She thought this little building could be transformed too, and become a "pied-a-terre" where she and Paul could stay when they worked late or didn't want to make the long drive over the Golden Gate Bridge. Paul was amused at the prospect but thought it was worth considering. He thought they should talk to Renee and Philippe and see if they would consider coming to San Francisco for a visit and brainstorm with them. They both had been very impressed with the work Renee and Philippe had done on the Chateau and the studio.
After seeing the cottage, Renee's first suggestion to add two story bay windows to each side of the little building, was pivotal. As they talked about how it could be done and how it would look, Paul realized the structure could become more than their personal bed and breakfast, it could also become a model to show some of their clients who were interested in restoring or remodeling a Victorian home. Paul was respected as a young architect who was interested in preserving the Victorian homes of which San Francisco had belatedly recognized as being such a wonderful part of the city's history. However, in preserving these marvelous and historic homes, Paul wanted them to be comfortable and livable homes or offices, not museums.
Paul had worked with many clients who lived in some of San Francisco's delightful Victorian row houses. The owners wanted to preserve the exteriors but wanted the interiors to be 21st century livable. The homes would retain their Victorian presence with a loving respect for their colorful 19th-century history, but would also fit the lifestyles of their owners.
After Renee's initial brainstorming visit, a brief one because Philippe had to stay behind due to commitments to his publisher, Paul and Suzanne quickly began the transformation of the gardener's cottage into a comfortable second house that evolved from ensuing conversations with Renee and Philippe.
Adding the two-story bay windows was more complicated than Suzanne had anticipated, but Paul had known that it might mean extending the foundation and putting on a completely new roof. The cottage, which had been built shortly after the main house, was a surprisingly well built structure. Paul's grandfather had written a delightful story about the house and the cottage.
It seemed that his mother, Paul's great grandmother, had grown-up on Long Island and as a young woman, had been a friend of Edith Wharton. In addition to writing "The Age of Innocence", Edith Wharton had also collaborated with another author to write what was probably the first book about interior design. Her philosophy appealed to Paul's great grandmother. She followed Edith's decorating principles when she and her husband purchased the lovely Italianate house which was to remain in Paul's family for the next four generations.
<back Home next>