An Addition to a 1955 Modern Home Maximizes Views of the San Francisco Bay

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By Eleni Andris
A new master suite at the Teaberry Residence by Cary Bernstein Architect realizes the full potential of a site in Tiburon, California.

In 2012, a home with a water view wasn’t even on Chris and Laura Porter’s wishlist. The couple didn’t think they could find one within their budget in Marin County, California. So when a realtor showed them a 1955 modern house on a forested two-acre lot in Tiburon, facing the San Francisco Bay, they were sold. "It feels like you’re in Tahoe," says Chris of the site, which has easy access to sea kayaking and cycling loops.

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Chris and Laura Porter’s new master suite connects to the rest of the house via an indoor/outdoor bridge that comprises a covered deck and small library; Bonelli windows and Fleetwood sliders look out on a landscape designed by Christine Ferris. 

Chris and Laura Porter’s new master suite connects to the rest of the house via an indoor/outdoor bridge that comprises a covered deck and small library; Bonelli windows and Fleetwood sliders look out on a landscape designed by Christine Ferris. 

Several years later, the couple embarked on a master suite expansion to free up existing space for guests and take greater advantage of the site. Chris asked architect Cary Bernstein, who had redesigned his company’s office and who shared his affinity for Japanese design, to do the job.

In the bathroom, blue-gray Heath Ceramic tiles and Linen Brix tiles by Naoto Fukasawa line the shower. 

In the bathroom, blue-gray Heath Ceramic tiles and Linen Brix tiles by Naoto Fukasawa line the shower. 

The addition she created is elevated two feet higher than the main house, due to the site’s grade, yet relates with flat roofs, short overhangs, and dark-stained cedar siding. Bernstein tied the suite to nature with a covered deck that acts as a bridge between the old and new structures (and a perch where Laura likes to read when it rains), fossilized limestone around the fireplace, and nine-foot-tall windows for watching ferries and pelicans go by.

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"That the project feels of one piece, to me, is always the first marker of success." Cary Bernstein, architect

The result evokes a spa, luxurious but not decadent. "Before, we didn’t spend much time in the bedroom," says Chris. "Now," Laura says, "we linger in the mornings." 

MDO panels the color of California poppies accent the home’s exterior.  

MDO panels the color of California poppies accent the home’s exterior.  

Project Credits:

Architect: Cary Bernstein Architect 

General Contractor: Weitekamp Remodeling & Construction Inc. 

Structural Engineer: Strandberg Engineering 

Civil Engineer: ILS Associates Inc. 

Geotechnical Consultant: Herzog Geotechnical