This remodel of the idiosyncratic Tudor Revival house originally built by Mayor “Sunny Jim” Rolph Jr. in 1930, is a fantastical reimagining and embracing of its colorful history along with the client’s needs and desires. Extensive dry rot damage necessitated a nearly complete rebuild of this historic building. While the public sides of the house are seemingly unchanged, all is remade anew, and most everything on the interior has been altered in some form to assert alternative historic fictions. The original house was purported to have been built for Sunny Jim’s mistress, the actress Anita Page, known to be the center of many grand social occasions during Prohibition, serving the finest whiskey; and was dubbed “Casa Cielo” or alternatively the “Pleasure Palace” atop Dolores Heights. This one bedroom house, without a kitchen, was characterized by the 544 s.f. Great Room with carved trusses and a massive stone fireplace on the top floor with a terrace overlooking San Francisco. The subsequent owner, a Dr. DeGrazio, installed a bronze and marble fountain of Leda and the Swan, supported by muses in the front yard, supposedly a gift from Mussolini.


The primary scope of work included adding a new rear stair of precast ashlar, reclaimed brick and stone, with a crystalline enclosure of traditional leaded glass, a new kitchen, dining, sunroom, master suite, office, laundry, two-story library and a full basement by excavating solid rock from underneath the house. Additionally, a guesthouse and separate garage were completely rebuilt with substantially re-engineered retaining walls and drainage. The center piece of the house, a new walnut library, features a custom cast iron balcony, spiral stair, and custom lighting provided by Infinite Fitting, with hand forged railings by Jefferson Mack. For full dramatic effect, there is a secret pivoting bookcase door leading to a cavernous hall and secret stair.

The project includes a grey water irrigation system and is distinguished by a LEED Silver certification.

General Contrator: Buck O’Neill Builders

Photos: © Richard Barnes; All Rights Reserved

Recent Posts



Console side copy
console spout

CONSOLE- This freestanding all aluminum prototype is an extension of my current Infinite Fitting basin product line. Complete with foot pedals and an integral spout cast into the top, the piece is a marriage of water, light, shadow and the austere elegance of raw aluminum. I have long been a fan of Donald Judd's work, especially the 100 Mill Aluminum works in the Artillery Sheds at Marfa, TX. Here, I am pushing from the known and inspirational into a new hybrid form. The piece is impeccably crafted with an innovative one-piece sandcast aluminum vessel/countertop that has a machined surface.

The Console is the latest furniture project that continues to explore the spatial, architectural and programmatic implications when a fixture is taken as freestanding and able to be moved in space. Still tethered to a building and infrastructure, and not quite a vehicle, these works push back at architecture and ask for other ways to think of space.

CONSOLE, detail- This shows the minimal integral cast spout producing a graceful arc of water towards my signature "X" drain. Please note the subtle play of the interior "as-cast" rough texture and the machined surface of the counter. This is a single cast piece of aluminum.

The water spout for the basin is integral to the cast surface, the calibrated flow makes a perfect arc to the drain, and is operated with foot pedals.

Console side copy thumbnail
console spout thumbnail

Media Van sq
Joy Ride
The original Ant Farm Media Van and crew, 1971

The re-imagined Ant Farm Media Van v.08[Time Capsule] as a post-internal combustion vehicle, in the context of current social media, draws inspiration from from Ant Farm's "Joy Ride," and other original Ant Farm works such as the Citizen's Time Capsule. Collaboration with Chip Lord and Curtis Schreier, and commissioned by SFMOMA.

Joy Ride by Ant Farm, Circa 1970, appropriating a Fisher Body ad from 1959.

Media Van & crew, circa 1971

DISCOVERY video documentation. After an unknown period of storage, or lost since 1972, The Media Van emerges from Nike Base SF-88 on an missile elevator.

Media Van [Time Capsule] with obsolete military equipment at the Nike Missile Base.

Media Van [Time Capsule] and stockpiled Nike missiles. 2008

Media Van v.08 [Time Capsule] installation view at SFMOMA, 2008.

Inside the Ant Farm Media Van v.08 [Time Capsule], guests are gathered around the media HUQQUH and taking a toke at SFMOMA. Random files from their digital devices are being copied onto a hard drive for the future. A receipt is issued for each file copied, acknowledging the donation with a thumbnail image, file number, time and date. This receipt could be traded in for a discount in the museum store.

The MVv.08 has subsequently been traveling around the world. Here seen on the bank of Loire River near Nantes, France. Part of the Estuaire Biennial. A discrete digital Time Capsule has been produced for each location.

Media Van sq thumbnail
Joy Ride thumbnail
The original Ant Farm Media Van and crew, 1971 thumbnail
MVelev thumbnail
MV&equip thumbnail
MV&nikecapsules thumbnail
MVv.08 SFMOMA thumbnail
HUQ SFMOMA thumbnail
Estuaire thumbnail

09-1214 Antfarm SOEX-DK final FULL
MVelev copy

TIME CAPSULE TRIPTYCH. Installation view with the DISCOVERY video on the left, INVENTORY, and COLOCATION DREAM video on the right.

Installation detail showing downloaded files from the Media HUQQUH, with thumbnail image, file number date and time.

The Media Van rising on elevator from storage in the bunker below.

Video still from Colocation Dream

09-1214 Antfarm SOEX-DK final FULL thumbnail
IMG_3732 thumbnail
MVelev copy thumbnail
van_with_screen thumbnail

San Jose Zocalito
San Jose lot
San Jose bench detail
Zoc IMG_9806
Zoc IMG_9817
Zoc IMG_9821

A small plaza space at the corner where Fountain Alley meets South 2nd Street created by reclaiming two parking spaces in the adjacent lot.

HELLO, SAN JOSE!, a collaboration with Chip Lord, was a temporary urban intervention into an existing parking lot adjacent to a transit corridor and within the “Historic District” of downtown San Jose. The project expanded a pedestrian space from the adjacent Fountain Alley via both a physical structure and a sound environment. The installation was designed as a babelesque media kiosk that would deliver streaming “local” radio stations as available from around the world, 24 hours a day. At any given time, there could be several languages heard at once, with call letters such as: NGHE VOV, 西湖之声, FRCN VOU, UDEA, XHPO, XHGES some being familiar to the immigrant population of San Jose. Additionally, a simple phone line allowed people to call in and broadcast directly from the structure similar to as a radio station. Six channels of sound were made visible with fluorescent orange megaphones and could be “mixed” by the public as they walked around the structure.

Parking lot view.

Hanging out, listening, & posing.

Listening alcove.

Detail of Listening Alcove.

Two speakers are located within the listening alcove.

Calling this number enabled passersby to broadcast just as the radio stations. On occasion, they would discover the audio feedback with delight.

Passersby were encouraged to call in. Once their phone connected, they could broadcast from this speaker.

Detail of the kiosk and shrink wrapped lantern.

Made from a conventional scaffolding system the upper part was shrink-wrapped and internally lit as beacon at night. During the day, the same surface acted as a screen for the play of shadows from the adjacent trees.

In our interactions with the passersby revealed people from Guatemala, the Philippines, Eritrea, Vietnam, India, and many parts of Mexico about the distant stations they were familiar with. There were numerous broadcast messages left on the answering machine, most were playful and funny, only one was vulgar. Of particular delight was the discovery by the public of a pulsing audio feedback loop that could be created by placing one’s cell phone into the megaphone of the speaker. Many of the broadcast messages were incorporated into a closing audio mix expanding the “Ghost Zocalo” composed by sound designer Jim McKee and played at the closing reception.

San Jose Zocalito thumbnail
San Jose lot thumbnail
3 thumbnail
San Jose bench detail thumbnail
Zoc IMG_9806 thumbnail
Zoc IMG_9817 thumbnail
Zoc IMG_9821 thumbnail

Maria del Camino and SuperTasks

MdC _framing2

FRAMING THE LANDSCAPE- The body of the salvaged 1959 El Camino is drilled by hand with tens of thousands of holes, turning the car into a ghost of itself. While the automobile has profound impact on our world, it also has altered the way we see this world. The play of light, cast from the Her perforated body onto the translucent fiberglass emphasizes the tentative nature of this machine.

Exercises at Carrizo Plain, 2012. Maria's perforated roof and body framing the landscape.

In slow motion above the playa.

SuperTask #1 (The Steppenwolf). Flying in slow motion above the playa.

SuperTask #1 (The Steppenwolf). Satellite image courtesy of GeoEye. The high-lighted square shows the 1/2 mile by 1/2 mile square drawing to the north and east of Black Rock City. The wiggles of the lines reveal the meander of the GPS signal.

SuperTask #1 (The Steppenwolf) in process. Following the GPS at a waypoint reveals the meander of the signal. Over the course of about a half hour the signal settles in and stops moving.

MdC _framing2 thumbnail
Flying thumbnail
SuperTask#1 (The Steppenwolf) thumbnail
IMG_6477_edit_2_lo thumbnail

Maria del Camino on WIRED.

 Maria del Camino at Stanford

Maria del Camino at Carrizo Plain

Maria del Camino at Burning Man 2012