Before & After Transformation

Our work tends to focus on whole house remodels, but we occasionally take on a few smaller projects as our schedule allows. And with that, we’d like to share this small-but-mighty transformation of a San Francisco marina-style home that we recently completed.

Our clients, a family of four, were quickly outgrowing their two-bedroom home, so the parents decided to take over the dark, unused basement as a private master suite. Our Director of Special Projects, Nancy Madynski, helped these homeowners create a highly functional living space that includes a master bedroom suite and an entertainment room with access to the backyard. Take a look at these dramatic before and after photos to see how a few small changes can transform a home.

Starting with the Staircase


What do you do with a dark and cramped staircase? Knock out a wall!


The new opening outfitted with a glass guardrail allows natural light to illuminate the stairway, and the stainless steel, walnut-capped railing provides a contemporary flavor.

An Entertainment Room the Whole Family can Enjoy

Moving the family TV to the downstairs entertainment room creates a cozy place for the family to watch movies—and for dad to watch football!


We turned cluttered shelving into organized closet storage next to the garage entry, at the foot of the stairs.

Reclaiming the Basement for a Private Master Suite

Nancy incorporated thoughtful design details to make the most of a small master suite: a custom walnut headboard, shelves, and bureau provide a sense of continuity, as do the high-gloss finishes on the bedroom closet doors and custom bathroom vanity.

By adding a wall to separate the bedroom suite and entertainment room, Nancy was able to carve out space for the master bedroom closet and bureau.

Turning a Dark, Seldom-Used Bathroom into a Light-Filled En-suite Bath


A claustrophobic and dysfunctional bathroom is now light and bright thanks to a higher ceiling and a re-designed shower stall with a glass shower door.

The custom vanity provides much-needed storage with a pop of color, and the recessed cabinets on the wall make smart use of the small space.

Soundproofing and Design Upgrades for Street-Facing Living Room


Upstairs, we swapped out a wood-burning fireplace with a more efficient gas fireplace, replacing the dated mantle with a marble façade. We also took the opportunity to add recording studio-grade soundproofing insulation to the street-facing living room wall to help muffle the sounds of the streetcar that passes in front of the home.

Façade, Front Door & Garage Door

The final touches on this marina-style home included painting the entire façade a uniform color and replacing both the front door and garage door with matching western red cedar doors.

With a few thoughtful design and infrastructure improvements, we turned this home’s unused space into a private haven for two. Nancy collaborated closely with these homeowners to understand their vision, offer solutions and implement the design. Now every square foot is used to its highest potential for this family of four to find the perfect balance of privacy, space and comfort.