Marin Home / BACKSTORY
— made it all worthwhile. One of the key features,
a 10-by-25-foot movable glass wall by Corte
Madera–based Nana Wall Systems, provides a
seamless transition between the living room and
wood deck, with panoramic views of Strawberry
Point, Marin Headlands and Sausalito.
Beyond the obvious aesthetics, the movable
wall and the deck reflect the couple’s keen commitment to energy conservation. “We built the
deck with a wood sun trellis to reduce thermal
gain in the summer months while allowing
for radiant heat transfer in winter,” Erik says.
Other green features like solar panels, energy-
efficient windows and LED lighting likewise
keep PG&E bills extremely low.
A second Nana Wall system at the back of the
house opens from the home’s now-expanded
kitchen to a private slate patio. “The backyard is
mainly gardens and a place where the kids like
to play,” Erik says.
On the lower level, the couple sacrificed
While Natalie and Erik had additional
a two-car garage in favor of a ground-floor
entry door and a guest suite. “With the old
design you walked up a flight of stairs and
entered into what is now our living room,”
Natalie says. They added a media room, which
has become the kids’ favorite hangout space.
And a narrow spiral staircase was ripped out
and replaced with a grand staircase featuring
Cumaru (Brazilian teak) treads and a stain-
less steel railing with tempered glass panels.
upgrades in mind, they burned through their
budget faster than expected and decided certain
items on their wish list would just have to wait.
“We called the contractor and said, ‘OK, you can
stop coming now,’ ” Natalie says with a laugh.
It took a few more years, but with the coffers
replenished yet again, a few of those plans —
repaving the driveway, adding a patio area off the
lower-level family room and adding landscaping
to the front of the house — got the go-ahead.
At press time the couple was contemplat-
ing one more project: revamping the private
spaces, including the master suite and the
children’s rooms and shared bathroom. m
TWELVE YEARS AGO, Erik Larson and Natalie McCullough bought a ’70s-era fixer-upper in the hills of Tiburon. The structure had tons of potential, but the purchase
had maxed out their savings. Making updates,
apart from a few crucial structural fixes, was
out of the question.
“It was really run-down,” Natalie recalls.
“The list of problems on the inspection report
just kept going.” But the couple and their two
young children moved in, with the intention of
tackling the deficiencies once the family piggy
bank felt full again.
Five years after moving in, the couple pulled
the trigger on a 1,500-square-foot bump-out
along with a down-to-the studs remodel of the
home’s public spaces. The family weathered the
construction by hunkering down and cooking
meals alfresco. “We moved the old kitchen to
the yard and tented it,” Erik says.
The living conditions were less than ideal,
but the outcome — a modern, eco-friendly space