When Donnie Wang bought his 530-square-foot studio apartment in San Francisco’s Financial District, he was single. When his now wife, Nicole Chiu-Wang, moved in, he needed to stretch his bachelor pad to cover dinner parties, overnight guests, work from home (at times, for two) and his stylist wife’s large wardrobe.
He called on his friend, designer Peter Suen, who pulled in his friend, designer Charles Irby, who began to design a kind of lean-to for grownups for his living room. They prefabbed a morphing wood and cement cube in Irby’s Oakland design studio ICOSA (he CNC’ed the formwork) outfitted with a loft bed, murphy bed, standing desk, closets and lots and lots of storage.
The wood-and-cement loft now serves as the couple’s bedroom (the lofted bed), guest room (the murphy bed), dining room, office for Peter (with large whiteboard on underside of murphy bed) and multimedia room (the loft also serves as seating for their ceiling-mounted projector). The couple also run a sock company out of the apartment and have used every last few square inches for storing inventory.
“San Francisco’s kind of a funny place,” explains Suen of Fifth_Arch. “In the rest of the country they might be in their legitimate starter home, but in San Francisco you’ve just got to deal with just, you know, ‘San Francisco’. So they really maximized what you would think is a small place, but it’s really now super customized just for them.”
[Photo credit: Brian Flaherty]