From Postwar starter home to spacious Bungalow

Project scope: Whole house remodel, with family room and master suite addition.

Construction completed: Winter 2006

General contractor: David Curtis

Location: Palo Alto, California

This project comprised the remodel of an entire house, built in the 1950’s by a WWII veteran, with, seemingly, spare parts and elbow grease. The current owners needed a little more space and a lot more charm for their growing family, and were enamored with the features and character of early-twentieth century bungalow homes. So the whole house was remodeled, a family room and master suite were added, and a new roof was built over the existing flat roof and new area to completely transform the home’s character, quality, and flow.

The layout of the home and its location on a narrow lot posed considerable challenges to the addition, if we were to adhere to the principle that the addition should not look like an awkward paste-on to the back of the house. Budget in mind, we could not gut the existing house to suit our needs, so had to work around the existing arrangement of rooms, yet maintain an easy flow between the new rooms and the old. The kitchen was kept in place, but an exterior wall was removed and the front entry exterior vestibule included as part of the interior entry space. The old family room, which was really just a bedroom (and which had previously been the garage) was now also opened up to the kitchen and entry, and transformed into the new dining room. The existing living room faced the backyard, and as the backyard was the only feasible location for the addition, this space became a central room in the house. In order that it not feel enclosed, long and narrow flared skylight wells were added, transecting the existing ceiling from wall to wall. The new family room included the new roof’s ridge line in a vaulted ceiling, to increase the impression of spaciousness and light in a room that in actuality is not that large, per zoning and budgetary restrictions. A new master suite opens off of the family room, with bedroom double doors opening onto the backyard and Jacuzzi tub.

In addition to the interior remodel and addition, the owners invested in an exterior overhaul, wherein we balanced lap siding with smooth-coat stucco, and detailed the new Craftsman knee braces, exposed ridge beams, decorative purlins, and corbels. The carport on the front had to be retained per city requirements, so it was refurbished with flared columns and shaped beams to resemble Craftsman era construction.

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