Historic Preservation of a Converted San Francisco Firehouse

There are 25 “Vintage Firehouses” throughout San Francisco and this year we have the pleasure of remodeling one of them.


home remodeling bay area flagpole


Home Remodeling in the Bay Area: An Historic Firehouse

Built in 1890, when fire engines were still drawn by three black horses, this converted firehouse has quite the Victorian flare. The original building was designed by Henrikson & Mahoney, who are also responsible for the nearly identical Engine Co. No. 21 on Oak Street. It served as a working firehouse for 73 years, seeing the San Francisco Fire Department’s changeover from horse-drawn engines to motorized fire trucks in 1915.


SFFD historic facade


The firehouse was in use by the SFFD until 1963, when Co. No. 23 moved to new quarters and the building went up for public auction. It was bought by the well-known interior designer John Dickerson who converted it into a home and studio, creating some of his most popular designs of the 60s and 70s there. When Dickerson passed, the firehouse saw various other homeowners including former Governor Jerry Brown who lived there for just two years in the 1980s.


San Francisco historic firehouse entry



Catering an 1890 Building to Contemporary Lifestyle

The new homeowners of Engine Co. No. 23 are committed to preserving the historic value of the building while customizing it to the needs of a young family. Their primary motivation for this home remodeling in the Bay Area was to create more room for raising two boys. Working with Aleck Wilson Architects, we are helping to expand the living space by adding two new bedrooms, a new laundry and a fully renovated bathroom. The magnificent front room with its high coved ceilings and natural light – the engine room – will remain an open space for play and hosting parties.


home remodeling bay area


Preserving the Integrity of an Historic Structure

Standing in honor of the building’s place in history are the original fire bell, fire poles and flagpole. In fact the entire facade will remain 100% true to the 1890 vintage firehouse. Inside, the engine room walls will maintain original bead board for a classic period look.


home remodeling bay area historic firehouse



historic firepole


Fun fact: During demolition, we discovered an unexpected historic detail in the engine room. The original floor construction was three layers deep to support the incredible weight of vintage fire engines.

 historic firehouse engine room floor


Once completed, this vintage firehouse will have everything a contemporary family needs to enjoy company, play time and comfort. Above all, the home will be more safe and kid-friendly for two boys to grow up in. Because how many kids can say they grew up in a firehouse?

Stay tuned for more details about our latest edition of home remodeling in the Bay Area!


Home Remodeling Bay Area