The covid 19 Pandemic transformed the interior spaces for many Bay Area homes. Los Altos homes are mainly built in the 1950s with typical post-world war features and various renovations, standard to an American home with a family room, dining room, office, TV room, and bedrooms.
These multimillion-dollar properties are typically traditional in layout, with offices designed for occasional use, kids bedrooms with smaller multi-pane, double-hung wood sash windows, which were often replaced by sliding windows, only allowing for a limited amount of natural light. With the rise of covid cases and the lockdowns that followed, families were trapped in their homes month after month with offices that were not designed to host a full day of work day after day, and kids who stayed home with no specific date to return to school. Suddenly, the casual, stylish office was no longer sufficient, and the long dining tables were left empty for months. Blending indoor and outdoor and the need for multiple offices became ever more relevant to support the daily needs of professional couples.
The kids started using their game rooms and music rooms more often, and negotiation for space became a new norm.
Despite the many unknowns of the pandemic, many Bay Area families found it impossible to live in uninspiring, cluttered homes and started searching for architects and interior designers to add an ADU, renovate, and were desperate for even some essential interior design services. As a result, many residential architects and interior design firms kept busier than ever, and furniture companies saw spikes in sales.
The residence showcased here is one of the residences we renovated during this period.
Located in Los Altos, the structure was built in 1952 with a generic post-world war ii architectural language. We found the interior spaces outdated, with original details renovated in 90s and early 2000s, another typical feature of these homes. The client is a busy executive with very little time for renovations and a sophisticated taste, preferring clean lines and modern pieces.
The family is one who is well traveled with the kids engaged in music, culinary arts, and sports. The project had a tight budget to meet to get all the functions completed.
We designed a modern wooden door to replace the front entry in a fig, satin sheen finish with Tectus hinges, a smart system from Emtek, and the Carnegie door handles in a Satin Finish from KEY TIGER. Clear glass openings allow for plenty of natural light into the front entry.
The front entry is designed to receive the whole family and serves as an introduction to the rest of the house.
Carlos on the base at the entryway by Renato Zambarlan, is the perfect handshake between the residents and their guests. It captures the spirit of the residents through a playful engagement with the visitors as it changes color depending on the viewpoint creating the effect of a curtain that opens and closes. To its left wall sits a piece of art, reminiscing the Guggenheim Vase situated on the console table, with the Nattlight Candlesticks and Damejeanne Vases in varying heights from Skultuna. A mirror is centered to the console table, and fresh flowers are arranged in vases with care to bring joy and function to the daily flow of the client.
A bench and a painting are sitting on the adjacent wall, keeping the pallet on this wall neutral not to overwhelm the console table in its proximity while creating a space to serve as a mudroom for the kids as they transition in and out of the entry.
On the next wall is another neutral pallet of white, showcasing the Constellation Vase, Designed by Yael Malignac and Guillaume Descoings, and a large white layered painting made of plaster and white paint.
The client is a Jazz lover. The family members play various instruments and enjoy a clean sound quality in their space.
The M1, Record console by Wrensilva was the perfect piece for this space as it combines the highest audio performance demanded from a record player and the beauty of hand-selected Italian wood in its aesthetic. The vertical lines on its surface continue up through the Pierre Forsell candlesticks on the wall above it.
The strings of gold appear on the natural plants positioned to its left in a tall white vase to accentuate the pallet of rich wood, gold, black, red velvet, and white. A hand-carved, roman marble bowl coexists with the Time hourglass, Designed by HAY Design Team on the M1 console table to conclude the dialogue between the past and the present.
The Draenert, Atlas Extending Dining Table, DESIGNed by GEORG APPELTSHAUSER is the perfect piece for the dining room.
It’s modern lines, as well as the pure mechanism that goes into its seemless transition and extension into a 10-seat dining table met the aesthetic and functional needs of the space.
The table is framed by NOBILE SOFT Dining chairs, Designed by GINO CAROLLO, interwoven with the original color pallet of the dining room.
The Grace Chandelier, designed by Sean Lavin, with its weathered oak wood and round footprint, ties back to the palette and works with a few other pieces in the space to break free from a purely linear language throughout.
The wine cabinet in the back is a byproduct of the clients’ love affair with fine wine. We designed the wine cabinet using Shinnoki wood, in Manhattan Oak, for their aesthetic and commitment to sustainability.
Note: “They exclusively use green energy for the production of Shinnoki. One third of it comes from the solar panels on the roofs of our production hall. The rest is externally purchased green energy. They have also shown our commitment to sustainable energy production by participating in the “Grensland” wind farm in Menen. Both the MDF core and the top layer in real wood veneer are FSC® certified to guarantee responsible forestry.”
We used a Brushed Nickel Masella 18″ Appliance Pull, Centered on the Opening Height of the main door and the DP3 – 1-1/4″ TAB DRAWER PULLs from Mockett in Chrome.
Accents from Zaha Hadid Architects (Chrome Bowl), Guggenheim Vase, Square, Designed by 101 Copenhagen, Wine Carafes, and vases balance the client’s functional needs while harmoniously finding a place adjacent to one another.
The family spends lots of time in their TV room; it was important for them to host a nice size TV on the wall with no interruptions in its proximity, with plenty of storage space in the media console for various equipment.
They also wanted to keep their current sectional in the space even though it is on the larger end for the room’s dimensions.
The media console that was selected is black to stand in the background with clean horizontal lines and a very high-quality wood finish.
The space is balanced with a round table to allow for proper circulation around the larger sectional and linear side tables. Here the palette is made of black, grey, white and concrete with hints of earth tones and a large Ficus Ali plant to the left of the media console situated in an hourglass planter by Ferm Living.
The art walls were all created by Demirchelie. Showcased here is a piece from the studio’s Line Series occupying a wall between the dining room and the family room and bedrooms.
The Family Room is composed of modern and mid-century classics. The Plinth Side Tables, Designed by Norm Architects create a central focal point for the room, while they break free and can be placed on the sides to make room for the clients’ needs throughout the day.
The Arena Sofa by Dag Hjelle bears the background while it shares a wall with pieces from San Francisco photographer and architect Jon Mcneal.
The Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, by Charles and Ray Eames has become a piece where our clients find consolation between work meetings amid the pandemic.
The Bolla Glass Bottle in yellow and the Tolomeo Floor Lamp, by Michele De Lucchi, respond to the ceiling height and balance the room in addition to the bird of paradise to the left of the room.
The color palette ties back to the entire home, while black and white are the primary colors that work concurrently to transmit the essence of this room’s simplicity. The plinth tables receive sculptural pieces in contrasting colors to balance the eye rotation in the room and pose gracefully on the wool carpet beneath.
The original pillows were recycled, while covers were replaced with organic textile from LEONOEL and Tom Dixon.
Tom Dixon’s floor lamps, blanket throws, candle holders and various decorative elements bring life and sensuality to the spaces. All plants and flowers were arranged with the San Francisco Flower Mart and wholesale Flower shops established in San Francisco to support these businesses amid the pandemic.
Project Before Photos, Interior Condition
Location: Los Altos
Scope: Exterior & Interior Renovation, Interior Design
Year Phase 1-3: 2019-2021