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Staying true to its roots

Menlo Park remodel honors midcentury style

by Susan Golovin

The couple bought their midcentury home in the Flood Park Triangle soon after they were married. As their family grew to include two young sons, 1,200 square feet of living space no longer seemed adequate.

"We also wanted to have an easy exit to the backyard and not have to go through the garage, and a true master bathroom," the wife says.

"The homes on this side of the street have slightly larger lots, so remodels tend to extend horizontally," she says. "Across the street, they build second stories."

In their case, they added 400 square feet to the rear of the home, increasing to four bedrooms.

The 38-inch-wide central corridor now runs all the way to the mudroom, where a door allows the kids to take full advantage of the backyard. The window in the door not only gives Mom a handy way of monitoring, it also adds natural light to the corridor. A screen door is perfect for good weather.

"We tried to match the wood floor in the addition to the original floor," the wife says. The best they could approximate to the 1 ¾-inch planks that were only manufactured for three years after World War II were 2-inch planks. A border eases the transition.

The original home had several arched entrances, one of which welcomes you into the hallway. "We added two more arches along the hallway to break up the long, narrow space and added a skylight for the same reason," designer Esin Karliova says.

The added space contains a mudroom and what is now being used as a TV room. "There's a closet, so it could be a bedroom. ... In older homes you're always looking for more storage," the wife says. Both this room and the boys' room are 9 by 12 feet. Another of the original rooms, which could be used as a bedroom, now serves as a playroom.

A closet with a pocket door was repositioned to allow for more space in the new master bedroom. Customized to match the "barn door" that privatizes the toilet in the master bath, the door slides open and therefore does not collide with the entry door.

The tiles in the master bathroom were purchased at Allstone in Burlingame. "We wanted to use all local vendors," the wife says. Light-colored Carrara marble counters and small, white hex-tiles on the floor as well as a skylight create a peaceful light-filled room.

"The hex-tiles echo the era of the house," the wife says. Three, high, oblong windows in the shower allow views of the trees.

Karliova helped the couple find a white enamel credenza that helps define the space between the living room and entry. It is Art Deco and a witty statement. Crate and Barrel cabinets on either side of the fireplace are used for storage, and an Eames chair sits comfortably in this room.

The couple originally thought that they would like to build a back patio with a large overhang. They ditched this idea when they discovered that it would create a three-month delay in the permitting process.

"It would have changed the amount of impermeable surface, and we would have had to create a water-drainage system in the backyard," the wife says. Karliova says that she was also wary that the large overhang would eliminate natural light from the master bath.

"I always tell my clients that remodeling is not a linear process," Karliova says.

Goal of project:

Create master bathroom, better backyard access and more living space

Unanticipated issues:

Dry rot; long permitting process for patio plans

Year house built:

late 1950s

Size of home/lot:

1,600 sq ft on 6,500-sq-ft lot

Time to complete:

One year to design and get permits, six months to build


Architect: Esin Karliova, Studio Karliova, 408-718-3746

Contractor: Mediterraneo Design/Build, Menlo Park, 650-368-1361

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