A mahogany banister and a marble mantle and fireplace were unearthed from under layers and layers (and layers) of paint and gunk in the last weeks at our new house. I am so thrilled that these materials will see the light of day again. Thanks to Builtform Construction and Zack | de Vito for all of the amazing work.
Our landscape design work is featured on the new website for Burbank Ranch. Check it out and buy some amazing wines while you browse!
In 2009 Nicole Kelly and I worked with Fred and Melody to create a landscape around the main house at Burbank Ranch as well as their agricultural manager’s residence. We were inspired and impressed by their love of the regional agricultural landscape, and sought to create spaces that reflected that love and interest.
Our design and permitting process is finally done, and now work has begun in earnest at our new (very old) house. While the design moves strive to simplify, the work we are doing is substantial and will be completely transformative.
Most of the change is happening on the back of the house. An old laundry porch (that looked like it was built by drunken prospectors) is being removed, and the random, unaligned aluminum windows are being replaced by wood framed windows.
The existing conditions look a bit like this:
And the proposed elevation:
Above drawings are by Zack | de Vito Architecture & Construction.
Third Nature Studio is happy to announce we were featured in an ideabook on the home page of Houzz about the cooling visual effect of blue plants in the landscape. Check it out.
The project featured was a Los Altos garden in a hot, sunny location. The plant palette suggests lushness with rich greens and blues, but does not include any lawn.
It’s not impossible to have an iconic green carpet of grass in California and save a little water. It is really astounding how much water goes into maintaining residential lawns, and there are so many refreshing twists on that old tradition to try.
The images below are from projects I’ve worked on around the Bay Area, a no mow fescue grass at Cavallo Point, myoporum groundcover in Los Altos, and Carex pansa at a residence in San Louis Obispo County.
Another possibility with a traditional turf grass lawn is to give it a clean edge – a metal header, a dg pathway or even a concrete mowband to define a smaller lawn space and make it look a little more refined at the same time.
Clearly, I am no architect. These are rough existing floor plans of the house from memory, and a little help from Google Maps. Our biggest concern is getting more light into the back of the house. We may increase the size of some of the windows in the back, and remove some of the closets and porch that cover the South and East facades. Oh yeah, North is up.
Most houses in SF that we have seen in our year long hunt were staged and updated to the max. They looked like hotel lobbies frozen in time with bowls of perfect green apples on granite counters and coffee table books just so. Yeah, not so with our place. The as-is state helped us see potential, imagine crafting something that suited us well, and it probably kept most of the sane people away too.
So far the most revelatory part of this process, is learning the point of view of the client. I feel like it will help me grow as a design professional to understand first hand what it feels like to sit on the other side of the table and navigate the construction and renovation of my own home. If you have undergone similar projects, I would love to hear your experiences! Any and all advice is much appreciated. And yes, I realize it will take longer and cost more than we can ever imagine.
Its official, we are the new owners of an 1880′s fixer in the Mission District. A long process lies ahead, with minor changes and renovations in every room, and no doubt some surprises too. Still, as crazy as I am sure it will be, I am so very excited.
We continue our life as a family of three, soon to be four, in our little one bedroom apartment just a few blocks away. We have some time ahead to design, plan and permit, so nothing concrete is happening yet. In our quiet moments, we slowly build our pinboards and ideabooks, and dream about the rest of our lives in this beautiful house.