Solar Bungalow Remodel/Subtraction Eco Hybrid House
The hybrid house project was an exercise in the the effects of light and the reallocation of space as well as resource efficiency. The result is a light filled and airy bungalow with a generous backyard. Having torn down a sun room that had been tacked onto the original house in the 1930s and demolished a dilapidated detached garage, we went to work remodeling the interior and building a separate studio in a corner of the yard. Even with an addition to the one and only bathroom, the total house footprint is smaller than when we started. The private yard is a sun-drenched urban oasis with mature trees: a Japanese maple, bottlebrush and neighboring plum that bears fruit each spring. Over-sized planter boxes provide growing space for vegetables, flowers and herbs. The new detached studio doubles as a workshop, office or storage room, making the minimal 2-bedroom, 1-bath home more flexible and user friendly.
Inside, by selectively retaining original windows and built-ins but adding dual-pane glass at large openings, we addressed condensation and energy leakage while preserving the home's original charm. The bungalow has a new metal roof, new light fixtures, and is bolted to the foundation. Rooftop solar panels; an instantaneous water heater; wood-burning pellet stove; new fencing; front yard native landscaping; new concrete front stairs and porch; and reorganized internal circulation are among the additional 21st-century upgrades.
Demolishing partitions within the main living space opened the view from front to back through the length of the house allowing the spaces to seem more generous than what is ordinarily maintained in a mere 1100 square feet.
We expanded the bathroom in 1999 by popping out a foot into the side yard under the existing roof eave. After removing the old pink plastic (yes, plastic!) tile, we finished it off with all new fixtures, fittings, mosaic ceramic tile, Corian counter, awning window, custom medicine cabinet and operable skylight.
New kitchen appliances, including a stainless steel venthood and gas range and oven, and new finishes such as a Cumaru floor and soapstone counters, updated the original 1929 kitchen. The entire north wall of the house--spanning living room, dining room and kitchen--retains the classic original built-in casework, including a hinged desk that folds down for writing and disappears into the cabinet when the door is closed.