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Japanese Kit House gets reimagined overlooking the San Francisco Bay

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SHED Architecture & Design is responsible for the transformation of a 1991 Japanese Kit House sited on a bluff overlooking San Francisco Bay in Tiburon, California. Haiku House is the centerpiece of a unique property that consists of four structures — the main house, guesthouse, beach house, and garage dispersed among native and exotic plant gardens that extend from Paradise Dr. down to the Bay.

The main house was a kit house based on a Minka, a traditional Japanese farmhouse and sold by Haiku Houses. Haiku Houses were built using a round log timber frame supporting a large hipped tile roof and typically elevated above the ground. This particular home is constructed with a Douglas Fir structural frame, combed spruce ceilings, and redwood paneling throughout its 3,452 square foot interior… Continue below to see the before/after floorplans! 

Project Team: Architects: SHED Architecture | Contractor: Caletti Jungsten | Structural Engineer: Todd Perbix | Landscape Architect: Arterra Landscape Architects | Lighting Design: Spark Lab

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This project presented several challenges for the architects. The steep concrete driveway and small auto court were difficult to navigate, unsafe, and cumbersome. The driveway also lacked a connection to the main house, while the rear deck was undersized, which did not harmonize with the client’s plans for a new pool.

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The main house felt divided and cramped with a series of small bedrooms and bathrooms on the lower floor and a loft with a sloped ceiling on the upper floor. The owner’s vision for the re-design included large, open living spaces, a better sense of entry, a dedicated home office, a large master suite, and a Zen room.

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On the exterior, a concrete retaining wall was added to flatten and expand the auto court to create a more functional driveway. The entryway was moved to the side of the home to limit noise from cars and create a more distinct entry that is better connected to the new layout of the main floor. The rear deck was expanded to accommodate the new infinity pool and expose sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay.

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What We Love: This Japanese Kit House offers its inhabitants a newly configured layout that is bright and spacious while meeting their lifestyle needs. The architects did a fantastic job of establishing an indoor-outdoor connection with the massive sliding glass doors in the main living area while flooding the interiors with natural light. This also helps to expand the entertaining areas onto a large outdoor deck that provides magnificent views of the San Francisco Bay.

Tell Us: What details in the transformation of this home do you find most intriguing and why in the Comments below!

Note: Have a look at a couple of other home tours that we have featured here on One Kindesign from the portfolio of the architects of this project, SHED Architecture: Midcentury ranch-style house gets inspiring transformation in Seattle and Old barn on Whidbey Island converted into stunning home for entertaining.

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Inside, the staircase was flipped to create a new entryway and a more open layout. The expansive new kitchen and living room boasts magnificent views of the Bay while existing skylights pull light into the space. Functional elements including a coat closet, utility room, office, and Zen room were added to accommodate the client’s request for a living space better suited to their lifestyle.

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Above: Large sliding glass doors were integrated into the new design to create an indoor/outdoor living experience.

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Above: The new layout includes the addition of a meditation room, featuring an Isamu Noguchi lamp, flooring made of tatami mats, and a Murphy bed for visitors.

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Photos: Joe Fletcher / Mark Woods

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John P. Peetz
1 month ago

Very well done. Great new design and nice open floor plan. Really great that you show the floor design before and after the remodel. Nice work.