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Credit the tall white wall.

Slicing through the interior and thrusting into the landscape, a dramatic white wall visually and structurally salvages a house that once had a myriad of problems. Originally the house had a flat roof with deep overhangs, so the interior seemed dark and cut off from the landscape. A series of previous remodels had left a hodgepodge of rooms and a confusing entry location. Worse yet, inadequate foundations and expansive clay soil had caused cracked floors, doors that wouldn't open, and a leaky roof.

San Jose architect Michael Lorimer of CZL Associates used the wall to support a new pitched roof. He mounted the wall on concrete pier foundation sunk 12 to 18 feet into the soil. Lorimer also added a new masonry fireplace and steel frames for reinforcing.

Outside, the wall projects in two directions. At one end, a framed 13-1/2-foot-tall opening announces the location of the new entry to arriving guests. At the other end (the family room-kitchen wing), the wall projects 24 feet, angles across a corner, and turns to screen the pool area and make a triangular poolhouse. A deck, following the line of the wall, unifies the poolside area.

Inside, the wall defines one side of a central hall between the living and dining rooms, then turns a corner and enters the spacious family room-kitchen wing. (The bedroom wing was left undisturbed.) Besides reorganizing the traffic flow, the wall let Lorimer add a row of clerestory windows to light interior rooms.

Indoors and out, white clapboard siding gives the wall continuity and texture. For contrast, the rest of the exterior siding was painted gray. Inside, the lapped siding takes on a shadow pattern as it reflects and softens sunlight from the clerestory windows.
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Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:reinforcing house structure
Date:May 1, 1985
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