into a modern, evocative environment. Both in large-scale projects and while designing custom objects and furniture, they keep the individuality of each specific place in mind, creating a home. The clients, a newlywed couple, recently moved to the Dolores Heights neighbourhood and wanted to modernise their Edwardian dream home while respecting its history. It was important for them that there was enough space for lively dinners and large family gatherings. However, the studio wanted to avoid creating a kind of white box, which you do find in many renovations today. They removed some strategic sections of wall, opening up the kitchen, living room and dining room sufficiently, but still maintaining the integrity of the original home. A chaise lounge in the living room takes up little space but can still seat ten people. The Klein Agency table in the dining room can seat as many as twelve.
The design pieces had to be locally produced as much as possible and reflect a passion for art
The residents are from California and wanted the design pieces in their home to be locally produced as much as possible and reflect their passion for art. In the living room, for example, you will find a terracotta sculpture by artist Myung Jin Kim and a small Jesse Schlesinger piece on the mantelpiece. The latter perfectly complements the geometric layout of the stone fireplace. Throughout the house, chairs by Gio Ponti and Marcello Ziliani, a self-designed green velvet sofa and reproductions of Shaker chairs were mixed together. Finally, Dan Gamaldi designed a stained-glass window for the foyer. Throughout the residence, the studio used many of their own designs. Especially in the main bathroom, with a walnut cabinet and antique tiles, they retained many of the original Edwardian features. This was complemented by several vintage pieces and lots of walnut, as that was a material widely used in the Edwardian period. We find it in the kitchen island, the extractor hood, the inlay in the breakfast nook and several pieces of furniture, among others. It also ensured that the rooms shared a common design language and enjoy strong creativity with a vintage touch. Photography by Ekaterina Izmestieva