Classical architecture has been called "frozen music" for it's harmony and order. This addition for a music executive's art-loving family is orchestrated to be quiet at the street, grow in energy with a curving, light-filled central stair, and crescendo at the rear, where dynamic curved walls sculpt indoor and outdoor rooms, and dance with the new garden, Bay views, and sky.
Unable to add any width due to the narrow lot, the new geometries, and connection to light and nature, transform it into a gracious and engaging home.
We came together with this client after they did online research of local architects, wanting a sensitive but unique take on how to transform their beloved Berkeley bungalow. As soon as we met we knew we shared the same sensibilities - to respect and improve the calm curb appeal of their home, while taking some creative chances behind the scenes.
The family's thoughtfully eclectic art collection, and extensive LP collection (the husband is a music executive) inspired a story of discovery. The street facade is all calm and classic bungalow, but stepping through the completely gutted and rebuilt interior unfolds a new story. The narrow constraints are broken through with a new full-width dining room and stair space. The curved stair becomes a record library, hugging a bench for sitting and browsing through the collection - a perfect spot for enjoying liner notes.
The stair's curving shape continues in the dining room's wood floor, hinting at what's to be discovered upstairs and in the rear addition.
The family loves to entertain, and husband and wife are passionate cooks. The old house never worked well for groups, but the flow from living to dining/stair to kitchen level-out deck let large groups gather, enjoy different conversations, but never get in the way of the kitchen action.
The rear facade is where it all lets loose. The curved rear walls feel gentle inside, and by not being boxy, feel more connected to the yard. But outside you realize that the swooping curves of building and the counterpoint of the the curved deck and balcony are dancing with each other in counterpoint. The metal railings and copper shingle siding are abstracted from the musical staff, adding another rhythm to where the building and redesigned yard come together.
Erick Mikiten, Rachael Koffman, Dewi Bleher - Mikiten Architecture
General Contractor and Cabinetry:
Chip Harley - Holland & Harley, Berkeley
Lisa Howard, Aurore Develay - Bay Tree Design, Berkeley