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Design firm remodels Bay Area landmark

Anne Knowles

The project will last nearly a decade, but once it’s done a Reno design firm will have transformed a San Francisco historic landmark.

Domus Design Group, a 25-year-old Reno design firm with offices in San Francisco and Houston, is in the midst of a complete overhaul of the Marines’ Memorial Club located a few blocks from the city’s Union Square.

The club was founded in 1946 in what was once the Western Women’s Club, a women’s hotel built in 1926.

It was established as a living memorial to Marines who died in the Pacific during World War II, and is still today a comfortable and reasonably priced hotel for club members and other visitors.

“The members have a great deal, and we were hired by the hotel to improve the amenities for its members,” said Bruce Goff, principal with Domus in Reno who is overseeing the hotel project.

“We started working with them four years ago when we did the lobby.”

The building is classified as a Class 1 historic building, the most protected designation, according to Goff, so the designers had strict parameters for the lobby redesign.

“It has a Mediterranean and Spanish influence,” he said.

“A lot of it was submerged and we brought out the aesthetic for the membership.”

After that, Domus designers started work on the club’s top floor restaurant, altering the space’s “footprint,” said Goff, and making better use of the restaurant’s views of the city.

That overhaul was recently finished.

“The restaurant was completely renovated and restructured,” he said.

“New lighting, layout and furnishings.”

Now the design firm is working on the club’s 130 hotel rooms.

The first two floors were completed in April and another floor is scheduled to be done by March 2005.

The rooms are not uniform, so the design process takes time, said Goff.

All the rooms, though, are being updated with new bathroom fixtures, flooring and lighting.

“A lot of the budget went into the bathrooms,” said Goff.

Next, the firm will tackle the suite floors, where the rooms are much larger.

And there’s plenty more after that, said Goff: “The project goes until 2009.”