An Old Garage Is Transformed Into an Artist’s Home and Studio in San Francisco

soma residence artist studio home dumican mosey architect house 1
Cesar Rubio / Kirsten Hepburn

It can be argued that free-spirited artists are responsible for the urban industrial design style that’s become so trendy in recent years. In the early days of converting warehouses into residences, the spaces were more ascetic than stylish and comfortable. But all of that has changed now that converting abandoned commercial buildings has become more mainstream. Today, these innovative spaces are full of refined style with just a touch of the grit we love about the urban industrial look. And such is the case with Dumican Mosey Architect’s SOMA Residence, a home, studio, and art gallery for one San Francisco artist and her family.

Located in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood (or SoMa), SOMA Residence is a jaw-dropping example of what can happen when a creative artist teams up with an architect capable of bringing her vision to life. The building was a rundown auto repair garage when internationally exhibited artist Klari Reis and her partner Michael Isard first came upon it. With the intuitive know-how of architect Eric Dumican, the 1923 structure was transformed over the course of five years into a residential loft, studio, art gallery, and rental apartment.

Due to age and earthquakes, the garage required extensive repairs and increased structural support before any renovations could begin. Original elements were preserved where they could be (like the cupids on the facade) and materials were carefully chosen to compliment the history of the building while also incorporating a fresh, modern element. Standing outside of the building, the blending of old and new can be seen, creating a striking and intriguing visual. Of course, the red Fiat hanging upside down from the ceiling is more than enough to get people to stop and stare.

Inside, SOMA Residence is split into two floors. The studio and gallery make up most of the first floor, along with the separate rental apartment. In a nod to the building’s history as a car garage, the studio and gallery were outfitted with hydraulic lift glass garage-style doors, allowing Klari to turn them into open-air spaces. When open, these doors also act as a protective roof over the terrace, allowing the space to be enjoyed even on rainy days.

Upstairs is the family’s private residence, a three-bedroom, loft-style space. Climbing the stairs, the red Fiat hanging from the ceiling is a whimsical indication that you are stepping into the home of an artist. Knowing that his clients were avid art collectors, Dumican was careful to blend rougher, industrial elements with plenty of bright white walls for displaying their collection. Throughout the space, there is a combination of drywall and exposed elements like the wooden support beams in the ceiling and the board-formed concrete walls.

One of the biggest problems with the original structure was how dark it was inside. With windows only at the front and back of the building, the center was a gloomy, cave-like space. Dumican addressed this by placing a glass-enclosed courtyard in the center of the loft. The courtyard is surrounded by sliding glass pocket doors on three sides and a skylight above that can be opened up. The space is anchored by a living wall of succulents. This central atrium, along with the wall of windows at the front of the loft allows the home to be flooded with natural light, which plays off of the textures of the different materials and the colors of the artwork on the walls.

For a look at another workshop-turned-loft, check out Loft Sixty-Four – a light-filled residence in the Netherlands.


Idaho is the Ideal Place for a Mountain Home and Payette Lake Cliff House Proves It

Massive boulders seem to rise up out of the ground right into the home at this innovative retreat in Idaho.

The Insane 575-foot Acionna Concept Is a Superyacht to Beat All Superyachts

Bikini models and Cristal not included.

Every Kid at Heart Needs This Hot Wheels Coffee Table Book

Three hundred pages of Hot Wheels history and a personal homage from Mario Andretti make up this new tome.

Peek Inside NoDa House, a Reimagining of Traditional Mill Houses with a Modern Twist

NoDa House has all of the mid-century modern goodness we love about Eichlers but with a modern twist.

Goto House Is the Hexagonal Home of Your Dreams

When your client is a skilled engineer, you know you have to come up with an architectural jewel of a home.

Find Perfect Harmony Between Architecture and Nature at Amangiri Resort

This secluded desert getaway is helping to reshape the idea of what Southwestern style can be.

Baby on the Way? Here’s How to Support Your Pregnant Wife

Pregnancy requires you to get proactive, pal. She’s driving the car, but you are the entire pit crew.

How to Clean Your House or Apartment in 30 Minutes or Less

This isn’t a deep clean. It’s an, “Oh shit, I really should have done something earlier and now it’s gonna take a miracle to do this” clean.

Dive In (Literally) to This Minimalist Lakeside Retreat in the Netherlands

Once the walls open up, you can dive right into the water from the living room.

From Milan to Mars, Architect Stefano Boeri is Creating Vertical Forests

A combination of housing shortages and climate change led to the creation of Vertical Forests which blend housing and landscaping into one amazing building.

What’s a Salt Cave and Why Are They So Damned Relaxing?

Experiencing Halotherapy in a salt cave can be pure relaxation or relaxing purification depending on how you look at it.
Food & Drink

Say No to Disposables with All the Best Reusable Lunch Gear for Guys

From straws to cutlery to sandwich bags, there's a reusable option for everything that comes with a traditional takeout lunch.

Heat Up Your Digs with One of Our Picks for the Best Space Heaters

Admit it, you need a little extra warmth this winter.

5 Seriously Stylish Dog Houses to Pamper Your Puppers

There will be no question about who’s a good boy when you get Fido one of these amazing dog houses.