Real Estate

Ranch home remodeled

Ladera couple creates more space within a classic-style house

Unlike many other home owners in the valley who would rather bulldoze older ranch homes, Sarah and Winston Crawford loved their classic post-World War II home; it was just too small.

They really needed more space for themselves and their two young children and nanny.

"We decided to make it our home for the long haul," Winston said. It was also important to him and Sarah that they preserved the original style of the three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home.

The remodel consisted of adding a bedroom, full bathroom and study to the front of the house. These rooms, plus the enlarged kitchen/breakfast nook now form an L-shape which faces the enclosed front patio. This patio was created by reconfiguring the front yard, moving the driveway and relocating the garage entrance. Part of the extra square footage was used to create a more gracious front entry. They also replaced all hardscape and landscaping, upgraded the master and kids' bathrooms, replaced all windows and brought the electrical and AV systems into the 21st century.

The nanny's new bedroom and bath are off the kitchen/breakfast nook, and a pocket door allows for privacy, as do the electric blinds on the large bedroom window. Since the new bathroom is not ensuite it provides for flexibility as their needs change.

"The limestone for the bathroom floor is textured, so it is less slippery," Winston said.

A mahogany bureau-cum-sink, which the couple brought in Half Moon Bay, is the perfect accent piece. A custom-made mirror hangs over it, with sconces shaped to mimic the bureau's legs.

"The kitchen was already remodeled when we bought the house," Sarah said. However, they had to extend the white oak floors into the enlarged space. More problematic was matching the bank of cabinets with solid brass handles and roll-out shelves, which line an extended kitchen wall.

"All of the cabinetry in the house is Midland custom," Winston said.

"The study area was originally a totally useless indoor patio," Sarah said. Now, built-in bookcases and cabinetry are located on a wall that once housed an exposed fireplace. A knockout, curvilinear zebra wood desk faces the patio.

"It belonged to a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard," Winston said.

The remodeled bathrooms are similar aesthetics with neutral colored tiles -- save for the pop of green glass tile in the kids' shower. In the master bath, marble mosaics were used both in the shower and for lining the tub enclosure. Synthetic tiles were used in the kids' bathroom because they are very durable, easy to clean and not slippery.

The generous back patio was originally surfaced in aggregate. Both patios are now made of slate.

"I didn't want a lot of variation in color," Sarah said. "To get enough to match they had to bring in extra pallets."

The front patio wall enhances the view out of the L-shaped addition. It is adorned with a flat water feature, designed by Winston, and two hanging gardens that are framed in stainless steel. Concrete benches with removable cushions line the area, and outdoor furniture is positioned in front of the new gas fireplace.

"We used the same poured concrete atop the gas BBQ that is used for the kitchen counters," Winston said. "We really wanted to capture an indoor/outdoor feel."

A leitmotif of composite resin planters of various sizes and shapes but identical color are found here as throughout the property.

"Since there are so many large sliding-glass doors, we chose industrial grade Fleetwood windows for the entire house," Winston said. "The frames are aluminum, anodized to a champagne color."

The enlarged front entry created space for a door- sized window next to the re-positioned front door. Another window in the entry which mimics one in the dining room is positioned so you can see both as you approach the front entry from the inside. The living room window, which overlooks the back garden, was enlarged so as to better frame a much cherished heritage white oak.

"We used the same drought-resistant blue and Bermuda grasses used on Southern California golf courses," Winston said. "We wanted to create a native California feel with lots of drought resistant plants and not too much color."

The back garden is compartmentalized into three sections. In the first, two Adirondack chairs face the white oak.

"This is where Sarah and I like to sit and relax," said Winston.

The back patio is the entertainment area, in the center of which is a modernistic fountain consisting of a hollow cube surrounded by a marble base. A fenced-in sports court with an outdoor playground floor and basketball hoop is the kids' zone. It features a "Kinderhotel," a charming playhouse that Winston built.

"There are more than 50 LED lights outside," Winston said. These include metal sconces as well as hanging spot lights. The enlarged entry is accessed by a widened, covered walkway with new white pillars that lead to the front door.

"We put in skylights to avoid a tunnel effect," Winston said.

The front yard is not totally level. In order to trick the eye, a middle section is bordered on two facing sides by a stepped wall. Each wall is the mirror image of the other. A lovely olive tree in the center provides another visual diversion.

The new garage door is redwood, and they retained the terra cotta ventilation tubes above it. The redwood from the original garage door has been repurposed in gates throughout the property.

The bedroom wing overlooks a series of as-yet empty planters.

"This might be our next project," Winston said.


Goal of the design: Update and expand a classic California ranch home without changing its character

Design challenge: Additions required an entirely new roof in order to maintain clean lines

Unexpected problems: Code required an enormous drainage ditch due to hard clay surface and elevated location of the home

Year house built: 1962

Size of project: 3,100 sq. ft. home (includes 500 sq. ft. of addition); 12,000 sq. ft. lot

Budget: NA

Time to complete: one year

Architect: David Terpening, 650-328-6300

Building contractor: Steve Zmay, Zmay Construction, Redwood City, 650-568-0477

Interior designer: Marla Ruby, Marla Ruby Interiors, Menlo Park, 650-321-0559

Landscape architect: Robert Bozzini, Bozzini Enterprises LLC, San Francisco, 415-595-8838

Freelance writer Susan Golovin can be emailed at

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Like this comment
Posted by Susan Guer
a resident of Woodside
on Jun 11, 2016 at 4:05 am

Excellent remodeling. It is really important to make sure that home renovation and improvement projects are worth reasonable but an excellent one. Improvising windows on your own is big deal, so we have to be careful. Its important to take proper care of our homes and its even more necessary to deal with a greater security. [Portion removed.]

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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