Before & After: A Storied Midcentury Home Begins a New Chapter on Its 70th Anniversary

Robert Swatt, principal at Swatt | Miers Architects, had very long retained a watchful, protecting eye on this midcentury residence in the Northern California city of Lafayette. “Possessing lived across the creek from the property for around 25 a long time, and possessing been close friends with the prior homeowners, I experienced appreciated the architecture for a extended time,” he suggests. “But I had fears that a new customer could not have the same appreciation—and may well even come to a decision to tear it down.”

The renovation did not transform the construction of the residence.

Despite the fact that the property was practically 70 years previous when the project began, it was in excellent ailment.

The residence was built in 1952 by architect John Carl Warnecke—who was heralded by the Kennedys for his expertise—and it was a time capsule that embodied the greatest of the era’s style and design sensibilities. Set on 1.5 acres of bucolic land, and spanning 4,500 square feet, the structure is formed like a U to gently surround a backyard, although also upholding the cleanse lines and sharp angles of the midcentury-present day aesthetic.

Before: Living Area

The authentic dwelling space retained the copper fire that Warnecke designed in 1952.

Immediately after: Residing Area

“We desired to honor the current constructing by revealing all of the uncovered structural factors, and a lot of of the unique finishes,” Swatt claims. 

The few employed a Bay Location furniture designer to make a custom made leather couch.

Luckily, it all worked out for the greatest. The family of four who acquired the property—a father who is effective in the tech industry, and a mother who has a income and internet marketing track record, plus their two younger kids—hit it off with Swatt rapidly.

“It is just about as if the dwelling smiled upon by itself, with the U shape and wall-to-wall windows wrapping all-around the patio,” the property owner states. “There was so a lot mild, and alternatives to view mother nature from almost everywhere in the home.”

Before: Kitchen area

The existing kitchen experienced been updated, but it didn’t match the old-is-new aesthetic the property owners desired.

Right after: Kitchen area

“The kitchen is seamlessly integrated into the residing space, and is really functional with no far too a great deal glamour,” the home-owner claims. 

Tailor made walnut cabinet fronts oppose black ones bordering the array.

And nonetheless, a part of that attractiveness was obscured by the home’s operate-down state. The windows were a lot more than a half-century aged, and they looked out to a jungle of neglected fig, lemon, and blood orange trees. Whilst the property experienced an open flooring strategy, some of that flooring had 3 levels of record caked on leading of it. 

“But, over-all, the house was in outstanding structural issue, earning it a best target for a light modernization in line with the original character,” the home-owner says—and they attained out to Swatt to take on the job.

Ahead of: Toilet

The present rest room had area, but no style. 

Soon after: Lavatory

Swatt and the owners introduced some decidedly of-the-second design to the major toilet, whilst however tying it to midcentury sensibilities. The space attributes Kohler fixtures and Clé floor tiles.

“As a training architect, I structure homes all over the region and over and above,” Swatt states. “Why would my team and I decide to get included in this somewhat modest job up coming doorway? There are a couple of superior causes: Very first, the proprietors and I all share an appreciation of the first home. And secondly, we’ve grow to be superior close friends and take pleasure in hanging out together—including actively playing in a garage band!”

The dining location showcases the beams and glass that drew the owners to this home. An posting table sits beneath a Luceplan lamp by Lady Costanza.

The owners took it on them selves to master as significantly as probable about Warnecke and the house as the renovation started out in 2019. With the first plans in hand, they collaborated with Swatt on an update that well balanced modern day things with the home’s enduring features. 

“We desired to use period-compatible supplies, a uncomplicated color palette, and refined accents to bring out the previous glory, with a truly modern spin,” the house owner says. The proprietors ended up hunting for it to be “light, cozy, and minimalist,” with a several “surprises and delights.” 

The key bed room nonetheless has its first, two-sided copper hearth. A Veneto chair by BoConcept sits around a Fleetwood slider.

Swatt | Miers Architects held as considerably of the present composition as attainable, which include the locations where by glass was positioned, the two copper fireplaces, and most of the partitions. The style and design workforce shifted the property’s primary six bedrooms into four to make house for a mudroom and a stroll-in closet, and mounted pure components like white oak and walnut to guide effortlessly to the newly manicured oasis outside the house.

“Exactly where suitable, we mounted new finishes—some with patterns—but the new supplies felt right at home within the midcentury architecture,” Swatt notes.

The yard space capabilities a pool and a just one-bedroom cottage that had been also renovated. In this place, Bolinas household furniture by Terra surrounds a firepit.

In terms of technology, although, the homeowners and Swatt agreed that the home must be thoroughly modernized—particularly in regard to strength performance and home automation.A solar method gives plenty of power to acquire the residence off the grid, and it now has radiant heating, sustainable insulation, and a central stability technique.

The renovation preserved the home’s minimal-slung profile although replacing all of the home windows and doors for greater insulation and power performance. 

The team didn’t run into any difficulties in the course of building, regardless of becoming prepared for any shifts, and they’re grateful for the function that was completed in the previous to make the system less difficult. The complete renovation wrapped up before this spring, together with the home’s 70th anniversary. “I felt so relieved when I met our new neighbors,” Swatt says. “They really like the house, and they have been eager to protect it.”

Ground Program of Lieber Residence by Swatt | Miers Architects