Property History and Client Goals

This 4,500 square-foot house was built in 1949, on an acre corner site blessed with redwood groves, poplar trees and the back-drop of Mount Tamalpais. It was originally sited and built in a 1950’s style, with a formal floor plan that had confusing functionality. The new owners commissioned me to remodel and transform their home into an elegant and relaxed atmosphere, emphasizing the property’s “small estate” potential. Of particular concern to them was the small size and location of the existing kitchen, which was located at the back of the house and was isolated from family and formal gatherings, and the tiny master bathroom that overlooked the entry porch.

Design Focus

I directed my attention to the reorganization and flow of the floor plan and to redesigning the style of the house away from the 1950’s, focusing on a transitional-shingle style. I explored and took advantage of opportunities to maximize the site’s natural beauty and views and to open the main rooms to the outdoors through terraces and into the gardens, while maintaining the privacy that a corner lot naturally lacks.


I added over 1,200 square feet and remodeled the house into an elegant, more usable and relaxed space, which maximizes the property’s small estate potential.

Small Estate Exterior

I enclosed the site within solid wood walls and stucco pillars, and I designed two robust auto gates that create a “drive-through” across the property’s entry garden. The spacious terraces enclosed by low stucco walls and metal railings add color and contrast with the shingled building, while the detailed columns, brackets, outriggers and chimneys add elegance to the house.

First Floor

I added a large foyer, family room, laundry-sewing room, exercise room and library. I centrally located the generous 21-by-26-foot kitchen between the existing dining room and the new family room, converting it into a focal-point for family gatherings. I further opened up the kitchen by exposing the backyard view of a lovely redwood grove, so that it pours in through large windows and glass doors. Terraces open up the spaces to outdoor seating and dining and offer an elevated view of the gardens.

Second Floor

The master bathroom addition and relocation serves multiple purposes: Using its original space, I transformed the foyer into a high-ceilinged, oval-shaped entrance hall where sprawling parquet floors open into the living and dining rooms through etched glass doors. I relocated and replaced the formerly insignificant bathroom with a much larger, serene, spa-like space with custom wood cabinets, his-and-her lavatories, marble countertops and a large oval tub. The transformation of the porch from two-stories to one provides an intimate, welcoming entrance to the house and a focal point as the car gate slides open into the property.

Front entry way to a high-end house in Saratoga