Before & After: A Storied Midcentury Home Begins a New Chapter on Its 70th Anniversary

Before & After: A Storied Midcentury Home Begins a New Chapter on Its 70th Anniversary

Robert Swatt, principal at Swatt | Miers Architects, had prolonged saved a watchful, protecting eye on this midcentury house in the Northern California town of Lafayette. “Having lived across the creek from the property for more than 25 decades, and acquiring been pals with the preceding house owners, I had appreciated the architecture for a long time,” he says. “But I had considerations that a new buyer might not have the exact appreciation—and might even make your mind up to tear it down.”

The renovation didn’t modify the structure of the home.

Despite the fact that the assets was practically 70 several years aged when the undertaking started off, it was in superior ailment.

The home was built in 1952 by architect John Carl Warnecke—who was heralded by the Kennedys for his expertise—and it was a time capsule that embodied the best of the era’s structure sensibilities. Set on 1.5 acres of bucolic land, and spanning 4,500 square ft, the composition is formed like a U to carefully surround a backyard, whilst also upholding the clear strains and sharp angles of the midcentury-modern day aesthetic.

Prior to: Residing Room

The unique dwelling space retained the copper fire that Warnecke constructed in 1952.

Following: Dwelling Room

“We wished to honor the present building by revealing all of the uncovered structural factors, and several of the first finishes,” Swatt suggests. 

The pair hired a Bay Region home furniture designer to create a custom leather couch.

Thankfully, it all worked out for the very best. The spouse and children of four who purchased the property—a father who operates in the tech business, and a mom who has a sales and marketing background, moreover their two younger kids—hit it off with Swatt quickly.

“It’s pretty much as if the dwelling smiled on by itself, with the U condition and wall-to-wall home windows wrapping all over the patio,” the house owner states. “There was so considerably gentle, and prospects to check out mother nature from pretty much any place in the property.”

Prior to: Kitchen area

The present kitchen experienced been up to date, but it did not match the previous-is-new aesthetic the owners ideal.

Following: Kitchen area

“The kitchen area is seamlessly integrated into the living area, and is remarkably useful with out way too much glamour,” the house owner suggests. 

Customized walnut cupboard fronts oppose black types bordering the range.

And yet, a part of that splendor was obscured by the home’s run-down condition. The windows were being far more than a half-century aged, and they appeared out to a jungle of neglected fig, lemon, and blood orange trees. While the property had an open ground approach, some of that flooring experienced three levels of heritage caked on best of it. 

“But, in general, the residence was in excellent structural situation, producing it a ideal concentrate on for a light modernization in line with the first character,” the property owner says—and they reached out to Swatt to take on the challenge.

Ahead of: Lavatory

The existing bathroom experienced room, but no model. 

Soon after: Lavatory

Swatt and the owners introduced some decidedly of-the-minute style to the major bathroom, even though nonetheless tying it to midcentury sensibilities. The space features Kohler fixtures and Clé floor tiles.

“As a practising architect, I design houses in the course of the area and past,” Swatt says. “Why would my crew and I make a decision to get concerned in this relatively small venture up coming doorway? There are a couple of superior factors: Very first, the owners and I all share an appreciation of the initial dwelling. And next, we have come to be excellent mates and take pleasure in hanging out together—including enjoying in a garage band!”

The dining space showcases the beams and glass that drew the homeowners to this dwelling. An short article desk sits beneath a Luceplan lamp by Girl Costanza.

The proprietors took it upon on their own to find out as much as doable about Warnecke and the property as the renovation started out in 2019. With the authentic options in hand, they collaborated with Swatt on an update that balanced modern features with the home’s enduring characteristics. 

“We preferred to use time period-compatible supplies, a uncomplicated shade palette, and subtle accents to deliver out the previous glory, with a truly modern day spin,” the house owner suggests. The proprietors have been seeking for it to be “gentle, cozy, and minimalist,” with a couple of “surprises and delights.” 

The main bedroom however has its original, two-sided copper hearth. A Veneto chair by BoConcept sits near a Fleetwood slider.

Swatt | Miers Architects held as a great deal of the current construction as feasible, including the spots where by glass was positioned, the two copper fireplaces, and most of the partitions. The structure team shifted the property’s authentic 6 bedrooms into 4 to make place for a mudroom and a wander-in closet, and put in natural materials like white oak and walnut to lead effortlessly to the newly manicured oasis outside the house.

“Where by suitable, we mounted new finishes—some with patterns—but the new resources felt correct at home inside the midcentury architecture,” Swatt notes.

The backyard space options a pool and a 1-bedroom cottage that have been also renovated. In this spot, Bolinas household furniture by Terra surrounds a firepit.

In conditions of technology, nevertheless, the proprietors and Swatt agreed that the home should be comprehensively modernized—particularly in regard to electricity performance and property automation.A photo voltaic method provides plenty of ability to get the home off the grid, and it now has radiant heating, sustainable insulation, and a central protection process.

The renovation preserved the home’s very low-slung profile though replacing all of the windows and doorways for greater insulation and strength efficiency. 

The workforce didn’t run into any troubles for the duration of building, regardless of remaining organized for any shifts, and they are grateful for the get the job done that was done in the earlier to make the procedure simpler. The full renovation wrapped up previously this spring, together with the home’s 70th anniversary. “I felt so relieved when I met our new neighbors,” Swatt states. “They love the property, and they were inclined to preserve it.”

Floor Program of Lieber Residence by Swatt | Miers Architects