Fresno Avenue, Berkeley


Three aspects of design we strongly believe in are clear organization, utilization of natural light, and the dematerialization of barrier between interior and exterior environment. In this otherwise impeccable home, the kitchen- one of the project’s focal points- colluded with closets, laundry, and a powder room to sully all three. These spaces, located in the rear portion of the house, crashed into one another, confusing the paths, concealing a rear deck, and throttling natural light. The crowning issue was that once the deck was found, there was no way down to the yard, trapping inhabitants.


Kitchen (construction photo) photo: Sarrita Min

[NOTE: project is under construction at this posting]

A clear objective emerged from the existing conditions: eliminate obstructions between interior space and exterior space. The removal of the obstructions would allow for a clean organizational slate, introduction of natural light, and improved movement between indoors and out. The objective would be met by designing the back of the house to encourage movement between kitchen and deck, and by providing access to the yard from the deck.


Existing Plan- paths bottleneck through utility space, and lead to a deck with no exit

The kitchen was redesigned around a linear island that leads to large French doors at the deck. The island is flanked by laundry and a powder room on one side; kitchen space on the other. Access to the deck is seamless for those using the kitchen or those simply passing by. An interior path to the deck has opened up; a stair now connects the deck with the yard. 


The new design work allows for more pleasant, lively access to the deck, and access to the yard from the deck

A garage was designed for future construction to house a car and to work as a covered area for social gatherings when needed. The slide-away garage wall faces the new deck stair, allowing for casual, but directed meandering.  


Master Suite Entry (construction photo)

Upstairs, an existing bedroom and adjacent sunroom were rebuilt as a master suite. The bedroom was transformed into a master bath and walk-through closet. The walk-through closet also serves as a vertically spacious, light-filled entry to the bedroom (former sunroom). The sunroom was made more bedroom-like by replacing the rickety aluminum windows with operable wood-frame insulated glass windows. To provide additional comfort, the new bedroom captured space from the adjacent, oddly-shaped existing upstairs bathroom. Consequently, the kids’/guest bathroom became neater and more efficient.


Master Bathroom shower tiling (construction photo)


Master Bathroom (construction photo) photo: Sarrita Min

Project Engineer: Joe Igber, SEDR Consulting
General Contractor: Nick Silberman/Bill Meredith, Carlen Construction


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