Let There Be Light

One of the strongest gestures to define a space is the manipulation of light. It enlivens space, creates connection to the environment beyond, and makes a space feel larger than the confines of its perimeter. This light filled renovation was designed by the bay area based architecture firm of Malcom Davis. When I saw the images of this 1905 family row house, I responded to the simplicity of implementing a few broad design choices, which transform the space. The key to the success of this project lies not only the amount of glass, but thoughtful and creative placement. For example, the shower entry from the deck creates an ‘outdoor shower’ in the summer months, and a frosted glass on the door provides privacy when needed. Similarly, the rear elevation of the home treats the entry to the basement level with equal consideration to its occupants. What a lovely decent, providing light and view. Light from above from the ridge skylights creates a wash of light, filling the entire space, diffused by the frosted glass, managing light quality and focusing views out the clear glass doors to the garden.

The architect opened the central core of the house by relocating the main staircases, installing interior glazing at both floors and walls, and adding ridge skylights. Exposed steel moment frames provided the necessary structure to open the floor plan and allow for larger areas of glass. The material palette of natural cedar shingles, painted wood paneling, marble, exposed steel, and board-form concrete creates a modern yet timeless aesthetic that complements the original house.

Images and excerpts sourced at Malcom Davis Architects.


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