front/back duplex.

Located on a densely-developed hillside site within Bernal Heights, The Front-Back Duplex is the second of two detached family homes.  Designed to serve a multi-generational family, this new home needed to respond to size limits as well as its relationship to an existing historical home on the property: How do the two structures relate?  Which family is to live in which structure and how are spaces to be used between both homes? How might two independent addresses be permitted in an already compact neighborhood?

“Contemporary playhouse for a family home”

The limited developable area of the property required careful programming and a great many layout iterations.    


Within a near-perfect square of 500 sq.ft. and three stacked stories, the Front-Back Duplex efficiently provides a garage and laundry room, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, living room, family room, kitchen, dining and large light-well. Design inspiration was pulled from Japanese precedents as well as vertical space planning strategies. An open-concept designed around the main stairwell encourages interconnectivity between spaces and levels, leaving the home feeling playhouse-like and far larger than its square-footage would suggest.

171220 17113 Mariner Johnson Residence 3

project information.

Type: Commercial - Retail

Location: Bernal Heights, San Francisco

Sq. Footage: 1,350 sq.ft.

Scope: Concept Designer and SF DBI Consultant

Stage: Permitting



Sarah Ebner, Design Architect

Karina Andreeva, Agency Researcher

Additional credits

Designed for BONE Structure, Structural Engineer and Fabricator