A recent collaboration between the principals of two Bay Area architecture firms resulted in the transformation of a modest Midcentury Modern box home into a statement-making contemporary jewel in Montclair, a tony neighborhood sitting high in the hills above Oakland.
The fruits of Bridgett Shank and Megan Carter’s endeavor have given the “Plus House” unobstructed, 180-degree views of Oakland, San Francisco, and the bay.
“The entire west façade of the building is mostly glazing, and the large opening is an important component in making the indoor-outdoor connection,” say Shank and Carter, of Timbre Architecture and CB Design, respectively.
Indeed, each floor of the two-story, 1,980-square-foot home features 38 linear feet of glass, with the two first-floor bedrooms highlighted by 7-by-14-foot-wide Series 600 Multi-Slide Doors. Above each door is a set of clerestory windows that let in additional California sunshine to the bedrooms.
“The large opening is an important component in making the indoor-outdoor connection.” architects Bridgett Shank and Megan Carter
The two rooms are separated by a glassed-in stair bay that also separates the two halves of the second floor, one half of which includes the living room and the other the kitchen and dining space. “The stair bay helped us delineate the spaces without separating them with walls,” Shank and Carter said.
Topping the stair bay is one of the home’s most unique attributes: a cupola-like structure that Shank and Carter refer to as a light monitor.
“We wanted to keep the original home’s existing ceiling height intact at 8 feet, 3 inches, but we wanted to make sure the space felt open and light-filled,” the architects said. “The light monitor makes the stairwell space feel larger and it provides the vertical height that we were after. Rather than installing skylights, the windows in the light monitor provide a softer light while still allowing you to see blue sky and clouds. In turn, the living room and dining areas on each side feel more intimate.”
Adding to the sense of intimacy is the handsome Douglas fir ceiling, which existed before the remodel. The wood motif appears throughout the home, with maple veneer plywood ceiling on the first floor and teak veneer on the kitchen cabinetry, bedroom closets, and fireplace wall.
“Rather than installing skylights, the windows in the light monitor provide a softer light while still allowing you to see blue sky and clouds.” architects Bridgett Shank and Megan Carter
Of course, it’s the impressive bank of glass on the second floor that’s the true star of the show. Two massive Series 600 Sliding Glass Doors – one for the kitchen/dining area and one for the living room – flank a giant fixed window above the stair bay. Everything opens to an outdoor living space that runs the length of the house. When the sliders are open, a true indoor-outdoor connection is felt, with cool East Bay breezes coursing through the home and majestic, unfettered views of the two cities by the bay in the distance.
Dealer: Associated Building Supply