Montclair District, Oakland, California

Intentions: A family of four on a tight budget in the Montclair District of Oakland approached 3 Lights Design wanting to convert their 2 bedroom, single story home into a more spacious, inviting, light-filled home with an in-law unit for their visiting families. The husband valued privacy while the wife valued a more open-door policy.The original structure consisted of a single story with a flat roof, soaring eaves, and horizontal wood siding. The lot was quite narrow along the sides but spacious in the back, including two prominent Monterey pines and a beautiful terraced hillslope.

Functional Results: Mixing the two values of the husband and the wife, and keeping the client’s budget in mind, we created an open, transparent first floor and a more private second floor, both floors anchored around a central stair well with 4 skylights overhead, the skylights themselves bringing welcomed light into the second story hallways and the 1st floor kitchen and study area below.  The new second story became a master bedroom/bathroom/ home office suite, two bedrooms for the kids, a second bathroom. The in-law unit was placed over the existing garage, adding value to the home as well as their ability to invite visitors into their home with ease.

Aesthetic Results: The aesthetics of the Abiding Light project were driven by three principle factors: function, economy, and natural light. Instead of adding unnecessary design elements, we concentrated on improving what was already there and creating a stronger connection between the interior and the beautiful gardens surrounding the house. The roof was divided into three hierarchical levels: the lowest above the in-law unit, the middle roof over most of the second story, and the highest marking out the staircase/light well. Balconies off the master bedroom, in-law unit, and on the south side off the hallway break up the massing of the building. We placed metal reveals (joints) strategically in the stucco siding to further break up the massing.

The project was such a success that the clients have recommended us to three clients already. Even more telling of the spirit of co-creation that 3 Lights Design emphasizes, the contractor for the project has asked us to redesign his beautiful Victorian home in Oakland, a project that should be completed sometime in last 2017 or 2018.

In the News: Abiding Light Featured on Houzz

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