From Ranch style to California Craftsman

Project scope: Whole house remodel & façade improvement

Construction status: Under construction

Location: Wilton, California

Features of interest:

  • Front porch with heavy arched timbers and doubled posts ground the structure and focus the eye to the center of a long home.
  • Minimal change to existing home’s structure: Roof overbuilds and “guiding the eye” affects the perception of radical change.
  • Craftsman built-ins throughout: Living room, dining room, kitchen, master bath.

How do you transform a low-lying shoebox of a Ranch style house into a California Craftsman home? With a great attention to detail. There is no addition to this home—just a remodel of almost every square inch of its interior and exterior. The footprint is to remain the same, the roof is to remain, and door and window locations are to remain mostly the same. What will change, however, will be the overall character and composition of the house. A new overbuilt front-to-back gable roof helps center the house, squaring it up. The arbor columns, the multiple 8x8 columns on the front porch, and even the vertical grids in the new sash windows, all help to balance the horizontal lines of the Ranch style with their vertical emphasis. Simultaneously, the flared stone bases of the columns and the heavy timbered front entry bring a sense of rootedness and stability to the composition, so that the structure might feel, in its vertical ‘lift’, like an organic outgrowth from the soil—of and from the landscape.

On the interior: some walls are removed or relocated: the kitchen is enlarged substantially, the dining room is opened to the family room and kitchen, and approximately 180 linear feet of Craftsman-style built-ins are to cover most walls (see interior elevation pdfs). Large skylights are to open up the main rooms to natural light. Doors, windows, and room entries are aligned for a sense of composition and balance, as well as to maximize natural light access to all spaces.

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