By Mary Beth Klatt
Rank has its privileges in the military. Case in point: Pershing Hall at the Presidio in San Francisco. The Colonial Revival red-brick building with Georgian and Federal Revival elements is named after famed general John “Blackjack” Pershing, who served at the Presidio of San Francisco. It was a handsome home away from home for high-ranking, bachelor officers for decades. The three-story hall, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is now 22-room boutique hotel Inn at the Presidio. San Francisco firms Architectural Resources Group and BraytonHughes Design Studios collaborated on the $7 million renovation.
The Inn at the Presidio’s updated exteriorThe building’s story starts in 1903, when these quarters housed 16 bachelor officers. Each of the top-tier officers had a private two-room suite that included a living room, bedroom, and bath, according to Presidio Trust architect and associate director of architecture Rob Wallace. Servants in a rear wing cooked, cleaned, and did laundry for the officers, who shared a common kitchen and dining room. Pershing never lived on the premises, however.
After the Presidio was decommissioned, Architectural Resources Group converted the post into an inn, retaining the hall’s layout. “It was a gift that these interior walls were there,” says firm architect and senior associate Sarah Satterwhite. “It makes for nice rooms.” Sturdy walls weren’t the only gifts: All 16 fireplaces were still intact, along with oak floors hidden under the carpeting.
The architecture firm strengthened the walls, removed outdated exterior fire escapes, and updated the bathrooms. “Our goal was to preserve the stunning original architecture, while complimenting the space with natural, contemporary furnishings comprised of metals, woods, and the like,” says Rachel Fischbach, principal, of local firm BraytonHughes Design Studios. The new interior had many military-inspired touches, including a display of vintage bugles found in Presidio archives and plaid carpeting. It’s “something military without being too masculine,” she adds. Since its re-opening, in fact, Architectural Resources Group has begun renovating nearby circa-1890s barracks into additional guest quarters.