A bold addition by Klopf Architecture makes a conscious departure from the existing traditional home.
Fifteen miles outside of San Francisco, Tanja DiGrande and her husband, Sebastian, set out to add more livable space to their Orinda home for their active family of five. Tanja, a trained architect from Germany, had always been interested in exploring the contrast between old and new. The “old” in this case is the couple’s existing residence, a 1936 traditional New England–style home. Prior to moving to Orinda, the pair lived in an industrial loft, a history that informed the palette of steel, glass, and stone in the new addition. Tanja, who acted as co-designer for the project, says the new addition “was very deliberately designed to be from this time, without taking away [from] or overpowering the original house.”
The decidedly industrial exterior features smooth dark gray stucco, a custom steel mesh wall, and a metal spiral staircase leading from the ground floor to the roof deck. The clients love the industrial look because it feels raw and natural to them. The footprint of the new addition lies at the rear of the existing home, and the dark exterior helps seamlessly integrate the new structure into the natural slope of the land. According to architect John Klopf, the new addition acts as a spatial backdrop for the existing structure, “receding visually out of respect for the original home.”
Light and openness were of utmost importance to the clients during the design process. Frameless floor-to-ceiling Fleetwood windows were chosen to let light in and help exaggerate the visual difference between the old and new home. The final design has more window surface than walls, and the flood of light from multiple directions allows the house to be experienced very differently throughout the course of the day. The open living room features oak flooring, a Lazy Time sofa by Camerich, and Le Corbusier lounge chair.
A clean, white palette is favored for the interior of the home. This minimal, “gallery-like” approach allows “changing daylight, art, furniture, and people to provide the color and motion,” says Klopf. Tanja similarly favors an all-white backdrop, relying on seasonally changing accent pieces like pillows, vases, or personal items to bring warmth and texture to the space. The home office nook in the family room offers a flexible workspace, and is accented by white Series 7 Arne Jacobsen chairs
The guest bedroom also doubles as the primary homework area for the kids. Orange school chairs add a playful pop of color to the space. Large window openings bring in light and offer views of the lush surroundings.
Light floods the second floor master bedroom, and floor-to-ceiling windows are buffered by adjacent steel mesh wall. A Modloft Ludlow platform bed anchors the room, and Pablo Designs bedside table lamps delicately punctuate the minimal space.
A seamless extension of the bedroom, the master bathroom is an open-concept wet room. The bathtub and graphic sink are by Wet Style, and bath accessories are Keuco Edition 11.
The roof deck is a place for entertaining, and offers scenic hillside views. During the design process, the team was challenged with preserving these views while adhering to the required 3.5-foot railing height mandated by building code, a height that would block all views while seated. As a solution, the team came up with open metal railings that would maintain safety while preserving the view.
One of the clients’ original wishes was a dumbwaiter to the roof deck, to offset the difficulty of transporting food and drink three floors up a spiral staircase. When the dumbwaiter was ruled out due to a construction conflict on the lower levels, an external boom and crank was conceptualized as a functional solution for hassle-free entertaining.