Custom Fireplace

Custom Fireplace

This fireplace is the center of a grand scale living room of a Craftsman home. The client’s primary concern was eliminating the raised hearth (trip hazard) and integrating it with the original details of the room, which were many.

Brick veneer lends an earthy tone to the firebox edge.

The original heath trim was salvaged and laid into the floor.

The stone folds up and into the firebox, providing a spot for the materials to land.

No longer a trip hazard, the fireplace is more easily integrated into living with a young family.

Original fireplace with terracotta tile and a raised hearth

Material Matters

Material Matters

I was walking down the street in Berkeley, as I often do, when I saw this house:

“How odd!” I thought. The upper section of the facade looks like it was wrapped in stucco- almost like wrapping paper. Confusing, until I walked past the next door neighbor:

What is going on here?

One can assume these two houses were built at the same time because the design is essentially the same: a craftsman style pitched roof where the upper portion of the facade sits proud of the lower portion. This second house is more closely aligned with the way this house was likely designed and detailed.

How do I know this?

The second facade is a American Craftsman style, which emphasizes the beauty of how the building was put together. Therefore, the structure is clearly expressed using posts and beams within the facade itself. The first house strives to use Mission Style as inspiration for the facade design. In this style, the massive adobe walls function as the structure, so there is no need to delineate pieces of structure.

What is wrong?

What likely started out as a simple need for resurfacing changed the entire nature of the facade design. The stucco siding appears to be covering up the original Craftsman elements, leaving a bumpy, awkward facade.

What would I have done?

Mission style walls are usually thick, or try to appear so. The change in plane is actually an exciting opportunity to really go all the way with the Mission Style redo! I would thicken the front wall to align with the most proud piece of facade. This thickened wall mimics adobe construction resulting in a deep window opening that further reinforces the Mission Style: