A New Spin on the Suburbs in Marin

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By Dwell / Published by Dwell
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Not your average cookie-cutter home.

Quiet, friendly, safe—suburbia wouldn’t be such a bad place to live if it weren’t filled with lifeless suburban homes. Just south of San Rafael, California, in leafy Larkspur, John Lum Architecture and Mansfield + O’Neil Interior Design found a set of clients who had fallen head over heels for a wooded hillside plot, but loathed the cramped three-bedroom house that sat on it. 

Sliding glass doors connect this renovated home in Marin County to a rear terrace and kidney-shaped pool. The sectional sofa is custom by Mansfield + O’Neil Interior Design. 

Sliding glass doors connect this renovated home in Marin County to a rear terrace and kidney-shaped pool. The sectional sofa is custom by Mansfield + O’Neil Interior Design. 

Together, they embarked on a complete remodel to make the space lighter and more fluid. Interior partitions were demolished to create an efficient floor plan. A linear skylight now follows the path of an original hallway, bisecting the home with a band of daylight. The sense of airiness is enhanced by crisp white paint, simple furniture, and earth-toned textiles, artworks, and objects.

The home’s three bedrooms remained in their original places. 

The home’s three bedrooms remained in their original places. 

The result is an unexpectedly modern gem that can embrace all the natural wonder suburbia has to offer through a wall of windows angled toward the street. 

A painted wood wall marks the boundary between the home’s public and private wings. Linear skylights bathe the open-plan communal area in light. 

A painted wood wall marks the boundary between the home’s public and private wings. Linear skylights bathe the open-plan communal area in light. 


The home includes an eat-in kitchen as well as a distinct, sunken dining area.

The home includes an eat-in kitchen as well as a distinct, sunken dining area.