Make the most with the home you have. Modern renovations are one of the most popular design stories on Dwell. Renovation presents challenges, and smart design delivers solutions. Modern design and architecture allow old construction to meet new ideas and materials. Hire an architect or interior designer whenever possible, because professional training helps mitigate issues and yield truly beautiful spaces.

To allude to the nearby ocean, the architects designed a seaweed patterned for the interior of the garage door (seen here raised). It successfully reads like a leather padded wall and makes “the cube” feel that much more customized.
The clerestory windows were originally screens covered by sliding plywood panels that could be opened to allow in light and air.
The renovation focused on connecting a production facility and tasting room with the agricultural landscape.
All-vinyl siding on the original shell was replaced with natural plywood T1-11 cladding. The second story features engineered brushbox wood plank, as well as Batu decking for the railing and lanai (a sheltered, open-sided patio).
The original house was a single-story structure, not robust enough to carry a second floor. Fritz’s solution was to build an upper level that functions like a bridge, spanning the original structure without compromising it.
Fritz explains, “The primary inspiration was Dutch International Style design. The clients have roots in Holland and it started out looking more De Stijl than it does now, but ultimately, they wanted something that drew as much from their present in Hawaii as their past in Europe.”
Building Lab's renovation of the home used the kitchen as the hub around which the home's public spaces were organized. Photo by: Scott Hargis
Some of the brightest working architects in Southern California will be available to offer advice and encouragement, courtesy of Architecture for Humanity.

Photo by Mimi Teller Rosicky
Architect Robert Kahn will join us to discuss, among other projects, the Hill House in Palo Alto, California, a remodel of a 1960s "pole house" that has been made fully accessible through a series of subtle ramps and passageways.
This former horse stable in Marin County, which was built beside the old Northwest Pacific Railroad in the early 1900s, was used as a guesthouse and garage until recently, when its water pipes burst, resulting in significant damage. Architect Heidi Richardson then stepped in to repair and elevate the historic barn. Today, it is wrapped in recycled redwood, some of which was reclaimed from the original structure.
In 2013, Robert Sweet completed a historically sensitive renovation of the Rancho Palos Verdes structure, repairing the dilapidated perimeter wall and wrapping it in ipe wood siding. Inside, Sweet removed walls to improve internal circulation and to reveal views of the Pacific Ocean. “When completely open, the house becomes a pavilion, truly blurring the indoor-outdoor boundary that exemplifies California modern,” Sweet says.
Montecito Residence - Tom Kundig / Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects
The owners requested that the kitchen act as the center of the home so it was built at the rear of the property. “It allowed us to pop off the roof and add clerestory windows to bring in an abundance of sunlight and fresh air,” DiRocco said. The sink is by Blanco and the faucet is by Grohe.
“The client wished to more that double the size of the house,” Gurney said. “The goal was to provide the additional space as a series of smaller pavilions to allow the original historical house to be the most important part of the composition.” Steel swing doors by Hope’s Windows Inc. lead outside, and a custom standing seam metal roof slopes above the far end of the pool.
“The existing house was an important house in the heart of the historical district,” architect Robert Gurney said. To honor the property’s legacy, and fulfill the city’s requirements, the firm fully restored the exterior with cedar shingles.
To accommodate a second story, the ground-level had to be completely reconfigured in favor of a more open floor plan. A vintage 1930s Belgian desk acts as a versatile table for the downstairs.
The bathroom’s glass block partition is just one example of the extensive list of repurposed materials used for this project. The sinks are from IKEA and bathtub is from Home Depot.
A new entryway was created for the home; it’s situated across from a patio that leads to a new garage. Western red cedar with a clear finish unifies the exterior look of the property.
More than 60 percent of the original home was rebuilt, DiRocco said, and one of the main goals was to bring light into the home. Windsor Windows and Doors, clad in bronze on the exterior and fir in the interior, helped accomplish that mission.