Br Cabin Ideas


Phase two was all about creating a room with a view of the creek while preserving the integrity of This new hallway, running along the outside of the original cabin, shows how the architect’s renovation design married old and new.

The renovation increased storage space, including the step-tansu-inspired staircase cabinets and drawers.

More storage was added to the kitchen as well. the original structure. The addition was conceived as a glass box wrapping die existing shingle-style cabin.

Renovating so close to the stream challenged Sonoma architect Amy Alper co determine the best way to support the new living room and hallway addition. The addition roughly follows the outline of an underutilized exterior deck that had to be removed. Structural steel beams and posts, set at deck support locations, carry a can-tilevered floor, achieving maximum allowable new square footage with no added site disturbance.


“With sreel, we were able to cantilever the addition to reach the maximum allowed square footage and to set the new steel posts at only the points where the old [beetle-damaged] deck was supported by wood posts,” explains Alper, who collaborated with a structural engineer on the project.

The dismantled redwood deck members were reused onsite, as were two period windows, to enhance the connection between old and new.

Because Britton had lived in Japan for a number of years, he asked Alper to incorporate an engawa in planning the hallway leading to the new addition. (An “engawa” is an external floor extension on Japanese houses that serves as a walkway.) “1 wanted to infuse the quaint atmosphere of the old Japanese dwellings,’’ explains Britton. Alper was happy to do so. In tact, she found the design of the addition to be a fun blend of past and present, historic and modern.

Br Cabin Ideas Photo Gallery

The bathroom reflects a Japanese influence.

The owners also added to the new “old” look of the cabin by way of reclaimed wood. For instance, all of the wood used for the living room s beams came from dismantled structures in Sonoma Count}’. A custom desk is also made out of salvaged wood with a natural “live edge” triangular slab top designed to fit perfectly into the new living room next to the sofa.

Although the desk is used as a workspace, it also hides electronics and cords for the room (Blu-ray player, stereo, etc.). And the reclaimed beams, which were installed at ten feet to make the room feel more intimate, hide speakers and wiring. “You don’t see any modern technolog}’ screaming out at you,” says Josh.

“Its about rhe marriage of old and new, context and conrrasr, says Alper. “By encasing rhe new living room and new hallway connecting old to new in glass, the cabin became open to the views of the creek and the steep forested hillside beyond.” The new design keeps the indoor temperature comfortable. The summer sun is mitigated by the dense forestation. In the winter, with less foliage, the lower-angled sun warms lip the living area through the glass. The couple did not install air-conditioning since there are typically only a handful of days each year when temps exceed ninety degrees. On those hot days, Josh and Britton may take a refreshing dip in the creek. “Its mountain spring-led, so it’s pretty chilly,” says Josh.

More often, the couple can be found hiking the trails near their property or attending a potluck dinner hosted by a neighbor, l’otlucks are a blessing since neither cooks very often in San Francisco. Still, Britton admits that whenever he’s at the creek, he feels compelled to whip up a big pot of stew especially 011 damp days when he’s inside watching the rain drip through the branches of the redwood trees.

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