Karin Payson architecture + design | BJ Droubi & Company

BJ Droubi & Company

BJ Droubi is a 24-person real estate brokerage in the Noe Valley section of San Francisco. To house private offices for the owners, and additional desks for brokers, the company purchased a Victorian near its main office and remodeled the ground floor commercial space.

The space had a very low ceiling, several small rooms, and two light wells with little access to natural light except at the street. At the rear, the building above extends 20 feet beyond the lower level leaving it quite dark. To expand the space and increase the amount of natural light, windows at the street were enlarged. The floor was very uneven, so it was demolished, and a new slab poured six inches lower, increasing the ceiling height. The shafts were demolished and replaced with skylights and structural glass now encloses the private offices and conference room. A small light well at the back was finished with decking and potted plants, with a “french door” from the conference room facing it. Finally, the dark space under the house above was painted, light-colored crushed gravel added to the ground and now sculpture sits under outdoor lighting, making it a visual feature.

Photos by Stephen Barker