From the street the house may look simple, but its modest facade belies the interest of the architecture and the complexity of the remodel undertaken on this significant early mid-century home in Piedmont.
The house was originally designed in 1947 by Bay Area architect Clarence Mayhew. Celebrated for his take on contemporary ranch homes in California, he was a participant in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition on Domestic Architecture in the San Francisco Bay Region. Mathew designed the H-shaped structure to take advantage of the lot’s slope away from the street and to protect and celebrate a majestic Tipu tree which dominates the lower terrace of the site. The upper section, with an attached garage to one side, houses bedrooms, while the lower wing was divided into multiple rooms for living. The two volumes were connected by a wide staircase with glass on one side to open it to the outdoors.
The goal of the remodel was to respect the architecture while upgrading materials, creating a greater sense of refinement, adjusting the design to open-plan living and enhancing the connection to the outdoors. In collaboration with Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects, this was achieved by combining the kitchen, dining and living spaces; installing clerestory windows by the front entry; creating wooden insertions at key interior moments such as the stairwell; adding skylights in the primary bath and kitchen, which required reframing a whole section of roof with new trusses; and enhancing indoor-outdoor connections. Other updates include an insulated exterior envelope, firesafe Tru Exterior nickel-gapped cladding to match the original wood siding, new Blomberg window and door systems, gray-water recycling, and an ADU with hot tub built as an attached addition.
This one-and-a-half-year project reflects a high level of teamwork and a satisfying outcome for all involved. The team included some subcontractors who were known to the husband through his work in commercial contracting, as well as the interior designers at Regan Baker Design, where the wife worked in marketing. The architect attests to our attention to detail and our willingness to go the extra mile on this project. The clients cite our positive partnership with architect & designer, consistently high level of craftsmanship, and our adherence to schedule despite weather, covid and supply-chain issues.
This new 6,000 SF residence on Mill Valley was completed in September 2011 and is clad in copper siding. The project was extremely challenging due to site constraints and a complex foundation and site plan. The driveway had to be widened in order for concrete trucks to access the site and our foundation sub is credited for what he called “the most difficult foundation plan yet”. Fire safety and protection was a driving force behind the design and construction of those home. Exposed panelized formed concrete makes up the first level with the 2nd floor in copper siding and the 3rd in integral color smooth stucco. No expense was spared on this the client’s 4th and final custom residence.
It was a pleasure to work with the entire Kasten team throughout our complex 1.5-year home remodel. From the beginning of the project through close-out their transparent approach to estimating, buy-out and scheduling allowed us to feel comfortable that they would be able to deliver a project on budget, on-time without compromising quality. They were also a great partner for both our architect and designer, asking the right questions before proceeding with work and maintaining a high quality of craftsmanship the team expected. Their entire office and field team were true professionals working tirelessly and safely to meet our completion deadline even when Covid, material supply chain issues and weather could have been an excuse to derail the project timeline. I cannot recommend Kasten enough to anyone who is looking for a general contractor who is completely aligned with the same project goals and values as the client.
It was a pleasure to work with Kasten Builders. Kasten was the selected builder for a significant remodel of an early mid-century house that posed many construction challenges. Kevin Smoker, the project manager ensured that it was a collaborative effort throughout the process and adjusted where needed with the existing conditions to keep the project running smoothly. I appreciated their attention to detail and the willingness to get it right. I look forward to working with the Kasten team in the future.