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New second story even brightens the ground floor.

Limitations can create opportunities. When Karen and Ron Wolyn wanted to add a new master bedroom to their house on a tight lot in Foster City, California, the only way to go was up. San Mateo architect John Matthews saw the necessary upward push for bedroom space as a chance also to brighten ground-floor living areas.

Though the original living room had a high, angled ceiling, it was dark and cut off from other parts of the house. Only one wall contained windows, and those were too low to brighten the room.

To accentuate the verticality of the living room, Matthews made its higher endnear the front door into a two-story stairwell with a loft-like study on the upper level. A bridge leading from this loft to the new master bedroom (built above the existing kitchen and family room) overlooks the living room.

New windows along two walls of the loft-and a row of clerestories above the bridge-send light down into the living room below.

From the street, it's hard to tell that the second floor was not part of the original house. Matthews carefully matched the existing roof pitch, eave treatment, and gutter details.
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Date:Sep 1, 1988
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