A Traditional San Mateo House gets a Modern Open Family Together Space
We recently completed a renovation of a traditional 1950s house on the Peninsula. It had been added onto in pieces, and had a broken up layout from different families trying to make it their own over the years. This floor plan had all the typical spaces but their arrangement made for awkward living. The “L” shaped kitchen was cramped, the dining room was land locked an the living room was lovely place no one wanted to spend time in. There was no sense of family togetherness space. As a result the only two rooms this family of four spent any time in was the too small kitchen and a bedroom that had been converted into a family room located at the opposite end of the house. Our clients, who love to cook, wanted to remodel their kitchen and bring all the spaces together.
Our task was to re-work the plan to recover the space lost in this terrible floor plan. We started as we always do by identifying the positive plan components and enhancing them. In this case, the house had a logical entry / living / kitchen arrangement but the experience was compromised by too many doors and an overwrought circulation path. We opened this up first by re-working the entry with a reconfigured coat closet and skylight. By closing off the opening in the living room, the entry became its own filter space between outside and in. The entry provides a transitional flow into the open family area. We added a cabinet piece we called the “Key Drop” that was low enough not to get in the way between the living room and kitchen but still keep a separation and sense of entry transition space that was needed there and to stop bags, keys and phones.
The wall between the living room and dining room came down
and completely connected the spaces together. We also almost completely removed the wall between the kitchen and the dining room, removing a hallway and allowing the kitchen to face the open connected living spaces. The ceiling in the dining room was vaulted further adding to the open feel of the new spaces. We designed the dining table and credenza custom to fit the space and the clients’ specific needs for how many people they wanted to seat at their table.
Between the garage and kitchen there was an oversized laundry room. We could not resist capturing all this space and giving it to the kitchen where we created a smaller laundry space, a desk area and a pantry cabinet. We even had enough room to get big friendly island in there.
Heath ceramics was used for both kitchen backsplash and fireplace wall
We updated the existing traditional fireplace by tossing the mantlepiece and tiling the bottom third of the wall then capped it with a wall to wall blackened steel mantle. We centered a modest sized skylight on the fireplace to bath this focal point in natural light.
The proportions of the spaces worked, they just needed a hand to unify them and a client/architect team with a vision for what would make a series of broken up out of date spaces into a modern, functional, light filled family together space. We conclude by noting the process went smoothly thanks to healthy collaboration with our clients and contractors- John Spiers and Tim Rapley of Kizanis Cabinets. We thank them all!