Tranquil Terraced Piedmont by Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects and Regan Baker Design
In maintaining an open connection to the surrounding landscape, Tranquil Terraced Piedmont remains respectfully grounded to its midcentury origins. Originally designed and built in the late 1940s – with additional works completed in 1960 – Tranquil Terraced Piedmont remained unchanged until its most recent renovation.
When the current owners – a couple with young children – first saw the home, it was in a state of deep disrepair. However, they recognised its striking midcentury bones and were drawn to its interesting site layout: the bedrooms in an upper wing, connected via a downhill staircase to a lower wing that housed the living areas. They eventually bought the home, located in Piedmont, a small town 35 minutes east of San Francisco.
Another huge part of the appeal, for a family that loves both entertaining and the outdoors, was the setting, and the landscape played a vital role in directing the overall approach taken by both architect and designer. Both teams saw the surrounding landscape as an extension of the residence, and the refurbishment combines key principles of contemporary liveability with the home’s original midcentury roots. The modernist legacy was also maintained by focusing on enhancing outward connections and ensuring that the interior spaces flowed into one another. Maintaining this open connection inspired the extensive use of glazing to bring in additional natural light and to allow air to naturally ventilate the home. Extended eaves that circulate the form allow a tempering of the interior, controlling unwanted heat and providing shade at the same time.
In elaborating on their approach to the interior, Regan Baker, Principal of Regan Baker Design, explains, “the beauty of owning midcentury homes is the sprawling nature and overall minimal feel… through an emphasis on indoor-outdoor living, we wanted to create a subtle yet sophisticated home that complemented the unique natural beauty surrounding it.” With the Californian climate being so conducive to being outdoors, reinforcing an inside-outside connection was crucial to responding to context.
In generally maintaining the home’s original footprint – while also embracing casual patterns of living – the approach became more about layering new elements among the existing to enhance the original in subtle ways. To bring past and present together, a focus on craft and the detailed junctions within the joinery and furniture were crucial to connecting the eras. A palette of restrained warmth drove the final selections and overall feel, with oak timber flooring a consistent finish throughout. The use of tanned leather among other similar textiles also adds a softness. “A sense of depth, warmth and personality,” was important in their approach, says Regan, “and the selections of each new finish and surface were essential to achieve a warm yet contemporary feel.”
By embracing the existing restraint and clean lines of Tranquil Terraced Piedmont, the reworking ensures the home’s presence continues to balance the softness of the surrounding landscape. The deliberate care and attentive detailing taken by Turnbull Griffin Haesloop and Regan Baker Design to preserve the original midcentury style of the home ensures its heritage will carry forward.