Brunswick Californian

This bungalow had already seen one other major renovation before we were approached to improve the main living areas and bathrooms. The available budget precluded demolition of the previous extension, so our challenge was to reconfigure spaces within the existing shell while negotiating forms and finishes from three eras – the original early 20th-century construction, the late 20th-century addition, and the proposed alterations.

To increase the size of the main living space and reconnect the rear of the house with the front, the central wall was moved in line with the existing entry wall. This also allowed for the west bathroom to be turned into an ensuite, and brought a lot more light into the entrance hallway. A linen cupboard was snuck into the new wall, to be concealed with a built-in robe in the bedroom behind. The northeast corner was re-planned to provide separate bath and powder rooms without having either opening directly onto the dining area.

Old layout:
New layout:

The new kitchen was designed to increase bench and storage space while opening up to both the dining and living areas. Open shelving was placed at the ends of the long benches to prevent them from appearing too monolithic. We wanted to maintain the sense of rhythm and proportion in the space, and felt that two solid blocks would have appeared too heavy and opaque. A new pantry and refrigerator space, both sorely needed, were added while converting the southeast bedroom into a study.

Sitting at the end of, and in some ways in between two eras, we decided that restraint was called for in selecting new materials and finishes. We opted for simple geometric shapes and classic patterns to complement, and not compete, with the existing art deco features and the previous renovation. At the same time, details like custom-plated brass knobs were added to make the house feel just a bit more special, and imbue it with a stronger sense of place.

A fresh coat of paint was applied throughout the house to tie everything together.