“This was an extensive renovation of a four-story home nestled in the Berkeley Hills with views of the San Francisco Bay,” architect Luke Wade of Wade Design Architects tells us. “It was originally designed in 1914 by renowned Berkeley architect Walter Ratcliff who was known for his charming blend of historic styles and this home is no exception with its eclectic blend of Craftsman and Bungalow details combined with elements of Tudor and Victorian styles.” The homeowners are a young couple who love to travel and when at home, entertain family and friends. They hoped to preserve the historical character of the home while at the same time modernizing the layout and design to suit their lifestyle.
Luke explains that the primary goal was to reconfigure the home’s partitioned rooms into larger spaces in keeping with modern living, while respecting the home’s historic roots. They combined the kitchen with the living and dining spaces for better flow and added an ample primary suite.
For the interiors, Jennifer Robin of Jennifer Robin Interiors lead the charge. “The home’s historic architecture was the primal inspiration,” she says. “Not only did we want to preserve this character, but we also wanted to highlight it and harmonize the interiors within it. The intent of our design was to make someone experiencing the space second guess what was original vs. what was added. We wanted to blur the lines between old and new.” She also drew inspiration from art and memorabilia the homeowners had collected in their travels. “These gave us subtle cues that guided the palette and textures throughout the home,” she explains.
“Achieving a great outcome with a remodel is much harder than starting from scratch,” Luke admits. “But there’s also undeniable beauty in honoring what has come before and solving for a respectful interplay of history and desire. You have to start with what you are given and make very purposeful choices about what to celebrate and what to disinherit.”
Take a tour of the character-rich home in the slideshow, snagging details from both the architect and designer along the way.