written by:
August 17, 2010

When San Francisco–based architect Christi Azevedo and her partner bought an investment property in Oakland, what was billed in real estate listings as a 'detached garage' turned out to be a carriage house that dated from 1908. After purchasing the house, Azevedo did some basic weatherproofing in the unit, planning to one day convert it into a rental. That day arrived a year later, when her good friend, the metal fabricator Henry Defauw, found himself single and offered to help renovate the 360-square-foot carriage house in exchange for six months of free rent. Says Azevedo, "With the added help of my electrician brother, Craig—and many beers and Saturdays—we tricked this former pigeon roost into a modern loft."

In 2008, when Azevedo arrived on the scene, the carriage house "was a shell with a holy roof, no gutters, and a partly rotted floor. The house was pretty leaky but because there was no insulation or plaster all the water just kind of ran through." Beneath
In 2008, when Azevedo arrived on the scene, the carriage house "was a shell with a holy roof, no gutters, and a partly rotted floor. The house was pretty leaky but because there was no insulation or plaster all the water just kind of ran through." Beneath all the peeling paint, the 7/8-inch redwood shiplap siding was actually in pretty good shape.
1 / 12
Inside they discovered an abandoned pigeon coop and a trapdoor to the downstairs workshop and garage. On the to-do list: rip off and replace the old roof, install new gutters, spray foam insulation between the rafters and studs, and install knotty pine cl
Inside they discovered an abandoned pigeon coop and a trapdoor to the downstairs workshop and garage. On the to-do list: rip off and replace the old roof, install new gutters, spray foam insulation between the rafters and studs, and install knotty pine cladding for the interior walls.
2 / 12
After a coat of 'ruskin bronze' Kelly Moore paint and the addition of a copper downspout, the house was completely transformed. If you look closely, the outline of the former horse-and-carriage plaque remains on the hayloft door. Photo by Susanne Friedric
After a coat of 'ruskin bronze' Kelly Moore paint and the addition of a copper downspout, the house was completely transformed. If you look closely, the outline of the former horse-and-carriage plaque remains on the hayloft door. Photo by Susanne Friedrich.
3 / 12
Defauw stands at the front door to his humble abode, accessible via a flight of galvanized steel stairs that Azevedo fabricated. The redwood treads are recycled, snagged from another staircase on the property.
Defauw stands at the front door to his humble abode, accessible via a flight of galvanized steel stairs that Azevedo fabricated. The redwood treads are recycled, snagged from another staircase on the property.
4 / 12
Here's Defauw in his living room. He and the rest of the renovation team patched and refinished the original fir floors. The walls are inexpensive pine siding sprayed with white oil paint. The shelves above are 1/4-inch plywood perched on makeshift rods m
Here's Defauw in his living room. He and the rest of the renovation team patched and refinished the original fir floors. The walls are inexpensive pine siding sprayed with white oil paint. The shelves above are 1/4-inch plywood perched on makeshift rods made from 1/2-inch conduit stuck into the studs. "It's all very low-tech and kind of hilarious," says Azevedo. "We were kind of winging it because there wasn't a client per se." Photo by Susanne Friedrich.
5 / 12
A wider view reveals the saving grace in the tiny unit: the "dynamic roofline and a few large openings make the floor plan seem generous," says Azevado. She cut into the roof along the west side of the house and popped a dormer on top, to create more head
A wider view reveals the saving grace in the tiny unit: the "dynamic roofline and a few large openings make the floor plan seem generous," says Azevado. She cut into the roof along the west side of the house and popped a dormer on top, to create more head room and make space for the kitchen, bathroom, entrance, and closet.
6 / 12
The dining area anchors the center of the house, bridging the kitchen and living room. The IKEA table acts as a dining table, an all-purpose worktop, and an extra countertop for food prep. Photo by Susanne Friedrich.
The dining area anchors the center of the house, bridging the kitchen and living room. The IKEA table acts as a dining table, an all-purpose worktop, and an extra countertop for food prep. Photo by Susanne Friedrich.
7 / 12
Azevedo shoehorned a small bathroom next to the kitchen, under the dormer. The etched translucent glass lets light into the main living area and serves as one side of the shower. Photo by Susanne Friedrich.
Azevedo shoehorned a small bathroom next to the kitchen, under the dormer. The etched translucent glass lets light into the main living area and serves as one side of the shower. Photo by Susanne Friedrich.
8 / 12
The bathroom was a "total scavenger project," says Azevedo. The flooring is a scrap of linoleum left over from another project, and the wall is clad in colorful strips of tongue-and-groove wood salvaged from the basement of the main house. "But we didn't
The bathroom was a "total scavenger project," says Azevedo. The flooring is a scrap of linoleum left over from another project, and the wall is clad in colorful strips of tongue-and-groove wood salvaged from the basement of the main house. "But we didn't cheap out: the toilet is a dual-flush Toto Aquia." Photo by Susanne Friedrich.
9 / 12
With two sides made of etched glass, the shower enclosure is "a cool green lantern when lit from within," says Azevedo. The recessed stainless steel shower pan is a custom design made by a Bay Area fabrication shop that's no longer in business. Photo by S
With two sides made of etched glass, the shower enclosure is "a cool green lantern when lit from within," says Azevedo. The recessed stainless steel shower pan is a custom design made by a Bay Area fabrication shop that's no longer in business. Photo by Susanne Friedrich.
10 / 12
Here's the pint-size kitchen on a clean day. The three-foot-deep stainless steel counter was made by Standard Sheet Metal in San Francisco. The under-counter fridge is by Avanti.
Here's the pint-size kitchen on a clean day. The three-foot-deep stainless steel counter was made by Standard Sheet Metal in San Francisco. The under-counter fridge is by Avanti.
11 / 12
And here's the kitchen on a typical day. Clutter is practically unavoidable when your kitchen is a Lilliputian nook.
And here's the kitchen on a typical day. Clutter is practically unavoidable when your kitchen is a Lilliputian nook.
12 / 12
In 2008, when Azevedo arrived on the scene, the carriage house "was a shell with a holy roof, no gutters, and a partly rotted floor. The house was pretty leaky but because there was no insulation or plaster all the water just kind of ran through." Beneath
In 2008, when Azevedo arrived on the scene, the carriage house "was a shell with a holy roof, no gutters, and a partly rotted floor. The house was pretty leaky but because there was no insulation or plaster all the water just kind of ran through." Beneath all the peeling paint, the 7/8-inch redwood shiplap siding was actually in pretty good shape.

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016