Sogno Design Group

Sogno Design Group
Berkeley, CA
Remodel: 2016

Photographer: Sean-Paul Luchin

A smart remodel of a 1923 Berkeley one-story home resulted in a light-filled, spacious multi-generational home. A technically challenging solution included moving the home twelve inches before adding a second story, which was set back from the original first floor to meet local requirements. By stepping back the second story, the house relates to the adjacent homes and breaks up the massing to an attractive, residential scale. The clients chose to create a second-floor balcony on the roof of the original house, which is a fun “hangout” for children to play and do homework.

Light is a theme throughout this home. Placement of windows in unlikely areas such as the stairway landing and in the kitchen back splash is proof of a well-designed solution. And, the kitchen and living room have full sightlines to the backyard via floor-to-ceiling glass doors. Attractive touches such as the kitchen back splash tile (Cement Tile Shop) and the new Redwood cladding on the exterior add color and vibrancy.

High ceilings and doors allow rooms to be expansive; one would not guess that this is a home to seven people—children to grandparents. The first floor includes a completely “barrier free” accessible bedroom and bathroom, while master and childrens’ bedrooms are on the second floor. Clever dual use of spaces, such as the upstairs hallway that doubles as a play area, allow for a laudable “Bay Area footprint”: it’s high-density living that feels grand!

Look for….

  1. the tall ceilings (9′-10″ main, 9′ upper level) and 8′ tall doors, which give the house an expansive feeling despite the small footprint.
  2. the simple, gracious stairway that gives a grand feeling to the small entry & the upper level landing with a corner window wall
  3. the new balcony on the second floor in the front of the house use to be the roof of the original single story home. The kids use the balcony as an extension of their play area and do their homework here.
  4. creative design uses durable, moderately priced finish materials in such a way as to make each room feel distinctive and unique.
  5. the universal design of lower level bathroom, bedroom and open living area/deck