Yolo Avenue, Berkeley

Craftsman (Remodel, Renovation, Kitchen Remodel, Bedroom)

Before we started renovations, this traditional three-bedroom, two-bath Berkeley Craftsman was like Escher’s puzzling “House of Stairs,” with upstairs going down and downstairs going up. A strange, narrow room in the middle of the house squeezed the tiny kitchen against an exterior wall, and everyone avoided the leaky 1970s greenhouse addition in the back. Surrealism is good for art, but not very practical for daily living. Changing the orientation of the staircase from the back to the front of the house created a welcoming entryway, with pretty railings that set the tone for the re-architected Modern Craftsman beyond. We raised the sunken living room floor and opened up the middle of the house, transforming the awkward center room and tiny kitchen into a spacious, inviting kitchen and modern Great Room. Functionally, the new layout allowed for the addition of a primary bedroom suite upstairs, a zen-like retreat with gorgeous views to the north and west. Today, the family on Yolo is feeling less frantic and more relaxed in their flowing, open space. Which is just what they wanted. After all, you only live once.

Contractor: Ry Miller, Madrone Builders
Photography: Mo Saito