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A new homeowner in the peninsula city of Burlingame wanted to tear down their existing home which had odd level changes and badly done additions over the years. Starting over from a bare site gave the opportunity to create a home that was both contemporary yet complementary to the neighborhood visual context. The lot size was 6,000 square feet and the new home is 3,000 square feet, two-stories plus 400 square foot detached garage.

The neighborhood was made up of various ages of ranch and other style homes with pitched or gable roofs all around the same size. The city mandated the allowable square footage maximum that could be built and gave an additional 400 square feet of house buildable area if the garage were detached, which is the design route taken.

The clients also wanted a home that could accommodate their aging parents and be designed for aging in place. Two master bedroom suites were created, one down- and the other upstairs. The parents would live downstairs and our clients, upstairs. After time, our clients could move downstairs and live in the parents’ suite at some point, an advantage especially if they at that time, had trouble climbing stairs.

A custom designed home gives the ability to make changes to the standard ranch-style home design and in this case, it was decided that all the living functions would be set toward the rear of the lot where it was quieter, and other functions such as the laundry room, stairs and home office could be at the front or street side of the house as a noise buffer.

Also, the house was located in a flood plain zone, and it was mandated that the first floor level had to be fourteen inches above natural grade.

The initial design wanted by the homeowner was a flat roof version, and working with the city of Burlingame they required more conformance to the neighborhood standard, which was a pitched roof. We negotiated and came up with a mixture of flat and pitched roofs that satisfied the city, while from almost any ground level angle, the roofs appear flat. Some cities in the San Francisco Bay Area have such design ordinances that we often work with successfully.

LANDSCAPE DESIGN: Morf | Chang Landscape Architecture
PHOTOGRAPHY: Paul Dyer Photography