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3491 20th

Single-Room Occupancy (SRO) Buildings can often be an underrated type of housing and there are more opportunities than one might think with this housing typology. We love improving the quality of these buildings and have worked on many all around the City.


Originally, these were boarding houses; a very typical type of unit for a single-person to rent at the turn of the 20th Century. Back then, apartments didn't really exist as they do now, so people rented a room with a shared bath down the hall. These rooms typically came with board as well, so meals were provided by the management in a common area of the building.

Now, SRO units get a reputation for being less favorable. In many buildings, the rooms are very small, the bathrooms aren't kept clean, the shared kitchens are far too small, there is no shared living space, and meals are no longer provided to tenants.


BUT. . . buildings like this one show just how wonderful an SRO community can be. Here, the halls are filled with murals, and the tenants embody the creative expression throughout the space with their own artistic community. SRO buildings have the opportunity to bring together like-minded people with shared interests to create more than a dull apartment building.


At this site, we are lucky to have a layout where each tenant has a very large room, lots of natural light, thanks to a generous central courtyard, ample bathrooms, a large shared kitchen, and even a large living room for them to gather in. Our scope is to renovate all the common spaces including the hallways, bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room.

Because of the creative nature of this group of people, along with the art throughout the common areas, we are playing with bold colors and patterns in the renovated areas. The kitchen will receive red cabinets with a modern black/white floor and stainless steel surfaces throughout. The bathrooms will utilize a tile pattern that will create bold lines, angles, and patterns in the private shower and toilet compartments. Did we mention we LOVE doing the full interior design? 


Construction began in the spring of 2024 and should be done by fall. Stay tuned for finished photos!



41 Units


San Francisco




Image by Evgeniy Alyoshin


DeBrus Construction

(415) 410-1833

Image by Andrew Hutchings


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