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Modern Victorian Updated for Tech Entrepreneurs

Embarking on a major remodel in a historic home meant that tech entrepreneurs Côme Laguë and Charlene Li had a lot of decisions to make. The choice of bathroom products, however, was among the easiest.

“We are huge fans of American Standard, having had products in our previous homes,” Lague told us when he first reached out. He was thrilled to learn about DXV by American Standard, inspired by historically significant designs, reinterpreting them in light of today’s aesthetic and performance demands. Everything about DXV was very much in line with what Lague and Li hoped to achieve when they bought one of the iconic Painted Ladies homes on Postcard Row in San Francisco. 

“Our goal was to restore and update the house for modern-day living while honoring its deep history,” Lague said. 


The row of Painted Ladies on Steinert Street in San Francisco is one of the most familiar streets in the US, featured in more than 70 movies, ads and TV shows--most notably the opening scenes of the TV series “Full House.”

Builder/carpenter Matthew Kavanaugh built Lague and Li’s 4,773 square foot Queen Anne style home for himself in 1892, and subsequently built the six additional “sisters.” According to the research Lague and Li did, the homes first sold for about $6,000 each. Kavanaugh sold his home in 1900, and it has changed hands about 15 times since, surviving the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes. 

Remodeling Five Bathrooms and the Kitchen

The home has five and half bathrooms, including the master bathroom that had last been updated 25 years ago.  Working with Butler Armsden Architects of San Francisco, Lague and Li removed a fireplace and chimney in the master bedroom creating enough room for the DXV Lyndon freestanding tub with Contemporary Floor Mount Tub Filler to become a focal point. 

Master bath before:


Master bath after:



“When people walk through the door of the master bath, the first thing they say is ah! Look at the bathtub!” Li said. “Every single woman says that.” 

“When we were deciding where to put the bathtub, we thought maybe we could just eyeball it. But then I said, no, this is such an important thing,” Li said. “We had everybody haul the bathtub up here, before the room was finished. Positioned it here and different places around the room.

“Once we figured out this was the right place, I got into the bathtub. Sat in it. Checked out that everything was right and said, OK, this is it. Mark it!”

With the extra space gained by moving the tub away from the back wall, Lague and Li gained a full wall of cabinets. They gained extra counterspace by using the DXV Percy wall-mounted bathroom faucets and sleek undercounter mount Pop Grande Rectangle sinks.


A separate water closet houses the DXV SpaLet AT200 toilet, state-of-the-art technology with beautifully considered design for enhanced personal hygiene. Lague and Li used a second SpaLet in the downstairs powder room so their guests can experience the heightened sense of comfort from the integrated bidet functions. “It is quite a conversation piece, I can assure you,” Li said.

The master bath also includes a MrSteam steam shower, cabinets by Decora and floor and accent tile is from Shaw. 


“The glass backsplash tile was carried into the shower and on the entire wall behind the bidet toilet, making the appearance of rain,” Lague says. “The high end finishes of the DXV bath sink and shower faucets, plus the incredible experience of the MrSteam steam shower, make this room an absolute joy to be in!”


The DXV AT200 toilet in the master bathroom with the waterfall tile effect


The AT200 toilet in the powder room with the Keefe single handle bathroom faucet

Other Bathrooms and a Wide Open Kitchen

Lague and Li incorporated more DXV products in bathrooms throughout the home, including the bathrooms used by their two teenaged children. 


The DXV Ashbee collection of sink and shower faucets is a highlight for one of the children’s rooms


A third floor guest bathroom features the DXV Roycroft pedestal sink and Percy widespread sink faucet with lever handles

Lague described the kitchen and family room areas as the most “intense” part of the remodel. “We found the kitchen was quite dark and lacked cabinet space. It dated back at least 40 years,” Lague said.

Lague and Li brightened the entire space, literally opening it up to the outside using San Francisco-based NanaWall opening glass wall systems.

Kitchen before:


Kitchen after:


The DXV Hillside 30 Inch stainless steel kitchen sink and Fresno Culinary kitchen faucet are on right and Fresno Pull-Down kitchen faucet with Prevoir stainless steel sink by American Standard, on left. Appliances are by Dacor, with flooring and tiles by Shaw.

The whole house remodel took about eight months to complete. Lague recognized the contribution and talents of Butler Armsden Architects of San Francisco and San Francisco Plumbing Company among other professionals listed on the blog he prepared about the remodel.

See more of the completed project on Houzz.


Photo credits: Mitch Shenker Studio