In the picturesque Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco stands a home that serves not only as a living space but also as a vessel for art, design, and sustainability. This three-story masterpiece, known as The Silver Lining House, is the collaborative result of a longstanding friendship between Mork-Ulnes Architects, architectural photographer Bruce Damonte, and interior designer Alison Damonte.
The Silver Lining House Technical Information
- Architects1-9: Mork-Ulnes Architects
- Location: Bernal Heights, San Francisco, California, USA
- Topics: Black in Architecture, American Houses
- Area: 2,818 ft2 | 262 m2
- Project Year: 2013 – 2021
- Photographs: © Bruce Damonte
We had been visually collaborating with our friend, architectural photographer Bruce Damonte, for over 15 years when he approached us, along with his wife and also our friend, interior designer Alison Damonte, to renovate their house in San Francisco.
From the outset, we knew that this project would present an intriguing collaboration. It would balance our minimalist tendencies with the more exuberant and maximalist inclinations of our client-friends, whose style we have always admired and wanted to celebrate.– Casper Mork-Ulnes
The Silver Lining House Photographs
Architectural Elements & Interior Design
The story of this house began in 2010 when the Damontes acquired a century-old wooden residence. Initially undergoing slow but extensive renovation, the project took an unexpected turn when a fire ravaged the home on Christmas Eve of 2017. This unforeseen event led to a reevaluation of the project’s scope and scale but solidified the couple’s vision for the home—a showcase for their exquisite collection of art, furniture, and materials.
The exterior of the house makes a nod to the past while firmly planted in the present. The black finish pays tribute to the fire incident and the district’s history. It sets an abstract backdrop against which the vibrant art and furniture collection inside the home stands out.
The exterior took cues from its quintessential San Francisco neighbors. The intention was that the house would slip into the void created when the fire destroyed the former Edwardian home.– Casper Mork-Ulnes
Mork-Ulnes Architects set the stage with simplified geometric structures that serve as a canvas for Alison Damonte’s vibrant interior vision. The heart of the house, a central curved staircase, funnels natural light from a third-floor skylight all the way to the ground floor. This playful design includes half-polished chrome slats that bounce mirrored reflections around the stairwell, mimicking the experience of walking through a disco ball.
A Space Beyond Conventions
This 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath home is more than just living quarters; it houses a disco-inspired music parlor, a photography studio, and a penthouse great room with panoramic views of San Francisco’s cityscape.
In a nod to environmental responsibility, over 65% of the original vertical wall structure was preserved and re-used. The house also features solar panels, high-performance, energy-efficient windows, and operable glazed walls for natural ventilation.
The Silver Lining House stands as a testament to enduring friendship, collaborative design, and a shared vision for art and sustainability. As the Damontes put it, “The house became seen as a vessel for our collection of material ideas and furniture and art collected together over the years.”
Lexie Mork-Ulnes sums up the project beautifully, stating, “We thought of the home as a Gallery to showcase the materials and experiments that Alison Damonte wanted to push and play with, so that their art collection would also include pieces of the house itself.”
The Silver Lining House Plans
The Silver Lining House Image Gallery
About Mork-Ulnes Architects
Mork-Ulnes Architects is an internationally recognized architecture firm with offices in San Francisco, California, and Oslo, Norway. Founded by Casper Mork-Ulnes, the firm combines Scandinavian pragmatism with California’s innovative spirit to create sustainable, functional, and aesthetically appealing designs.
Notes & Additional Credits
- Design Team: Casper Mork-Ulnes, Lexie Mork-Ulnes, Phi Van Phan, Gregoriy Ladigin
- Interior Designer: Alison Damonte
- Construction Manager: Raffi Nazarian
- Landscape Architect: Terremoto
- Structural Engineer: Santos & Urritia
- Lighting Design: PritchardPeck
- General Contractor: Rico’s General Construction, Inc.
- Cabinet maker: Hopebuilt
- Press office: Cultivar