Built-In Style

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photos by:
May 13, 2009
Originally published in Think Smaller

In Oakland, California, two designers transformed a 100-year-old barn into a (very) cozy home of their own by redefining the functionality of walls and windowsills.

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  Even in the Stonorovs’ tiny first-floor room, the curse of the kitchen as the inevitable gathering place lives on—–though the two-foot space between the sink and metal island is less than ideal for the family of three and their blue heeler, Oscar.
    Even in the Stonorovs’ tiny first-floor room, the curse of the kitchen as the inevitable gathering place lives on—–though the two-foot space between the sink and metal island is less than ideal for the family of three and their blue heeler, Oscar.
  • 
  Outside, the couple clad the house with a rain screen of 1.5-by-1.5-inch strips of spruce to create a “modern rustic barn.” The extra-deep sills of the first-floor window become a bench on the outside and a shelf on the inside.
    Outside, the couple clad the house with a rain screen of 1.5-by-1.5-inch strips of spruce to create a “modern rustic barn.” The extra-deep sills of the first-floor window become a bench on the outside and a shelf on the inside.
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  Self-proclaimed perfectionists Tolya and Otto “obsessed about making everything” themselves—–from the windows down to the beds.
    Self-proclaimed perfectionists Tolya and Otto “obsessed about making everything” themselves—–from the windows down to the beds.
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  Using simple and easy-to-maintain materials in innovative ways was a guiding principle in the Stonorovs’ design. The bathroom walls are made out of HardiePanel vertical siding, which they also used to clad two of the exterior walls.
    Using simple and easy-to-maintain materials in innovative ways was a guiding principle in the Stonorovs’ design. The bathroom walls are made out of HardiePanel vertical siding, which they also used to clad two of the exterior walls.
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  Tolya and Otto's handiwork, such as the cabinetry in the master bedroom, helps keep the lines of the house clean and the rooms tidy.
    Tolya and Otto's handiwork, such as the cabinetry in the master bedroom, helps keep the lines of the house clean and the rooms tidy.
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  The Stonorovs couldn’t find a crib they liked and that fit their budget, so Tolya 
custom-made Niko’s sleeper out of walnut plywood and 3form plastic circles laser-cut by East Bay Laser & Waterjet. Otto made the sliding changing table out of solid walnut. Worried that their dog, Oscar, was feeling neglected, he built a Japanese-style water and food dish for him.
    The Stonorovs couldn’t find a crib they liked and that fit their budget, so Tolya custom-made Niko’s sleeper out of walnut plywood and 3form plastic circles laser-cut by East Bay Laser & Waterjet. Otto made the sliding changing table out of solid walnut. Worried that their dog, Oscar, was feeling neglected, he built a Japanese-style water and food dish for him.
  • 
  The kitchen island—–an equipment stand purchased from online restaurant supplier Serv-U—–is essential in providing much-needed counter space. The bottom shelf creates additional storage and the outlets mounted underneath allow it to become a coffee and toast center. Because it’s stainless steel, the family can put a hot pan right on the surface without worrying about trivets—–which are hard to keep handy in such a small place.
    The kitchen island—–an equipment stand purchased from online restaurant supplier Serv-U—–is essential in providing much-needed counter space. The bottom shelf creates additional storage and the outlets mounted underneath allow it to become a coffee and toast center. Because it’s stainless steel, the family can put a hot pan right on the surface without worrying about trivets—–which are hard to keep handy in such a small place.
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  The stairway features built-in shelving that's accessible from both sides.
    The stairway features built-in shelving that's accessible from both sides.
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