Stormy Weather Blues at Golden Gate
I’m sorry the Golden Gate blog and I have been missing in action. After years of suffering the worst drought in a millennium, California was declared a national disaster area in March of this year after a seemingly endless procession of severe winter storms pummeled the West Coast from December through spring. Although I was overjoyed when it rained, it was devastating to see our fragile Golden Gate property drenched, ravaged, and engulfed in a staggering muddy mess. Even if I’d had the spirit and fortitude to navigate the waterlogged job site and take pictures, it would have been impossible.
Pelting rain roared through our front doorway saturating floors and soaking exposed framing. Precipitation spilled into hollow openings where red framed windows and doors were ready for installation, considerably adding to the sopping dankness in rooms on all three levels of the house.
Now the Sun Is Out and Skies Are Blue
Now, thank God, the skies have cleared, the sun is out, the windows and doors are in, and no longer is there wretched standing water all over the job site. The structure is definitively dry, and our resolute crew can work come rain or come shine. And, gratefully, I have recovered from my funky stormy weather blues.
Restoring Character to Golden Gate
In the months following the rain, I doubled my efforts to capture and restore the character of our 100-year-old Spanish Revival dwelling. Above the front entrance, the elegant shape of the elliptical arch repeats the exact curvature of its predecessor of ten decades ago. Within the simple pitched roof façade, diverse window and door shapes replicate their precise original locations from the 1920s.
Nonetheless, we have made significant interior and exterior changes that I feel create a more inviting living space for today’s lifestyle. Stepping into the wide entry, you can now look up 21’ to a ridge beam with a rebuilt asymmetrical roof as it was constructed a century ago. After removing the old 8’ ceiling that concealed the second floor and doomed the original entry to eternal dimness, cheerful light now reaches every corner and crevice of the welcoming space.
A funky diagonal stairway that was initially obscured by a floor-to-ceiling wall in the entry is now visible as it leads to an open balcony on the second floor. At the top of the stairs, two 36” arched doorways to the master suite and the west bedroom bring in piles of light to the upper level that spill down the stairs to the entryway.
These opulent double plywood arches were constructed at the opening to the western chamber where a tiny vestibule leads to an adjacent sunny bathroom, a large closet and a bedroom with south facing windows.
New framing replicated and replaced the west bedroom wall where dry rot and termites eroded much of the room’s structural elements.
Reconstructing Architectural Elements
Downstairs we are recreating the grandiose arched passageway that is the confluence of the dining room, family room and kitchen. The imposing 54” wide by 24” deep opening will ultimately be enveloped with old bricks connecting to a corner masonry fireplace on the left and a floor to ceiling brick wall on the right.
The windows and doors on the south facing exterior wall let in light on all levels with their glass reflecting the blue sky and calm waters of the San Francisco Bay and their reddish-orange color mirroring the Golden Gate Bridge.
The newly built 25’ tall brick turret houses an inner flue large enough to direct ventilation through all four fireplaces contained inside the rangy brick structure that serves the terrace, the family room, the dining room and the master bedroom.
Though we salvaged all the ancient bricks from the original turret, additional bricks for masonry structures were needed inside. So we combined yellow, black, white, orange and pink vintage bricks with the original 100-year-old red bricks to embellish the exterior of the new turret.
Two arched openings between the curvaceous descending plywood scallops expose San Francisco Bay to the south and west. A three-inch-thick granite counter will support a sink, a smoker and a barbeque grill in this compact outdoor kitchen.
Our Talented Team
Our intrepid crew have created all the major structures in the house as well as the hardscape formations scattered throughout the property. We could never accomplish this project without their unwavering energy, skilled expertise and unlimited resourcefulness.
New Vista Throughout the Oaks
The captivating view of the Golden Gate Bridge from the deck of the guest suite as seen through the branches of two spectacular heritage oak trees.
Thank you for following our plodding and erratic yet compelling odyssey. It’s hard to believe we’ve been working diligently on this project since April 2021, enduring a multitude of unwelcome, unexpected and agonizing delays that have regrettably been out of our control. However, our spirits are high since the stormy weather cleared and we are optimistic that we will finish Golden Gate this fall – fingers crossed.
Happy Indian Summer to all of you!