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Historic Hillcrest



Historic Hillcrest, a 2013 AIA East Bay Home Tours house
Original: 1912
Renovated:  2008
Architect: WA Design, David Stark Wilson, AIA and Chris Parlette, AIA
Photographer: WA Design

When it was time for an East Coast couple to return to the Bay Area, they looked long and hard for a large home to accommodate their growing family. They found a historic John Hudson Thomas designed house in Berkeley, albeit one that needed a significant remodel. To update the home, they turned to architect David Stark Wilson, AIA. His firm, WA Design, primarily does contemporary design, but the clients were old family friends. Their first question was, “Our goal is to do an addition that harmonizes with traditional work, can you do it?” After looking at the existing house, Wilson responded, “Absolutely!”

The project included adding a new family room and enlarging the kitchen on the main floor, plus an expansion of the master bathroom on the second floor. The changes were realized through a few deft architectural moves. A two-story addition along the north side of the building allows the kitchen and upstairs bath to expand, adds a large bay window to increase daylighting and still respects the neighbor’s proximity. It also extends westward into an oversized bay window that faces the San Francisco Bay, balancing the home’s rear façade.

This home demonstrates the ability of a talented architect to respond to historic conditions and blend them with a modern sense of space, light and proportion. Equally critical to the project’s success were the skillful ‘borrowing’ of materials and design motifs from the existing architecture, to integrate the new and remodeled spaces seamlessly. The original wood trim was refinished throughout, while cherry wood was selected for the new trim and cabinetry. The original architect’s four square detail, which is visible at the entry stairway, grew into a theme that now includes railings, cabinets, tile insets, kitchen hood, landscape details, and even the custom light fixtures. As a result, when you walk into the rejuvenated home it is difficult to discern what is original and what is new. Goal accomplished.

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