An Indoor-Outdoor Renovation for a 1950s Ranch House in the Bay Area

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By Sarah Akkoush / Published by Dwell
This addition and renovation of a midcentury California ranch home is tied together with warm ipe wood.

In Menlo Park, California, a retired couple set out to add space and function to their cute but compact 1950s ranch home. Knowing the original house needed structural improvement, the owners were also motivated to create more living space in an easily accessible addition that would remain on one level. The pair, avid gardeners, also wanted a greater sense of connection to the outdoors. With these objectives in mind, they teamed up with Terry & Terry Architecture, who conceptualized an extension that was comprised of two "floating volumes" cohesively woven into the fabric of the existing home.

An Indoor-Outdoor Renovation for a 1950s Ranch House in the Bay Area - Photo 1 of 8 - The larger volume of the addition, consisting of kitchen, living, and dining spaces, loops around to the smaller bedroom through a wooden passage. The same ipe, with differing finishes, is used for both the interior and exterior. Expansive sliding glass doors by Fleetwood dramatically open up the living space to the outdoors.

The larger volume of the addition, consisting of kitchen, living, and dining spaces, loops around to the smaller bedroom through a wooden passage. The same ipe, with differing finishes, is used for both the interior and exterior. Expansive sliding glass doors by Fleetwood dramatically open up the living space to the outdoors.

An Indoor-Outdoor Renovation for a 1950s Ranch House in the Bay Area - Photo 2 of 8 - The two wings of the addition are connected by a central "void space." The glass walls visually draw the garden and greenery into the living space. Both East Coast transplants, the couple wanted to more easily take advantage of favorable gardening conditions in the mild Northern California climate. With this in mind, they used the renovation to bring the outdoors in, as well as encourage easy and direct exterior access for gardening.

The two wings of the addition are connected by a central "void space." The glass walls visually draw the garden and greenery into the living space. Both East Coast transplants, the couple wanted to more easily take advantage of favorable gardening conditions in the mild Northern California climate. With this in mind, they used the renovation to bring the outdoors in, as well as encourage easy and direct exterior access for gardening.

An Indoor-Outdoor Renovation for a 1950s Ranch House in the Bay Area - Photo 3 of 8 - A spacious deck was created as part of the addition. A cantilevered concrete bench stretches out to the rear garden and complements the adjacent concrete wall.

A spacious deck was created as part of the addition. A cantilevered concrete bench stretches out to the rear garden and complements the adjacent concrete wall.

An Indoor-Outdoor Renovation for a 1950s Ranch House in the Bay Area - Photo 4 of 8 - Accenting the warm wood tones, pops of cobalt blue are found throughout the home, including in the kitchen. The space, which anchors the new living wing, features custom lacquer finish cabinets, Caesarstone counters, a Bertazzoni range, a Miele dishwasher, a Kohler sink, and a custom stainless steel backsplash.

Accenting the warm wood tones, pops of cobalt blue are found throughout the home, including in the kitchen. The space, which anchors the new living wing, features custom lacquer finish cabinets, Caesarstone counters, a Bertazzoni range, a Miele dishwasher, a Kohler sink, and a custom stainless steel backsplash.

An Indoor-Outdoor Renovation for a 1950s Ranch House in the Bay Area - Photo 5 of 8 - The original home was preserved and renovated. In the front bedroom, a small window was replaced with a large painted-steel window seat, a favorite of the residents' grandchildren.

The original home was preserved and renovated. In the front bedroom, a small window was replaced with a large painted-steel window seat, a favorite of the residents' grandchildren.

An Indoor-Outdoor Renovation for a 1950s Ranch House in the Bay Area - Photo 6 of 8 - A custom skylight floods the bathroom with light. A tempered glass shower and Grohe faucet accent the space; custom glossy cabinetry with Hafele hardware again adds a pop of color.

A custom skylight floods the bathroom with light. A tempered glass shower and Grohe faucet accent the space; custom glossy cabinetry with Hafele hardware again adds a pop of color.

An Indoor-Outdoor Renovation for a 1950s Ranch House in the Bay Area - Photo 7 of 8 - "The most challenging part of the design was fusing the old part of the house with the new addition," says principal architect Alex Terry. The character and architectural integrity of the single-level 1950s ranch house was thoughtfully reconsidered during the addition and remodel. The home’s front porch, typical of period, was refreshed with ipe decking and railing.

"The most challenging part of the design was fusing the old part of the house with the new addition," says principal architect Alex Terry. The character and architectural integrity of the single-level 1950s ranch house was thoughtfully reconsidered during the addition and remodel. The home’s front porch, typical of period, was refreshed with ipe decking and railing.

An Indoor-Outdoor Renovation for a 1950s Ranch House in the Bay Area - Photo 8 of 8 - Open and inviting, the addition enables a fluid indoor-outdoor connection that didn’t exist before.

Open and inviting, the addition enables a fluid indoor-outdoor connection that didn’t exist before.

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