Real Estate

The house as social medium

Changing their house changed their lives

Among Old Colonial tract houses on Waverly Place in Mountain View, the Neo-Craftsman home of Dana and Teri Waldman really catches the eye.

"The remodel changed our lives," Dana says of the project, which was completed in March 2010. "Because the house is so nice, it's changed us in social ways."

The new space is indeed well-suited for socializing. The remodeled backyard features a fountain, an outdoor fireplace and a cooking area perfect for entertaining.

Inside, the remodel included knocking down walls dividing the kitchen, dining room and family room.

"We made them bigger and opened the flow," Dana says. "It's a very comfortable house."

The focal point of the kitchen is the island countertop, made of a single piece of sea-green composite granite. The stone reminds the family of Yosemite, where they love to travel, and sets the color palette for the entire house.

The process went extremely smoothly, the Waldmans say, because they really did their homework.

"We laid out every cabinet and drawer before we ever started construction," Dana says. "We knew down to the level of the pasta (what) will go on this shelf."

A main theme of the remodel was finding ways to maximize space -- a corner pantry in the kitchen, for example. Another theme was distributed storage and convenience. A custom spice cabinet, two beverage fridges -- one by the living room and one in Dana's office and his-and-hers ovens of different heights and sizes make a world of difference to the family. But perhaps the most enviable manifestation of this goal is the Waldmans' answer to the traditional "junk drawer."

"It's always a challenge to have that area turn out nice and tidy," Dana says. But the family has accomplished just that, with a comprehensive "message center" space. What looks like an ordinary cabinet unfolds to reveal magnetic white boards and a bulletin board -- open when the family is relaxing at home, but hidden away when they're entertaining formally. Below are several neatly organized drawers containing stamps and other necessities.

Upstairs, Teri's sewing/craft/laundry room and Dana's office face a guest bathroom the "hotel bathroom," as the family refers to it.

Dana calls his 13-year-old daughter Rachel's bedroom and bathroom "the best in the house," where Hollywood glam meets tropical. Complete with vanity, hatbox toilet and waterfall faucet but also a dream catcher and a model of the solar system the room is one teenage girl's version of paradise.

"Teri has her space, I have my space, Rachel has her space," Dana says.

"The dog has space everywhere," Rachel adds.

At the end of the hallway is the newly added master suite. The couple wanted a "serene, spa-like feel," Teri says. The bedroom and two walk-in closets feel rustic and "cabin-y," but the bathroom, with Jacuzzi, double shower and facing vanities, is nothing if not Zen.

As always, every detail was planned out. Teri hates standing on the drain when she showers, so the floor of the shower tilts slightly to accommodate a trough drain.

"There's little tricks you can do to make it high-end," Dana says. He indicated extra finishes and small touches throughout the house such as the leathered granite counters, Carrera marble and Brazilian cherry hardwood floors.

The family recommends holding an open house two weeks after moving back in. Not only did it force them to unpack, it also afforded their contractors a chance to show off their work.

"It never occurred to us how much they would appreciate it," Teri says. "It was very touching."

The Waldmans have no plans to sell the house.

"I'm still so excited about the house and we've lived here almost two years," Teri says.

Rachel doesn't ever plan to leave -- she wants the house in her inheritance, she says.

"Would you move to the master bedroom?" asks Teri.

"No, I'd stay in mine!"

Resources:

Contractor: Hammerschmidt Construction, Los Altos, 650-948-4200

Designer: New Leaf Designs, Los Altos, 650-941-4248

Cabinetry: Capstone Cabinets, San Jose, 408-998-4098

Landscape: Masterpiece, Hollister, 831-638-1779

Goal of project:

Make the best use of space and modernize the entire house into a dream home for all three members of the family

Unanticipated issues:

None

Year house built:

1963

Size of home, lot:

before about 2,500 sq ft, now 3,400 sq ft on an 8,118 sq-ft-lot

Time to complete:

10 months

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