The original house was built in 1970 in the mid-century modern style of Richard Neutra and similarly talented architects of that time. Set on a sloping, oak-studded acre, the house takes advantage of the sweeping views of San Pablo Bay, the Petaluma River, and distant Sonoma hills. The two-story house was designed such that every room (except bathrooms) has direct outdoor access. The upper floor public spaces–living room, dining, stair hall, and kitchen–is capped by an open beam hip roof that is surrounded by a flat roof with deep overhangs, giving the appearance from the exterior that the entire roof is low and linear. The public spaces had only occasionally interrupted glazing taking full advantage of the views. The only downsides were that the public spaces were divided into individual rooms–we favored a very open plan–and everything showed its tired, nearly fifty years of age.
Though the functional spaces were well arranged, it was necessary to gut the interior to modernize the plan and open up the public spaces. To allow the existing hip roof structure to remain without the previous interior support walls, a steel moment frame was designed under the ridge beam. This became a central, fabric sheathed monolith housing large TV screens on each side, and provided definition to the dining and living areas without actually enclosing them. Though original glass area was substantial, it was increased in several areas. All mechanical, electrical, and A/V systems are new, including hydronic radiant heat, photovoltaic solar panels with backup battery, and septic. Only domestic water sourced from the municipality keeps the house from being able to function entirely "off-grid". Decks wrap both levels on the downslope sides and connect to the ground as the slope intersects.
The lower floor contains a guest suite, laundry, mud room, pool changing and bath, utilities, wine storage, and the office of Jochum Architects.
3,240 s.f. • Greenpoint, Novato, CA
J&J Custom Builders