Sebastopol, California

The original residence was a 2480 SF ranch style house built in 1977 with small subdivided rooms and a dark 3 ft. wide central hallway. At the northwest end was a spacious living area with high ceilings, but divided into two dysfunctional halves by an oversized cultured stone fireplace. The rest of the interior had 8 ft. ceilings beneath standard prefabricated trusses. The house was an unfortunate hodgepodge of window shapes, T-111, cultured stone, and imitation terracotta roofing tile.

The primary remodeling objectives of this complete makeover were to better define the entry, integrate the building with its surroundings, and free up the interior spaces that were so awkwardly formed by the central hallway and behemoth fireplace.

The house is given a new façade via a freestanding redwood screen wall with openings strategically located to provide privacy, frame views and create a well-defined entry. The existing cross gables are extended as trellises that shade outdoor patios off the living room and home office.

Inside, the fireplace and numerous walls near the entry are removed to accommodate a freestanding 14 ft. square sky lit kitchen. The kitchen is rotated 45° in plan, opened up on three sides to the surrounding spaces, and extended up through the existing roof. Perimeter light coming through a 7 ft. square pyramidal skylight is intercepted by truncated, perforated metal sheets that diffuse some of the light coming down into the kitchen and deflect the remainder into the adjoining spaces. There is no air-conditioning so summer heat is bled off via four passive ventilation chimneys that exhaust hot air from the kitchen, which now has the highest ceiling in the house. At the opposite end of the house a home office is similarly rotated 45° in plan, creating corner spaces for entry, library, sewing, computer work station and outdoor patio access.