Text by Blaine Architects
This is the personal residence of architects, Megan and Keith Blaine, Principal Architects at Blaine Architects.
When they purchased the home in 2015, it needed a lot of work.
There was a lot of deferred maintenance and some insensitive fixes for previous issues, such as a large rear yard trellis dividing the full-height glass in the living room, an Italianate kitchen remodel, and ugly radiant baseboards because the radiant floor heating had stopped working decades ago, and “realtor beige” carpet throughout the entire house.
But the house had good bones and the architects could see that. The floor plan was an incredibly space efficient 1000sf with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom.
The simple sloping roof floats above the bedroom wings of the home, with clerestory glass between both two masses. This glass brings natural light down into the space below, but the home still felt dark.
So the architects started by removing the trellis that divided the floor to ceiling glass facing the backyard, which opened up the living spaces to the yard and provided much needed morning daylight.
Unfortunately, a windstorm hit the building in 2018, and moved the roof over several inches, creating large gaps between the posts and the windows.
The architects took off the glass and installed shear wall panels between the posts, with deeper foundations and stronger foundation connections between the walls, posts, and roofs.
To match the existing details of Eichler homes in the neighborhood, around the glass, hidden steel moment frames were installed between each of the pieces of glass in the areas of damage, and then concealed with wood trim to match the original detailing.
This fixed the damage from the windstorm and made the building much stronger for future earthquakes.
Next, they removed the hydronic baseboard heating and installed a brand new hydronic floor heating system with energy efficient hot water heater / boiler combined unit.
Once the radiant floors had been installed, the realtor beige carpet was replaced with like-original VCT floor tile by Armstrong in warm white, which reflected a lot of the natural light back up onto the ceilings and brightened the entire home.
The home came with all-original Lauan mahogany wall panels from 1949.
The house was completely uninsulated, so the owners gently pulled the Lauan panels off the walls, insulated and upgraded the electrical, then refinished the mahogany with danish oil before re-installing.
They respected the original floor plan, even though it was tempting to expand the kitchen. The kitchen wood was restored and a simple grey countertop installed with black fixtures that make the wood pop.
Little did the architects know, when moving to this neighborhood of 125 Eichler homes called the Morepark Eichler tract, that would go on to launch their own architecture practice when their neighbors started asking them for help to expand their own homes.
Today BLAINE architects + Marshall Interiors has worked on and expanded dozens of Eichler homes in the bay area, and have become local experts on their design and construction.
Photos by Jean Bai