Modern Prairie style transforms a Silicon Valley 1960’s Ranch style home.
The re-creation of this typical rancher in Saratoga, California began with the homeowner’s clear and succinct vision. A professional team comprised of a Silicon Valley High Tech Executive and advocate for a National Non-Profit, our clients were on a focused path to achieve their dream home. Collecting and assembling the thoughts and ideas for a large scale remodel project can be so overwhelming and daunting that some just give up. Not these busy professionals. An emerging website at the time came to the rescue http://www.houzz.com/. Here our clients discovered the style Modern Prairie and built upon that as we planned the project. Not only did this site provide tools to capture and share their ideas our RemodelWest designers were able to streamline the decision making processes and even identify and source products. RemodelWest operates a design build business model with a key value, LISTEN TO THE CLIENT. Recognizing our clients have a vision we enjoy respecting that and helping them realize their new home. Combining a focused driven client with Remodel West’s design build business model made the project feel like a team collaborative effort ultimately achieving their vision.
A large percentage of Silicon Valley homes are relics of the 1960’s and 70’s semiconductor boom and the next generation of homeowners are interested in modernizing these California Ranchers. Located a hop skip and a jump to Apple Headquarters, Google and Facebook this twenty-five hundred square foot, four bedrooms; two and one-half bath home Saratoga, California home recently purchased from the original owner was ripe for a remodel.
Time to go to work
With a clear vision in mind the RemodelWest design team went to work on completing the architectural and interior design plans for the project. The homes original floor plan within the public area of the home includes five separate rooms creating a “compartmentalized” and isolated feeling. For a busy social family this was the antithesis to a quality of life they desired. The first task at hand was to create one large open space for the family to enjoy by combining the Entry, Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, Nook and Family Room. This is no easy task and involves more than just knocking out a few walls. In the most intense seismic zone of the country removing walls triggers additional structural work to the home in order to, not just maintain, but improve the structural integrity of the building while simultaneously removing some of its bones. Here enters the installation of beams to support the roof structure where the old walls were and solid shear walls to “stiffen” the building in the event of movement. This commonly involves excavating underneath the home to pour additional concrete foundation. A large percentage of the budget went back into the bones of the structure “behind the walls” but the benefit is realized everyday as our clients can be working in the kitchen at the front of the home seeing all the way to the backyard pool.
Hands on is an understatement when it comes to our client. A first for RemodelWest, our client decided to host a demolition party with friends and neighbors. What a way to begin what should be a fun process and no punches pulled here. Our arrival that Monday morning after the weekend demo party set the tone of the project as we realized the fun is about to begin.
Panoramic of construction
Once the demolition and structural modifications were completed we moved into installing some of the nicest features of the project. With the open floor plan came the desire to introduce the outside to the inside and boy did we pull that off. With a busy client comes limited time to research different products so RemodelWest owner Bill Reid accomplished the due diligence needed to decide how we would accomplish the goal. After visits to local showrooms with video feeds back to the client it was decided. We would use the Nana Wall product across their entire back wall of their home. The Nana Wall system we selected allows a homeowner to use one panel as a daily door but when desired the ability to open the entire system. In this case we have created a combined opening to the pool area of over 20 feet. This product takes a very detailed person to hammer out all the details and between Owner Bill Reid and Lead Designer Kirk Goodere we were able to maximize the openings and transition to the interior/exterior stone detail.
Completing the improvements to the exterior doors of the home led us to the front door. Interested in using this area as a sign of what might be behind the door we selected a door to humbly modernize the home. Designed by the team at RemodelWest we sourced the door from TruStile new modern collection.
Fireplaces offer interesting and contrasting opportunities in today’s remodels. Many of the homes were originally built with two conventional wood burning masonry fireplaces. In this original home a huge monolithic corner fireplace was located in the Living Room and another two rooms over in the Family Room. With increased restrictions on wood burning firepalces it’s common today to remove one and convert the other to a gas insert and that is what we do. With the new open floor plan one was really only required and we took the opportunity to reface the fireplace with the same Platinum Ledgestone we used at the Nana Wall columns achieving a cohesive feel.
Next to the Nana Wall creation the kitchen design is the center piece of this project. Armed with a love to cook and entertain our client had very specific ideas in mind for the look, feel and practical use of the kitchen. Developing a vision is the launching point but bringing it to a reality is what separates the great projects from the not so good. Possessing both technical and creative skills, Lead Designer Sarah Spiroff, CKD, CBD worked closely with our savvy clients to bring that vision to a reality. First up was the cabinetry style and finish. As one of our premier cabinetry makers, Crystal Cabinets, offers a multitude and woods, finishes and styles and sure enough our designer and client spotted a finish that fit like a glove. Staying true to this modern interpretation of Prairie Style the cabinet door styles were mixed with both some traditional and modern elements. The main kitchen area cabinet is solid maple wood with a gray stain. In a subtle contrast the island cabinetry door lends itself to a more modern style, in a deep brown finish with a nod to the Prairie Style. Balancing pleasing aesthetic details with practical solutions is key for long term satisfaction. Morning coffee is in engrained in the daily routine for many of us and our client is no exception. Here we designed a custom size cabinet with metal roll up tambour door. Inside we placed a low profile roll out shelf and a coffee home is born. <detail shot of coffee>. With the morning comes the evening and what better libation is there for winding down in your new home but vino. Our client selected a wine cooling system and we designed around it to allow a built in feeling. In the same wheelhouse as vino, spirits also lend themselves nicely to entertaining and here you can see to the left and right of the wine cooler a system had been developed to display the bottles. <detail shot of wine/spirit center>. Immediately adjacent to the Wine and Spirit Center is a small under counter refrigerator for cool drinks. A large island was desired to congregate around. Placing a cooktop on the island can pose a few challenges when faced with ventilation. Downdraft systems can have limited performance and hanging hoods can destroy a design. Our client was determined to not compromise and discovered a new system made by Best. This system is flush with ceiling and requires the reconstruction of the ceiling. The blower unit is mounted on the roof which allows a powerful yet quiet experience.
Elements such as corner cabinet solutions, metal mesh placed in the upper door cabinets, full height upper cabinets to the ceiling for maximum storage and custom turned posts at the island all help to solidify the practical and aesthetic objectives. Quartz countertops are the most relevant material today and here we mustered the courage to combine two materials within the same kitchen. The island counter is Pental Quartz Serra emulating a granite material and the main kitchen counter is Pental Quartz Calcatta emulating a marble. Both materials compliment the colors of the cabinetry unifying the overall perception of the materials.
Flooring plays a big role in open space plans and choice balanced with the style of adjacent materials can unify a project. In this case we all participated in selecting a material which was sourced out of state. Rustic hand scraped prefinished Hickory wood crafted by Sheoga of Ohio Amish country made the cut and is providing very hard flooring with an extremely durable finish.
Here is what our client had to say………. http://www.houzz.com/viewReview/291238/RemodelWest-review
RemodelWest turned my dream into a reality. Seriously.We had been looking to buy a home for almost two years in Silicon Valley and couldn’t find the right mixture of neighborhood, function, design, and style. When I found a neglected house with good bones/potential in a great neighborhood, my mind went to work on the possibilities. I drew up what I wanted (not skilled at doing this sort of thing) and then started looking for a team I thought capable of doing the job. I talked to lots of different firms and contractors. I got the lowball estimates and outrageous estimates from firms that didn’t bother to understand the details of what was wanted. In the first meeting with the RemodelWest team, I knew I they were the right team for the job. Bill Reid and his design team spent a lot of time with us to understand what was important and our design sensibilities. They embraced our idea as if it was their own and started to make suggestions that dramatically improved the initial design. The designed evolved into something that felt inspired. We looked at alternatives. We looked at finishes. We looked at design detail options. When we were all excited with the result it moved into the planning phase. Again, they made it easy.
RemodelWest built all of the engineering diagrams (and/or worked with an engineer) and got them approved by the city in record time (keep in mind that every interior wall in the common living space was removed). While they were working on getting things approved, they built a schedule of how the project would work, lined up all of the trades, and constructed a final bottoms-up estimate. We met a few times to make tradeoffs between cost and quality. Looking back, one of the things I appreciated the most was that the RemodelWest team had strong opinions (loosely held) and would stand firm when it made a difference to the end quality of the project, but would happily embrace lower cost/quality things where it wasn’t critical to the end result. When we knew the final cost and had a plan, we kicked off construction.
The construction went like clockwork. There was ALWAYS somebody on site. No down days. Everyone was extremely competent, sweated the details, and was customer-oriented. If something wasn’t right, they made it right quickly. Even the schedule (Microsoft project) was updated and posted weekly. The RemodelWest team made sure all of the trades worked out perfectly. Looking back, the experience was so positive that I struggle to remember any small bumps that happened (all of them were minor and had something to do with one of the subs that was quickly fixed).
In the end, we got the dream house we wanted … on schedule, at the estimated price. All of the conventional wisdom going into the project was to take the estimated price and timeline and double them both. It is nice to be the exception to the rule. You just have to work with exceptional teams. RemodelWest is such a team.
See the entire project here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/remodelwest/sets/72157646096361026/
RemodelWest is a premier design and construction company in Silicon Valley specializing in larger scale remodel projects.
Bill Reid, President and Owner