Italianate townhouse exterior
Photo: Matthew Millman


Judging from the outside, the house Jessica Wynne found in San Francisco's Pacific Heights was just what she and her husband Stephen were looking for: an Italianate townhouse with an icinglike cornice, an etched-glass transom over the front door, and tall bay windows. The facade needed little more than a new paint job. So why had no one snapped it up?

The onetime single-family dwelling had been carved up into apartments. Lurking behind makeshift front doors were seven shoddily constructed bathrooms and as many miniscule kitchens. To turn back the clock, the Wynnes were going to have to carefully excise the dilapidated apartments and keep an eye out for details that gave clues to the home's original look. With the help of architectural designer Amy Hall McNamara and general contractor Eric Maykranz, a specialist in old-home restoration, they would remake the building into a graceful manse, but one that meets the needs of a modern family.
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