The owner wanted to bring the property’s lush outside surroundings into the grand space, so a 12-foot-wide and 6-foot, 9-inch-high glass wall of four-panel anodized aluminum bifolding doors open the room to nature. A new residential storefront window went in adjacent to the folding wall to further bring in additional daylighting, and a new 2 1/4-inch-thick oak door was added that leads to the terrace.
“The owner’s interior emphasis was on materials rather than décor, and the grand room’s design became a recipe of light colors, simplicity of lines and openness,” Warner says. Planks of 5 1/2-inch-wide tongue-and-groove white oak flooring brighten the space. Because clear matte finishes actually give white oak a darker appearance, a small amount of white pigment was added to mimic the color of unfinished white oak.
The architects wanted to limit the visual distractions of a typical kitchen and create a coherent theme for the overall space. They reduced the amount of upper cupboards and put in flush-faced white oak cabinets to create clean lines. Open shelves with subdued lighting tie the kitchen to the rest of the grand room.
Appliances were retained and readapted. The refrigerator’s front was replaced with Douglas fir laminate. Above the existing stove, the crew boxed in the exhaust hood and drywalled around it, tapering it in by 4 inches on either side to give it a contemporary look and make it visually recede. An L-shaped island directed inward to the kitchen partially blocks the view of the stove, dishwasher and cabinets from the living room. A new sink and new fixtures were added, as well as white granite countertops.
The team refaced two existing fireplaces at either end of the grand room in dark gray stucco. Each fireplace also has a section of “floating” shelves mounted without brackets standing 1/2-inch away from the wall. To achieve the effect, the crew drilled lag bolts through the drywall into the studs and cut the heads off the bolts so the ends stuck out of the wall like pins. Then they drilled holes into the back of each shelf to align with the bolts and added epoxy to secure them in place.
Overhead, old skylights were replaced with low-E insulated glass. The roof rafters and tongue-and-groove decking were painted white.
The track-lighting treatment completed the room’s clean appearance. Allen Associates routed a groove into the rafter and set the track inside. “The cuttings had to be precise, so we made templates from the track and overlaid them directly onto the rafters. We cut the grooves using a router with flush cutter right through our template. The process was so exact, we didn’t even need to caulk it. We just screwed it in,” Cervantes says.
Stair treads were replaced with white oak, and the window on the mid-level landing was doubled in size to look out on an exterior garden. The window on the upstairs landing was extended up to the roofline. Combined with the new grand room’s alteration, the effect achieved an open, light space throughout the home.
“Our combined work on the prior remodels gave the owner faith in what this team could accomplish,” says Mark Billy, principal of Billy + Warner. “By establishing a solid design and construction team early on, you work in concert instead of creating a competitive environment and get better results.”