House in Hillsborough, California




Magnolia Court House in Hillsborough, California


This down-to-the-studs renovation is a complete interior, exterior and landscape transformation project.  Pushing the envelope of the city’s exterior modification restriction, the results revealed the hidden qualities of the modest existing house.

The existing upper floor was raised almost three feet to create a high ceilinged light-filled living space on the lower level, which previously was too low to qualify as legally occupied space.  The former dark painted wood clapboard siding was changed to a warm pale yellow plaster finish.  With white stone trim and columns, the new exterior feel is very much more in the Mediterranean vein.

Reorganizing the living spaces and creating a central grand staircase made the house more functional and conducive to wide open indoor-outdoor California-style entertaining.   A flat ceiling was removed to provide for a soaring skylit cathedral ceiling in the upper level great room.  A new patio deck on this level extends the living space out, embracing an old grandiflora magnolia tree adjacent to the house.  A legacy stained glass window of the magnolia was salvaged and refitted opposite the new grand staircase connecting the two floors, and continues the life story of the home connecting past owners with generations of the future.

Landscaping to the edges of the property lines, establishing green focal points at the end of the long axis of the diamond shaped lot fully utilized the outdoor space.  New paths through the woods and landscape afford new opportunities to experience the grounds.  A redwood and travertine finished pool environs, accented with a pergola, completes the Sunset living style backyard.