Artist Remodel

Artist Remodel_Ext_web

Artist Remodel
Built: 1948
Renovation: 2014
Architect: Kurt Lavenson, AIA
Photographers: Open Homes Photography


This hillside home in Piedmont looks like a one story house from the street, but is actually three stories tall. In a jurisdiction known for rigorous design review, architect Kurt Lavenson, AIA presented a thoughtful and thorough scheme to change the top story and transform the style of the whole house from traditional to modern. It passed the planning commission unanimously. The smooth process was unusual for such a dramatic change to an existing home in an established neighborhood.

The architect enlarged the home with higher ceilings, larger windows and a small addition. All sloped roofs and attics were eliminated and replaced by a series of stacked and overlapping modern flat roofs. This made the house taller on the inside and shorter on the outside, which helped earn design review cooperation from the neighbors. Walls and windows were extended upward to gain ceiling height and to allow additional clerestory windows that direct natural light deep into the interior. Exterior transformations included removing wood windows, doors and siding and replacing them with aluminum and stucco.

Interior rooms were merged and circulation was realigned on the top floor to create a single level that accommodates most daily activities for the empty nester couple. The lower floor bedrooms are now primarily for guests and an office for the husband. The remodeled space also functions as a gallery and studio for the wife, who is an artist. Her canvasses hang on the broad white walls lending delight and bold beauty to the spaces. In the kitchen, orange glass cabinetry provides a similar artistic touch.

The owner, who had experienced several remodeling projects, wanted to be deeply involved and to guide the process during construction. So the architect stepped back, understanding his client’s need to create his own home and establish his own relationship with the builders, who deftly handled many of the construction phase design decisions. The collaborations worked seamlessly to get the owner the home he envisioned.

Previous work on the home included a view deck added in 2001 and a hardscape entry courtyard completed in 2006. The current remodel dovetails the house into both of these outdoor spaces, creating a cohesive home that feels brand new.