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McIntyre Residence - San Francisco Bay Area, CA - Richard Beard Architects & The Wiseman Group

Located near San Francisco, this mid-century home needed an update. Nearly fifty years after it was designed by famed Bay Area architect Joseph Esherick and landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, the house had become something of a relic. Modern, muscular architecture concealed a floor plan that was no longer suited for a contemporary lifestyle—the original interiors were surprisingly traditional and divided into a rabbit warren of small-scale spaces. The challenge was to reconfigure the layout and edit the interiors while honoring the large-scale architectural elements that made the house significant.

Key to the renovation was reorienting the living spaces to the large central atrium topped by a dramatic concrete-and-glass ceiling and opening the house to the surrounding landscape. A mix of custom-designed furnishings and period pieces, as well as blue chip art now bathe the home in cool sophistication. Outside, the landscape and pool were restructured to better connect with the home’s interiors. The house, its interiors, and grounds, are now a harmonious expression that gives the home new relevance.

Where does the line sit between changing things and preserving the original character and architectural intention in such a project?

Richard Beard: The character of the house is, and was, defined by a number of distinctive details and materials. Those we preserved, and enhanced. It would have been a shame to turn the house into just another lovely suburban home. What was odd was the compartmentalized plan. At a time when open plans were becoming an innovative architectural approach to composition, this house was comparatively segmented. We carefully opened a few things up, to give a more expansive feeling through the home.

How does the interior negotiate the dramatic and more unusual exterior?

The interior architecture (and The Wiseman Group’s décor and furnishing) plays to the era of the original design without being a slavish period set. Contemporary millwork and materials that are sympathetic to the era are used, but clearly of their time. I find it a huge compliment to not be able to tell exactly where original interior intersects new construction; you just know it’s awfully nice!

What materials were used for the interior, what was at the heart of the design concept?

Most of the materials were those used in the original design: concrete, re-sawn (lovely texture) painted wood interior paneling, Heath ceramics, oak cabinets. The limited palette plays up the contrast with the furnishings and artwork; the palette showcases the ever-present landscape.

Project Credits

Interior Design: The Wiseman Group

Landscape Architect: Strata Landscape Architecture

Lighting Design: Hiram Banks Lighting Design

Contractor: Louis Ptak Construction

Photography by José Manuel Alorda


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