Earlier than & After: A Storied Midcentury House Begins a New Chapter on Its seventieth Anniversary

Robert Swatt, principal at Swatt | Miers Architects, had lengthy saved a watchful, protecting eye on this midcentury property within the Northern California metropolis of Lafayette. “Having lived throughout the creek from the house for over 25 years, and having been buddies with the earlier homeowners, I had appreciated the structure for a very long time,” he says. “However I had issues {that a} new purchaser won’t have the identical appreciation—and would possibly even resolve to tear it down.”

The renovation didn’t change the construction of the house.

Though the property was practically 70 years previous when the venture began, it was in good situation.

The house was inbuilt 1952 by architect John Carl Warnecke—who was heralded by the Kennedys for his experience—and it was a time capsule that embodied one of the best of the period’s design sensibilities. Set on 1.5 acres of bucolic land, and spanning 4,500 sq. ft, the construction is formed like a U to softly encompass a yard, whereas additionally upholding the clear strains and sharp angles of the midcentury-modern aesthetic.

Earlier than: Dwelling Room

The unique residing house retained the copper hearth that Warnecke inbuilt 1952.

After: Dwelling Room

“We needed to honor the prevailing constructing by revealing all the uncovered structural components, and lots of the authentic finishes,” Swatt says. 

The couple employed a Bay Space furnishings designer to create a customized leather-based couch.

Happily, all of it labored out for one of the best. The household of 4 who purchased the property—a dad who works within the tech trade, and a mother who has a gross sales and advertising background, plus their two younger youngsters—hit it off with Swatt shortly.

“It’s virtually as if the house smiled upon itself, with the U form and wall-to-wall home windows wrapping across the patio,” the house owner says. “There was a lot mild, and alternatives to view nature from virtually anyplace in the home.”

Earlier than: Kitchen

The present kitchen had been up to date, nevertheless it didn’t match the old-is-new aesthetic the householders desired.

After: Kitchen

“The kitchen is seamlessly built-in into the residing house, and is very useful with out an excessive amount of glamour,” the house owner says. 

Customized walnut cupboard fronts oppose black ones surrounding the vary.

And but, a portion of that magnificence was obscured by the house’s run-down state. The home windows have been greater than a half-century previous, and so they regarded out to a jungle of uncared for fig, lemon, and blood orange timber. Whereas the house had an open flooring plan, a few of that flooring had three layers of historical past caked on high of it. 

“However, total, the home was in glorious structural situation, making it an ideal goal for a delicate modernization in step with the unique character,” the house owner says—and so they reached out to Swatt to tackle the venture.

Earlier than: Lavatory

The present lavatory had house, however no fashion. 

After: Lavatory

Swatt and the homeowners introduced some decidedly of-the-moment fashion to the first lavatory, whereas nonetheless tying it to midcentury sensibilities. The house options Kohler fixtures and Clé flooring tiles.

“As a working towards architect, I design properties all through the area and past,” Swatt says. “Why would my group and I resolve to get entangled on this comparatively small venture subsequent door? There are a few good causes: First, the homeowners and I all share an appreciation of the unique residence. And secondly, we’ve change into good buddies and revel in hanging out collectively—together with taking part in in a storage band!”

The eating space showcases the beams and glass that drew the homeowners to this residence. An article desk sits beneath a Luceplan lamp by Girl Costanza.

The homeowners took it upon themselves to study as a lot as attainable about Warnecke and the property because the renovation began in 2019. With the unique plans in hand, they collaborated with Swatt on an replace that balanced modern components with the house’s enduring qualities. 

“We needed to make use of period-compatible supplies, a easy shade palette, and delicate accents to deliver out the previous glory, with a genuinely fashionable spin,” the house owner says. The homeowners have been on the lookout for it to be “mild, cozy, and minimalist,” with just a few “surprises and delights.” 

The first bed room nonetheless has its authentic, two-sided copper hearth. A Veneto chair by BoConcept sits close to a Fleetwood slider.

Swatt | Miers Architects saved as a lot of the prevailing construction as attainable, together with the areas the place glass was positioned, the 2 copper fireplaces, and many of the partitions. The design group shifted the property’s authentic six bedrooms into 4 to create space for a mudroom and a walk-in closet, and put in pure supplies like white oak and walnut to guide effortlessly to the newly manicured oasis outdoors.

“The place acceptable, we put in new finishes—some with patterns—however the brand new supplies felt proper at residence inside the midcentury structure,” Swatt notes.

The yard space incorporates a pool and a one-bedroom cottage that have been additionally renovated. On this space, Bolinas furnishings by Terra surrounds a firepit.

When it comes to know-how, although, the homeowners and Swatt agreed that the house needs to be completely modernized—notably in regard to power effectivity and residential automation.A photo voltaic system supplies sufficient energy to take the residence off the grid, and it now has radiant heating, sustainable insulation, and a central safety system.

The renovation preserved the house’s low-slung profile whereas changing all the home windows and doorways for higher insulation and power effectivity. 

The group didn’t run into any points throughout development, regardless of being ready for any shifts, and so they’re grateful for the work that was accomplished previously to make the method simpler. The whole renovation wrapped up earlier this spring, alongside the house’s seventieth anniversary. “I felt so relieved after I met our new neighbors,” Swatt says. “They love the house, and so they have been prepared to protect it.”

Flooring Plan of Lieber Home by Swatt | Miers Architects

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