aptly named for its existing plan shape, this ranch sits at the edge of vineyards in northern Napa County. This is the youngest house we’ve ever brought to the studs – built in 1988. Back then I was walking to the corner store with a friend, buying Cool Ranch Doritos and hearing Sweet Child O Mine croon from the radio as I passed by fields of the upstate NY type. (maybe this should be called Cool Ranch?!)the house is well-built and was cared for, but it just needs a little jolt from us to kick up the dust and bring it to 2016. Axl is still trying to make it happen but that doesn’t mean this house has to. one of the cool things about this ranch is that it came with original blueprints. hand-drawn plans and details! as you can imagine, one of the first things we thought of was to vault the ceilings and really appreciate / experience that gabled roof shape, from inside. that means removing a ton of trusses, 24″ o.c. … it’s a lovely location. the first thing you see from the road is the garage door, none of us like this but it has stay – only getting a makeover. below are a few more shots around the outside. where’s the front door?!tons of butterceam yellow, eek – I really only like this on a cupcake. it’s really weird to me to see massive roofs leaning on spindly little posts. like I said, the house is ‘nice’ but isn’t living up to its potential in this location. out in the back is the water tank building. around wine country you often see old water towers, with the tank at the top. this property has two wells. we’re looking toward the rear yard, from where large doors will be located. inside is just, blah. finishes aren’t amazing, flat ceilings throughout, gigantoid fireplace and concrete hearth. sidenote: there are some brass faucets that were hot in ’88 and despised until a few years ago. it’s all cyclical. here are a few proposed renderings, showing the new entry and vaulted ceilings with rafters. below are some more recent shots of what’s been going on: from underwhelming entry to chopped off entry! the cupolas are staying, a client decision that I think is a good one. photo on the left above is a slice through the house, at the boomerang ‘elbow’ where the new main entrance will be. see one of the wells in the foreground. on the right, to the studs: the future dining / living area and soon to be removed trusses. at the back / north end of the house will be the master bed & bathroom. the photo below is the stunning vineyard view directly across the street when leaving the driveway. this is why I’ve always said I feel like I can finally breathe when I get into the country – air, space, light, views, nature. stay tuned, more to come!
Tag Archives: to the studs
a huge thanks to our photographer Melissa Kaseman for pitching our project to San Francisco magazine. They picked up the story and it’s in the November issue.
flip through their entire online issue here, or check it out in images below. Or better yet buy a hard copy, cut those pages out and put them on your wall for inspiration 🙂 and call us when you’re ready to do your own to the studs remodel!
this project was a fun collaboration with really great clients. we can’t thank them enough for being open to 99% of our design ideas. they wanted a sense of whimsy in the house and I think we achieved that feeling.
we like to think of this house as a bright, inviting, energetic series of spaces with bold patterns and textures. it has plentiful windows to grab distant views out the front and a 17ft wide multi-panel sliding door to connect to a cozy garden in the back.
take a look ———–>
at the castro corner house, the new walls were framed in, and sheetrock is now being installed.
above is the rough framed new stair to the first floor. about 20′ of new concrete retaining wall was poured along the property line.
in the photo above, part of the concrete wall is thinner to allow for the stair landing in this location – every inch counts to make the stairs work, especially in these narrow san francisco lots!
here the 6′ tall new concrete is furred out to allow for bathroom plumbing to run inside. new johns-manville formaldehyde-free insulation (for better indoor air quality) fills the wall cavities where there was no insulation before…..the globe is warming but we’re using more insulation now than we did in 1940. 🙂 from this point looking over the new stairwell you can see through the lower hallway and to the new garden door. a nice peek to the rear yard without having to go downstairs.. a view along the floor toward the new built-in bench, and spot where the gas fireplace will go. it’s a corner fireplace by Ortal. pretty slick! can’t wait to see it. we’re further along than these pictures show; some cabinetry is installed, and we’re selecting final finishes now. stay tuned, more to come!
Construction continued despite the wet weather this Spring (but, we need the rain!). The second floor of the house took shape quickly, with the new rooms sitting over the expanded first floor. A couple shots of the on-site studs. On the left is the view when you walk in the front door, looking up to an overlook balcony, and the kitchen will sit below. The right photo is the master bathroom with an angled wall that follows the property line. 2 views at the front of the house a few weeks apart. New french doors and sidelights were installed in the new master bedroom. The view from the bedroom doors is pretty sweet, down through the bay to the city. The vaulted ceilings of the house have spray-foam insulation, letting us avoid a tricky venting requirement at the eaves and ridges for the long roof runs. A view across the rear part of the house past the stairs to the new family room with multi-slide doors. Here’s a view of NormaJean the volvo looking up at the two projects we’ve done, side-by-side. Two photos taken at the rear yard several weeks apart. The shingles are being installed and they really make the house look finished. Tina’s crew at Builder Girl is doing a really great job.The large steel window at the staircase is from Torrance. The steel window will be a dramatic statement at the staircase, seen from everywhere on the lower floor and yard, and from the bedroom hallway above. The master bathroom, in two directions. The shower with its round window facing the street – the bottom half obscured for privacy of course. The other end of the room has a skylight above to bring light down along the wall, to the spot where the bath tub will be. Really exciting to see finishes coming along! Kress Jack is working alongside us on the finishes, and it seems like the finish line is in sight – though distant still. Stay tuned for more!
Is it too late to say happy new year? I say no since this is my first 2016 post. This is a cute 1940s house set on a cul-de-sac, 2 bedroom / 2 bath. Not nearly enough room for a family of now 4 who entertain and occasionally work from home. The program is to add a second floor and push the house out in the rear yard to get more space on the first floor. New total will be 4 bed, 4 bath. One really cool thing about its location on a south-facing hill is a surprisingly direct view back to the city across the bay. Otherwise it is standard suburban rancho from another era…ready for an update!At some point the living room was expanded and the ceiling was vaulted with exposed beams – a really nice look that we’re maintaining and improving upon in the new design. The kitchen is workable, but feels a little cramped. A low-ceiling breakfast nook is hidden away in the distance.
In the early stages we studied the possible massing for the top floor addition. We initially settled on the gable roof with an overhang at the front. BUT: heed my advice, and get a professional lot survey! It was discovered that the house sat within the front yard setback so we had to redesign and push the second floor back. Silver lining is that they will have a walk-out balcony at the front (the windows have become doors now..) and a circular window to the side gains a city view as well. Storypoles were installed to demonstrate the extent of the new addition. Demo happens quickly… The back wall of the house was removed to accommodate the expansion. It almost looks like a stage / bandshell. The rear deck was removed to make way for the addition and pushing the land back a little for a new deck. All this while preserving the persimmon tree in the upper left of the photo!Here is a photo after concrete and during initial framing from last Fall. The ground floor is mostly framed, and the second floor is just starting. Steel beams are seen on the left, awaiting install, and a narrow Simpson Strong Wall on the left of the house. We’re already far ahead of this phase – stay tuned for more!
It’s always a treat to return to a house and start the second phase of a project you designed a master plan for. In this case I worked on an interior to-the-studs remodel of this house back in 2009 – see it here in our portfolio and here on the blog as it was ripped apart. This was a fun collaboration with Ian Stallings Design. Above you see an aerial view of the house as it was recently, with a low pitched roof and attic above the main living space. I was thrilled when the new owners contacted me and expressed that they now want to add the top floor.
We worked off the old plans and made some modifications for the new owners. See renderings of the proposed top floor addition – an elegant, flat roof structure with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, office space and large outdoor decks that will tie right in with the existing house. The front deck is largest since here in SF you’re encouraged to set back top additions so they’re not competing with the original facade… like it or not! Below is a view of the rear of the house, with the new intimate master bedroom deck overlooking the existing courtyard space below.
We’re working with Cook Construction for this project – a team we’re very happy with. The demolition of the old roof, its 5 layers of asphalt shingles plus original wood shingles, went pretty swiftly. Above, looking toward the front of the house, below, the rear.
A view from within the front part of the attic looking back – you can see all the recessed lighting, wiring, and ducting from the 2009 project.
At the very front of the house, you see the old boards of the cornice / parapet. The views open up in this direction.
Above left – the opening for the new staircase. On the right, the only part of the new roof that is sloped is over the master closet, a result of negotiating with neighbors who were concerned by potential impacts to light. They’ve since moved away.
Lastly, the beautiful view from the office / hallway area, between two adjacent buildings to the hills beyond. Stay tuned – this one’s moving fast!
Things are looking skeletal in Sonoma as the farmhouse is stripped down for rebuilding walls – insulating, plumbing, electric and new window / door locations. Above is a view into what was the bathroom and dressing room. Like an open-air pavilion, the existing roof hovers above the completely open floor – seems like it wants to lift off! In the far end will become the great room – living / dining / kitchen. Here is a look at the beginnings of the master bedroom addition. On the upper right is an attic window that may become a fort for the kids. The addition will be connected to the existing / old house by a glass hallway, framed here. It forms a small recessed area perfect for plantings. A few weeks later, plywood on the framing starts to give shape to the addition – a simple gable structure, which seemed appropriate for this house and its locale. The low gable seen to the right on the old house will be rebuilt to match the pitch of the addition roof. A look from inside at the master bedroom gable wall. There will be two windows stacked vertically. Here I am standing on a heap of soil outside the house – not my typical site-visit attire! (we were on the way home from a casual weekend trip and we dropped in)
Stay tuned – more to come!
The story of a major remodel. According to Sanborn Insurance Maps this corner building was built sometime between 1891 and 1899. It’s listed on the California State Historic Register. It represents a pattern of residential living over corner store found throughout San Francisco. Maintaining about 90% of the exterior and the unit split of (2) apartments over the commercial space, we decided to modify almost all of the interior. This for several reasons, one being to add insulation where there had been none previously; to revise the awkward interior room layout; to revise window and door positions. We salvaged most of the interior trim and all of the exterior trim as we weren’t permitted to modify the street facades. New, insulated windows match originals per city requirements. It’s been several months among heaps of old plaster & lath, exposed redwood framing that hadn’t seen the light of day in 100+ years, rummaging through the deep corners of this hulking building…
It has retained a pretty good level of – what seems to be – original detail, escaping any violent stripping or hack jobs in its lifetime. Can’t say the same for that classy storefront – soon to be changed! Here is a creepy Medusa medallion, one seen on each of the bay gables:
The top floor was likely not an original 1890s living space, or if so had been completely ‘updated’ in the 1970s (?) by the looks of things including a chunky corner fireplace: