written by:
photos by:
March 25, 2014
Faced with the unique challenge of renovating the work of mid-century master, design principal Stephen Shoup of building Lab worked to replace austerity with intimacy. Adding fencing and windows, he softened this San Rafael, California, Eichler home, providing a sense of filtered connection between the home, its landscape, and its history.
the exterior of a renovated Eichler home at night
As grand as it ever was this renovated Eichler home in San Rafael, California, exudes warm light into the California hills. Photo by: Scott Hargis
Photo by 
1 / 9
the front door of a renovated Eichler home in the early evening
The 1,570 square-foot home's entryway features a slatted fence that diffuses light and adds privacy to Eichler's original design. Photo by: Scott Hargis
Photo by 
2 / 9
the renovated kitchen in an Eichler home in California
Building Lab's renovation of the home used the kitchen as the hub around which the home's public spaces were organized. Photo by: Scott Hargis
Photo by 
3 / 9
a view from the kitchen of a renovated Eichler into the backyard
Another view of the kitchen stresses the openness between the kitchen and the home's dining room. The insertion of a large window in the dining room opens the two spaces even further. Over the ¼” Richlite Grays Harbor countertop, the backyard is clearly visible. A red stove by Dacor Range rests in the forefront of the image. Photo by: Scott Hargis
Photo by 
4 / 9
the dining room of a renovated Eichler
The dining room's soft color palette combines with its profusion of natural light to produce a sense of calm and spaciousness. Photo by: Scott Hargis
Photo by 
5 / 9
a view of the renovated home's living room by day
The expansive windows facing the home's backyard also amplify light in the living room. Grounding grey and russet brown furnishings meld the open, airy space with the light brown fencing just visible outside. Photo by: Scott Hargis
Photo by 
6 / 9
the renovated exterior of an Eichler home's living room by night
By night, the living room gives off light instead of taking it in. WAC Recessed lighting, as well as lamps by Vibia and Nelson Bubble softly illuminate the living space. Photo by: Scott Hargis
Photo by 
7 / 9
the fencing surrounding the frontyard of a rnovated Eichler home in California
A key aspect of the renovation was ensuring the privacy of the resident, whose frontyard formerly exposed the home to the road. At five feet high, this slatted fencing encloses just enough: providing privacy without isolating the home from its setting. Photo by: Scott Hargis
Photo by 
8 / 9
a view of the renovated Eichler from the far corner of the backyard by night
A wall of windows provides a smooth transition between indoor and outdoor spaces in this renovated home. Open to the fenced-in yard, the patio is as intimate as the living room and bedroom just inside. Photo by: Scott Hargis
Photo by 
9 / 9
the exterior of a renovated Eichler home at night
As grand as it ever was this renovated Eichler home in San Rafael, California, exudes warm light into the California hills. Photo by: Scott Hargis

It can't have been easy for design principal Stephen Shoup to consider altering a home built by developer Joseph Eichler. Spotting the California coast, many of Eichler's homes have been added to the National Register of Historic Places as landmark homes. But with mid-century modern half a century away, masterworks by developers including Eichler need restoration.

Operating with awareness of the ingenuity of the original floorplan, Shoup sought to maximize this San Rafael, California, home's simplicity and clarity. Beginning with the kitchen, Shoup and his team sought to maintain and augment the sense of connection between public spaces. Adding a window to the home's dining room provided a clear vision of the backyard to those standing in the home's open concept kitchen. To compensate for the exposure of the added glass, building Lab also added a five foot high slatted Eichler Breckenridge Thinline fence around the property.

Once open to the road, the home's new fencing brought a sense of closure and consolidation that allowed interior and exterior spaces to meld and contrast in complementary ways. The home's frontyard, once alienated from its structure, was beckoned into discreteness and folded into the home's floorplan as an atrium or a courtyard-style foyer to the main house. The fencing drew the home's inner spaces outwards, integrating the home's landscaping with the design scheme of its interior spaces.

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
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
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