Ranft Residence, Crockett, CA
Stacy Eisenmann Architecture
A Crockett-living couple approached me with a dilemma. Their house contained a staircase that divided the floors uncomfortably, leaving narrow access on both levels. Progression through the house was lacking as each floor organized towards bare functionality. The clients hoped to uncover potential in their home, but could it be accomplished within the existing envelope or would an addition be necessary?
A kitchen remodel became the catalyst to find the answer. We set out to recreate the circulation from the first floor entry to the second floor kitchen, reorganizing the spaces between. Preliminary design studies found that the addition, while adding desirable square footage, was not essential or cost effective. The stair was paired down to its leanest form and located to best serve the program.
Through careful study we discovered the underlying character of the house. Moments were found that could be embraced, such as the gentle point on one wall we nicknamed the prow. The clients struggled to locate furniture there and had initially thought to flatten the wall surface. The prow became an asset to the space by exposing the column at its point and weaving it into a continuous line of millwork.
The clients, both employed at a creatively saturated animation studio, focused on differing aspects of the design. The sculptor husband was drawn to a spatial steel stair concept, and the home-chef wife focused on kitchen pragmatics. Our challenge became to meet their individual needs while developing a material palette responding to their creative natures.
Rustic elements found throughout the existing home were pushed further and blended with an updated minimal language for contrast. With interior walls removed, the size of the open space allowed for the wide variation found in hickory flooring. To minimize glare from the abundant amount of light and contribute to the overall palette, lower sheetrock ceilings were replaced with vaulted white-washed cedar decking. Walnut millwork & railings pull forward darker tones within the hickory floor while avocado green cabinetry brings in the necessary punch of color to offset the wood tones. Copper and cold-rolled steel add complementary finishing elements.
Photographer: Mark Luthringer
General Contractor: Lewis Custom Building