Barry, a retired engineer-turned-tinkerer with deep professional ties to Japan, and Miyuki, a former interior designer from Japan with a small textile business, first reached out to Lundberg Design with a vision of building a “Ferris Bueller garage”—a gleaming, modern, glass box, perched atop their steep site—adjacent to the mid-century home they had lived in for several decades. Barry’s garage had long since been taken over by his woodshop, and the couple dreamed of replacing it with an addition that would not only provide shelter for their cars but could also house a small Japanese-style tea room that could be used for meditation, repose, and hosting.
After some budgetary setbacks put their tea house out of reach, the design team turned back to the main house and focused on modernizing and strengthening the beautiful but aging structure. The house was originally an architect’s own home and as such featured a number of beautiful details, but due to age, its position on a steep site as well as the construction methods of the time it suffered from a number of issues including rotting siding, poor insulation, and settling. The foundations were seismically retrofitted, the house was leveled, and new shear walls were added ensuring that the house would continue to stand strong. The original redwood Plank-tex, a popular but very thin siding material used on many Eichler homes, was replaced with new corrugated metal siding on three sides of the house, while the front façade was covered in clear all-heart redwood siding as a nod to the original material.
Since they were not able to build the tea house, the clients decided that they wanted to build something in its place that would feel like a beautiful gesture, and so we designed a long concrete retaining wall that stretched out from the downstairs library across the hillside, with exposed form tie holes as an homage to one of their favorite Japanese architects, Tadao Ando. The dilapidated library deck was replaced with redwood, and the clients imagined it acting as a “moon viewing platform” such as those found in the temples and palaces of Japan.
In addition to these exterior improvements, both full bathrooms downstairs were completely renovated, turning small, yellowing, dingy spaces into airy, light-filled rooms complete with a soaking tub, large walk-in shower, and separate toilet room.
The clients were deeply involved with every aspect of the design, and many of the details were built by Barry himself. The end result is a beautiful home that remains true to its mid-century roots while integrating modern design and materials as well as a number of influences from Japan.