They parted ways with two architects before finding the right one

When Gagan and Jasmin Arneja purchased a designed Bay Area hillside home in 1975, they knew it would need some work. But with large windows offering sweeping views of San Francisco and interiors lined with distinctive red plywood, there was a lot about the house that they liked.

So, after closing in 2011 for about $1.5 million, they moved in without a change. “We believe it takes at least three to four years before you understand the quirks and pros and cons of a home,” said Ms. Arneja, a photographer. “We didn’t want to tear it down or remodel it before we had a chance to get to know the house.”

Mr Arneja, a software engineer at Arista Networks added: “The house changes with the seasons, noting that the house, designed by architect Albert Lanier, has an overhang that allows the interior to flood with light. Sunlight in winter, at the same time shading. it’s in the summer – which they wouldn’t understand if they didn’t live there.

The couple, who are over 40 years old, can’t help but realize their shortcomings. The three-story home is nestled into a hillside, with the main entrance and main living space at the top. But the bedrooms, on one floor below, appear shabbyly finished, and the lower floor remains unfinished. The house also has underperforming single-door windows, and its original kitchen and bathroom are in dire need of an update.

By 2016, Arnejas was finally ready to make some changes, but they weren’t looking to make a facelift. They wanted to keep the redwood they loved, while expanding the house to make it more comfortable for family visits (Mr Arneja’s parents sometimes stay for months when visiting from India), improve energy efficiency, replace 1970s furniture and appliances, and add a few stylish touches to make it their own.

Finding the right architect for such a job is not easy. They interacted with one person, but they soon realized that they had very different ideas about how the house should be updated. They switched to a different design, but also found the design he suggested was too heavy.

“It was like going through bad relationships,” Ms. Arneja said. “The house needs an architect who is not dominated by ego and who is mature enough and confident in his ability to undertake the renovation of a home with a strong and unobtrusive architectural identity. felt like they had to leave their mark. . ”

Fortunately, Monica Viarengo, a landscape designer who consulted with the couple’s second architect, believes she knows the right person for the job: her husband, Brett Terpeluk, the principal of Studio Terpeluk. When Arnejas met him, it felt like a perfect match.

Mr. Arneja said: “I think Brett’s sensibility leans towards Italian sensibility. “It’s not about creating these clean, modern, blank lines; it’s really about, on the whole, how warm everything feels. ”

Mr. Terpeluk saw why the couple wanted to keep it so. “When I entered the house, the architecture really resonated with me,” he said. “It has a beautiful, almost mystical quality, in the way that space envelops you. Taking a curated approach to maintaining that, while also upgrading the house, is the right approach. ”

His plan calls for the expansion and completion of the bottom floor, to make space for an office and a media room with a kitchenette overlooking a new garden designed by Ms. Viarengo; updated the bedroom and bathroom on the second level; and surgical additions to the main living spaces on the top floor.

Throughout, Mr. Terpeluk worked with Beatrice Santiccioli, a color consultant, to overlay new architectural elements with unexpected colors. The refurbished kitchen cabinets are finished in pale pink and mint green lacquer, and a nearby console table is covered in sunny yellow. The master bedroom has built-in wardrobes in aubergine tones and the connecting bathroom has similarly colored mosaic tiles.

Every floor has access to the outdoor space, including the garden, courtyard and balcony, primarily through floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors.

Underfoot, Mr. Terpeluk installed whitewashed Douglas fir flooring with deep brown slats, restored from the old piers where the house had previously had dark stained oak. He then ties all three floors together with a sculptural folding steel staircase with handrails like a shepherd’s crook. Terpeluk says going downstairs is “a kind of cinematic experience”, as it crosses different colors of different levels.

Arnejas moved out when their contractor, Saturn Construction, began work in the fall of 2017 and returned to their finished home in the summer of 2020, after spending approximately $500,000 on renovations. It took nearly a decade to dream, design and build, but now that their 3,200-square-foot home is complete, they know their patience has paid off.

“We use each part of the house every day as they move between spaces to sleep, work, eat and relax,” says Ms. Arneja. And when no one is with them, she adds, the guest room will be like a gym.

“The end result is a house that is different from what we started with, but without destroying what is already here,” Mr. Arneja said. “It strengthens it.”

For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, Register here. Follow them on Twitter: @nytrealestate. They parted ways with two architects before finding the right one

Fry Electronics Team

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