A Year of Careful Study Leads to a Thoughtful Renovation of a 1949 Eichler
Sitting on spacious lots just walking distance from Menlo Park’s downtown area is a trio of architecturally modest tract homes—one of which is the residence at hand. Joseph Eichler worked with a draftsman to build them in 1949, before he hired architects Robert Anshen and A. Quincy Jones to design his recognizable homes of the 1950s. After living in it for a year, a family with two young children decided they needed more space and some modern day upgrades.
They ended up hiring Serrao Design/Architecture to give it the TLC it needed. Jay and Melissa embarked on a year of careful study, where they came up with six or seven possible designs for the home, ranging from a renovation to new construction. Jay explains that this study "brought to the forefront a greater appreciation of the house. Since the family liked the way it sat on the property—which is just over 10,000 square feet—we pursued a design that pushed upward and a little bit in a couple directions. We maintained the general location of entry and the focus toward the backyard."
By maintaining as much of the original house as possible while strategically expanding, they managed to find a happy medium with a modern language that’s compatible with—and inspired by—the original. Additionally, after they deconstructed the house, they dismantled and donated the unused pieces to Habitat for Humanity. Jay explains, "We hate throwing materials into the landfill, so we recycle what we don't use. In some way, a renovation like this is the most green type of building. Though we try to retain all the materials of value that we can use on the project, we give away the rest so that they can be used for a worthy cause."