Capri I

Project Objectives


The goal of this Southern California project was to remodel an existing home so that it would accommodate the lifestyle of a couple on the verge of becoming grandparents. Our client had some innovative ideas for modernizing their retirement home. Not only did they want it to fit in with the neighborhood context, but they also wanted to explore an idea that very few people were considering in the 1990s—the idea of indoor-outdoor living. With a more temperate climate than what they were used to in their native Ohio, the owners wanted to arrange their indoor and outdoor spaces to make dining and entertainment just as easy to host outside as it was inside.

The home was to include:
  • Features to enhance outdoor entertainment, a mainstay of the couple’s Midwest lifestyle.
  • A reconfigured pool that recovered green space previously covered by concrete.
  • A modernized layout to showcase views of the picturesque golf course adjacent to the property.
  • A genuine slate roof like those on the most elegant homes in the couple’s native Ohio.
  • Three bedrooms, remodeled from the original four to create a guest suite ideal for visiting family and friends.
  • His-and-hers master baths with an interconnected shower area.
  • Skylights to brighten the home’s interior.
  • Doorways and windows accented by the prestigious look of traditional copper flashing.

Project Objectives


The goal of this Southern California project was to remodel an existing home so that it would accommodate the lifestyle of a couple on the verge of becoming grandparents. Our client had some innovative ideas for modernizing their retirement home. Not only did they want it to fit in with the neighborhood context, but they also wanted to explore an idea that very few people were considering in the 1990s—the idea of indoor-outdoor living. With a more temperate climate than what they were used to in their native Ohio, the owners wanted to arrange their indoor and outdoor spaces to make dining and entertainment just as easy to host outside as it was inside.

The home was to include:



  • Features to enhance outdoor entertainment, a mainstay of the couple’s Midwest lifestyle.
  • A reconfigured pool that recovered green space previously covered by concrete.
  • A modernized layout to showcase views of the picturesque golf course adjacent to the property.
  • A genuine slate roof like those on the most elegant homes in the couple’s native Ohio.

  • Three bedrooms, remodeled from the original four to create a guest suite ideal for visiting family and friends.
  • His-and-hers master baths with an interconnected shower area.
  • Skylights to brighten the home’s interior.
  • Doorways and windows accented by the prestigious look of traditional copper flashing.



Challenges


There were several challenges facing this project, including:

  • Structural accommodations and reconfigurations: the walls had to be reinforced in order to support the added weight of the new slate shingles.
  • Site drainage solution with ingenuity: collaboration was required with the neighboring golf course to route storm water from the site across the property line and tie into the shared drainage system, rather than risk it running undirected onto the course.
  • Repaired HVAC system: during demolition, it was discovered that the supply air duct for the home was subterranean and pitched so that it was perpetually flooded, making it nearly impossible to move heat throughout the home. The duct work needed substantial reconfiguration to supply the home appropriately.
  • Reconfigurations to optimize use of space: Our client didn’t plan on using formal living spaces. So to take the best advantage of the existing space, entryways had to be moved around to repurpose the rooms, making sure that the ones used most often would face the backyard and golf course.
  • Innovative indoor/outdoor living ideas: while the lot was large enough to accommodate an addition, the owners had no desire expand the home’s footprint. Their priority was to retain as much green space as possible while also making it functional for entertaining.
  • Cohesive design: with a large team of designers and subcontractors on board, the client decided to entrust the architect to lead the team that integrated all of the desired design features and functions so the home would stay true to a single aesthetic instead of an incongruent pastiche.


“We have our dream home! The design fits us to a tee. The whole home was designed as a single congruent design with grace and style. Jim was attentive to every detail and worked tirelessly to ensure the project was of the highest quality. We could not be happier with the results. Our eternal thanks to you Jim!”

– Private Owner

Solution


This is the original “work with a house with good bones” story. Built in 1967 and refinished in 1971, this property was originally a model home for a now-neighboring subdivision. Over the years, the adjacent lots were developed, not with similarly-designed homes but with custom architecture from a variety of builders, in a variety of styles. It was ideally suited for a full-scale renovation, rather than a tear-down/replacement.

Capri I Jim Balding ArchitectureThe first step was to bring the infrequently-used rooms, like the dining room and living room, to the front of the house. By moving the front door to the left of the existing entryway and creating a doorway between these newly repurposed spaces, a more open formal area could welcome guests to the home. Also, the new, more natural traffic flow now draws visitors to the back of the home where the cozier areas took shape in view of the yard and the golf course adjoining the property.

The primary improvement to the home’s exterior involved bringing a little bit of the couple’s old home to their new one. In their hometown, a slate roof was a sign of distinction. To replace the existing roof with slate required structural modifications to support the increased weight. While fortifying the structure, some aesthetic changes were made to the mansard-style roofline. This updated the traditional look of the home without fundamentally changing the overall architectural style. This update helped the home fit on a street where all the other homes are custom-designed.

After these adjustments were made to the interior layout and structure, the focus was on the outdoor living spaces. While we may take the idea of sophisticated outdoor dining space for granted now, the design of this space was revolutionary a generation ago. The design of this outdoor living space is still cutting-edge by today’s standards.

A planter wall separated an area ideal for sit-down dining, accommodating 20 guests while still feeling intimate. A built-in barbecue and a refrigerator eliminated the need to run back and forth to the kitchen inside for every last ingredient for a meal. The backyard pool, formerly too large for the yard, was reconfigured to add tanning and dining islands while simultaneously recovering green space previously covered by concrete. Some of this green space was even converted to a six-hole putting green.

The final objective was to ensure a consistent, coherent look to the overall design. This is difficult to achieve when making changes as dramatic as those made during this project. The architect coordinated the consulting engineers and designers to achieve this vision, using arches as the unifying element. Ornate and stately arches can be found in doorways and above windows, as well as in backyard arbors and framing the fireplace inside.

Tools

AutoCAD, pen-and-ink, trace paper, and lots of meetings. A new technology at the time, AutoCAD was used extensively on this project. It was used to locate drains in the deck, planters, and open areas of the backyard in order to ensure both optimum functionality without compromising aesthetics. The drawings were so complete, literally, every brick on the pool was accounted for during design. The exact number of bricks needed for the project were ordered, and no extra were left over or required afterward.

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