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Project Profile: The Architects Office

Claiming nearly a full story inside an existing crawlspace gives an understated ranch new life on a challenging hillside site.       

The new owner of an understated ranch house in the Oakland hills wanted something more for their home so they brought on The Architects Office to help with their vision. The client wanted more windows for better Bay views; more bedrooms to fit the whole family; to expand the kitchen so that everyone could hang out together; and to create a backyard.

Settled into a downslope overlooking Montclair Village, a quaint, commercial/retail area nestled in the Oakland Hills, the existing home featured two bedrooms and one-and-a-half baths. The location of the home had phenomenal views of the San Francisco Bay but only 15% of the walls facing that view were glazed.

The Architects Office helped the new owner discover the existing structure was full of potential and a program was developed to take advantage of views, increase floor area within the existing building mass and transform the exterior. A new layout was designed to keep living spaces adjacent to the view sides of the house, which minimized the impacts of construction on the remaining shell. From a conceptual point, this home was designed with the notion that an open-plan layout of spaces adjacent to view walls makes the space (particularly public spaces) feel larger and more expansive.

An oversized crawlspace below the lower level was also found to be big enough to build new bedrooms, a full bathroom and a playroom.

The only problem left to solve was creating enough outdoor space to recreate in. Given the existing house’s relatively small footprint on the steep site, it took some brainstorming to decide that decks were the best solution. Each level features a new deck and the lower ones feature exterior, recessed lighting.  Even better, the decks are located on the view side of the home. At the ground level, earth was terraced to provide ample space for the owner’s dog to run around.

The project recently won a Bay Area Remodeling Award and was nominated for a National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Judges Choice Award.

General Contractor: Duchin Construction
Structural: John Bailey
Fire Sprinkler: Victory Fire Protection
Photographer: Treve Johnson, Allied Member

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