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Bungalow rockets into the 1990s.

WALLS CAME DOWN, CEILINGS ROSE, AND FACE TO STREET GETS A BOLD NEW LOOK

Out went the tired furniture, interior walls, and 8-foot ceilings. In came lofty, angular volumes brightened by skylights and a stylish collection of contemporary furniture. And up went a front wall that presents a bold new look to the street.

These visual pyrotechnics rocketed a 1,250-square-foot post--World War II bungalow into the 1990s. Remarkably, the remodel that brought about this radical transformation involved only a few modest additions. The striking geometric facade and the airy interior artfully disguise the fact that much of the original house remains intact.

PUTTING UP A GOOD FRONT

If you think of the classic false-front buildings that once lined the dusty streets of Western towns, you'll get an idea of how the street-facing side of the house changed.

A 15-foot-tall wall now rises across the front of the original squat house, giving it a more imposing mass and introducing some of the geometric design themes--squares, triangles, and stair-steps--that continue through the interior. From the side, though, you can see that the old shallow-pitched roof is still there, butting into the new facade, which masks views of skylights, vents, and shingles.

The wall enclosed a covered porch, adding 8 feet to the living room. The front door was repositioned out of view behind a short curved section of wall.

RAISING THE CEILINGS--STEP BY STEP

The front door opens into the low end of the expanded, 20-foot-long living room. From a soffit just above door height, the ceiling now rises to a 13-foot-high ridge at the back wall of the living room, unfettered by the removal of the old ceiling joists and braces. It follows the slope of the original roof, but not in an uninterrupted pitch; instead, it reaches its apex in stages.

Not counting the soffit above the door, there are four level changes in the ceiling, which looks like the underside of a broad staircase. Each 9-inch level change is created by a 2-by-10 "riser" that spans from a center wall to an exterior side wall. The 2-by-10s tie to and support the roof rafters.

A 3-foot-wide peaked ridge runs the width of the house, connecting the end of the living room with the center of the master bedroom. There, a similarly stairlike ceiling descends from both sides of the ridge, stepping down to a wall of closets on the street end and to French doors and garden views at the other.

SCULPTED WALLS, DAYLIT HALLS

The house's vertical surfaces--its walls, windows, and cabinets--are subtly sculpted with squares, rectangles, circles, and triangles.

Living room walls were double-framed to accommodate stud-thick shadow boxes that frame paintings, provide shallow storage, or just relieve a blank wall. These recesses add depth, mass, and texture to the walls, an effect heightened when light washes across the openings and casts short shadows.

Circular windows set near the peak at the ends of the center ridge emphasize its height while providing daylight and privacy. Squares of glass repeat in the windows of the living room, the doors of kitchen cabinets, and a procession of windows in the long wall connecting the living room, kitchen, and dining room.

The Los Angeles remodel, by architect Jeffrey Michael Tohl of The Architecture Studio, has inspired owner Jim Gallagher to choose furniture and artwork that complement the interior's clean, graphic lines. A painting he commissioned for the living room even contains a square window the exact size and at the same height as the real ones sharing the wall with the canvas.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Whiteley, Peter O.
Publication:Sunset
Date:Apr 1, 1992
Words:593
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