Faced with the unique challenge of renovating the work of mid-century master, design principal Stephen Shoup of building Lab worked to replace austerity with intimacy. Adding fencing and windows, he softened this San Rafael, California, Eichler home, providing a sense of filtered connection between the home, its landscape, and its history.
It can't have been easy for design principal Stephen Shoup to consider altering a home built by developer Joseph Eichler. Spotting the California coast, many of Eichler's homes have been added to the National Register of Historic Places as landmark homes. But with mid-century modern half a century away, masterworks by developers including Eichler need restoration.
Operating with awareness of the ingenuity of the original floorplan, Shoup sought to maximize this San Rafael, California, home's simplicity and clarity. Beginning with the kitchen, Shoup and his team sought to maintain and augment the sense of connection between public spaces. Adding a window to the home's dining room provided a clear vision of the backyard to those standing in the home's open concept kitchen. To compensate for the exposure of the added glass, building Lab also added a five foot high slatted Eichler Breckenridge Thinline fence around the property.
Once open to the road, the home's new fencing brought a sense of closure and consolidation that allowed interior and exterior spaces to meld and contrast in complementary ways. The home's frontyard, once alienated from its structure, was beckoned into discreteness and folded into the home's floorplan as an atrium or a courtyard-style foyer to the main house. The fencing drew the home's inner spaces outwards, integrating the home's landscaping with the design scheme of its interior spaces.