Kuth Ranieri Architects Revamps a Bay Area Midcentury House for a Downsizing Parent

The 2,500-square-foot dwelling had “good bones” but required a new kitchen, exterior, and landscaping, as well as contemporary designs by the likes of Tom Dixon and Heath Ceramics.
Kuth Ranieri Bay Area Midcentury House Renovation

New wood platform steps significantly clarified the site’s circulation paths (the house is located just downhill from the road). The building’s exterior was re-clad with vertical cedar siding for improved appearance, durability, and weight. Courtesy Bruce Damonte


For this recently-completed renovation by San Francisco–based Kuth Ranieri Architects, both the property and the client were in need of a sweeping change.

“The house had good bones, but it was really segmented and was very of the time,” says project manager Ethen Wood about the midcentury Modern residence located in Marin County (just north of San Francisco) and dubbed the Hillside Courtyard House. “We wanted to open it up and increase the light and visual connectivity within the house,” which measures approximately 2,500 square feet.

The homeowner, who had also employed Kuth Ranieri Architects for an extensive remodel of her previous house, wanted a new dwelling for the new phase of her life: Her three children, all of college and post-college ages, no longer lived with her full-time.

“We encouraged her to have some time in the house before” beginning design and construction, explains design principal Elizabeth Ranieri. “It changes your perspective on things. You understand your habits, the spaces you’re drawn to, what works and what doesn’t work.”

A few months later, they had a plan. To increase privacy, the architects designed and installed a new fence and a series of wood platform steps that descend to the house’s entrance and courtyard. These moves give the house “a much more defined sense of entry and space,” Ranieri says. Interior designer Elena Calabrese selected furnishings to complement the architects’ vision, while landscape architect Nancy Kent oversaw a plant palette that harmonizes with the outdoor hardscape features.

Here are more details of the results:

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Categories: Architecture, Residential Architecture, Residential Interiors