Luckily, he, in particular, was looking for a project. He’d grown up in Sonoma and longed to
be back in the North Bay, partly to be closer to his aging mother. But he also considers himself “a
closet architect,” interested in all elements of design, from choosing materials to drafting plans.
The house, he thought, would be a chance to indulge his inner designer.
After the couple moved in, they lived in the house for a year to get a feel for the property. They
Bored at a business meeting in Washington, D.C., he drew a three-dimensional picture of the
started interviewing architects near the end of that year and knew they’d found their guy when
Alan Ohashi of Emeryville’s ODS Architecture gave his frank assessment: “The house looks like
a dental office, with a big parking lot for all the patients.”
The couple agreed, telling him they wanted a warm, modern home, Ohashi’s specialty. Also,
they hoped to accomplish this by making modest improvements. “But as the project progressed,”
Ohashi says, “the scope got bigger and bigger and more ambitious.”
Besides opening up the house to take greater advantage of the views, the owners also hoped
the place would better suit how they lived. After busy work weeks, he loved to hang out on a com-
fortable couch, watch sports and have a beer, surrounded by nature. She loved to cook. They both
liked to entertain.
house on a piece of binder paper, solving many of the home’s problems by raising the roofline. Back
in the Bay Area, he handed the drawing to Ohashi and ODS’s design director, Philip Liang.
The architects drew up plans, raising the roof by 42 inches and adding clerestory windows along
One of the biggest renovation challenges was taking an existing home and essentially creating a
the upper rim of the house to maximize sunlight. To augment the views through the southeast
windows, they added floor-to-ceiling glass on the northwest side, mostly in the game room, look-
ing out on Mount Baldy and the grove of heritage oaks that line the property. “That was a big part
of this project,” Liang says, “to see the trees kind of rise all around and to create opportunities for
light to come in.”
The owners decided to keep the footprint of the home, adding only a few hundred square feet
to the game room. “We didn’t want to blow everything away, because the budget could easily esca-
late,” he says. In May 2014, they moved out, thinking the remodel would take 14 months. It ended
up taking more than two years.
glass house, says the builder, Dan Nowell of Eden Roc Co. Where walls had stood, he had to install
steel moment frames, superstructures that allow large openings to be created with glass. “It would
have been easier to tear the house down and start anew,” Nowell reflects.