D a n i e l   R u a r k ,   A r c h i t e c t

Custom Residential Architecture

Live/Work Conversion

Berkeley, California

The client was a developer who acquired two adjoining properties, each containing existing single-story/single family residential structures.  The location of the project was on Berkeley’s west side, just south of University Avenue and within easy walking distance to the desirable shopping and restaurant district on Fourth Street.

The client’s program was to renovate and adapt the structures into live/work units.  The single family component would be maintained on the one level as previously.  A new ground floor office space would be built below each.  This required raising the structures by nearly four feet higher than existing (they were originally built with a fairly tall “crawl” space below which had been used for storage).

A new center driveway was created to pass between the buildings and access a new parking court in the rear yard.  The court provides adequate space to satisfy City requirements as well as conceal parked vehicles behind the buildings, freeing up the front yard to be attractively landscaped.

The original “Edwardian” architectural style was maintained in the renovation, also in keeping with the existing context of the neighborhood.  Most all of the exterior material and trims were replaced due to the dilapidated condition of the original structure but were carefully matched with locally available resources.  All windows were replaced with aluminum clad insulated units.

The residential spaces within are fairly contemporary in contrast to the exterior, primarily due to a more pleasant spaciousness created by carving out unused attic space and converting it into a loft that looks over and down to the living/dining spaces blow.  The roof is punctuated by a series of skylights that fill the space with generous quantities of natural daylight.  New oak hardwood floors installed throughout, along with attractively coordinated bathrooms and kitchens appointed with ceramic tile work, granite countertops, choice plumbing fixtures and plenty of direct/indirect lighting.