Residential Remodel: Arden House
The Arden remodel was a rare opportunity to work on a home designed by a famous mid century Architect, Harwell Hamilton Harris. The home is a 1940 modern home built in redwood on the 3x6 module of Japanese tatami. Unlike many modern homes it is warm and livable because of the softness of the clear heart redwood interiors and plywood ceilings. The house is directly below and originally on the same lot as Harris’ Haven’s house (which has been listed as one of the 10 most influential houses in America).
The program called for remodeling the existing inadequate and small kitchen, adding a new study to the existing home and adding a raised redwood deck to the existing roof deck to enable enjoyment of the view while seated. The existing home has a very strong design with beautiful details. When an existing home is so well designed it good to add to and blend with the extant design language rather than change or contrast with it. The decision was made to keep with the design language of the existing home maintaining the detail and module.
The existing home was designed as a 'T' with a downstairs north south wing with the living room, dining room and kitchen and an upstairs east west wing with two bedrooms and bathrooms. Above the kitchen and living room were roof decks. In order to add the required study it was decided to enclose one of the roof decks, but so that the design intent of roof decks on the north and south was retained the house was elongated by 6 feet, the largest allowable in this fire sensitive part of Berkeley. This increase in size helped the other wise too small kitchen become comfortable and leave room for the deck above. The finished project added the need study, graced with a 5 bridge view, made the kitchen and eating area pleasant and usable while blending with the original home so than visitors can often not tell where the old ends and the new begins.