Larkspur Residence 1 - Structural / Architectural
MARIN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
TYPE: Whole House Renovation
ARCHITECTURE: Hyndman Studio
INTERIOR DESIGN: Hyndman Studio
Hyndman Studio’s brief for this Larkspur home was to improve the layout and flow of the home, to increase the size of the living area and garage, to improve the street-view aesthetics with architectural improvements that correct for some unfortunate previous modifications, and to upgrade the home to include modern conveniences and luxuries. A 30” house lift was required to raise the ceiling heights in the garage and the middle level to 8-feet. Significant excavations were required to allow for expansions to the two new lower levels. An interior stairwell was added, joining all three floors for the first time.
The house was originally a single-floor, 1910s vacation cottage on a hillside with only an extremely small garage at street level and an open porch at the front. Over the decades, many modifications had been performed, including a patchwork of tiny rooms with low ceilings that had been squeezed into the crawl space below the house. The outdoor porch at the front elevation was, at some point, enclosed by installing windows between the original pillars supporting the roof.
In order to raise the house and re-build the structures below the original upper floor, it was necessary to install 60-foot-long steel beams that would support the upper floor during early phases of construction.
With the upper floor supported by the steel beams, all structures below were demolished and the upper level was lifted 30”.
Once the upper floor was safely arrested, work could proceed beneath. “By planning a generous 4-car garage below the house and extending back into the hillside, we minimized the impact on the neighborhood by adding no additional bulk or massing to the structure” explains Principal Designer, Ruth Hyndman.
“We transformed this home from a very structurally unsafe home with end-of-life foundations, to a home built on a very substantial, earthquake-ready concrete sub-structure of retaining foundations and concrete-to-framing connections, as well as sheer walls wherever possible.”
The lower two floors are characterized by large, open-plan spaces that are atypical for period homes. This called for some advanced engineering in the floor diaphragms to facilitate the larger spans and therefore allow for the large, open rooms below.
“The pre-renovation street-view elevation of the house was highly compromised, architecturally and aesthetically. Little design consideration had been employed during the installation of the single-paned windows across the full width of the front porch at the upper level, and additional windows had been added at the middle level in response to new room additions, but with no consideration to how they would impact the view of the house from the street aesthetically.” “Our job was to bring a sense of proportion, balance and symmetry to the street-view elevation and, in the case of the upper level, to imagine what window style and configuration the original architect would likely have designed, had the front porch been enclosed in the original”
Three triplets of windows span the street-view elevation of the front porch. Each set contains a very large picture window flanked by two multi-lite double hung windows. The multi-lite pattern is taken from the original architectural detailing of the house.
Hydronic floor heating was installed throughout the home.
All new interior trim and paneling was meticulously matched to and, in some cases, painstaking blended with the originals.
New white oak floors throughout match those of the original home.
Exposed front foundations were finished with a detailed stucco layer to replicate those of the original home.