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Stuart Street, Berkeley

Our second project for Ben and Jaime Brunetti of Berkeley’s Urban Homestead.  They purchased this little Berkeley bungalow with the intention of expanding and updating it for resale.


Ben and Jaime have a great sense of style.  Our work on this project consisted mainly of coming up with a good architectural plan that improved the flow of the original house, opened up the interior spaces, and added a much-needed master suite and family room.  While we often spec all of the interior finishes on our projects, we’ve learned that Jaime and Ben do a fabulous job.  Our combined efforts have created a wonderful “new” home in Berkeley.


This house had obviously been neglected for years and was in need of some love.  An attached “atrium” structure had been added at the back of the house and was literally falling down.  The original house was structurally sound, but it needed to be gutted and all of the plumbing and electrical needed replacement.


Ben and Jaime wanted to open up the existing living areas of the house and replace the atrium structure with an addition that included a master suite and a family room.  The idea was to turn the 950 square foot two-bedroom, one-bathroom house into a contemporary three-bedroom, two-bath with plenty of room for a family.  With the new addition, it is now an efficient 1600 square feet.


We accomplished all of our clients’ goals and were even able to add in an office space next to the family room.  The resulting residence has a large family room with a large wall of glass that opens up to the back yard.  A new kitchen with an island is now the heart of the home.  And the formerly compact living space that had been divided up into separate rooms feels amazingly spacious.

All of the windows were replaced, and a few more windows and skylights were added to the original structure to increase the amount of light entering the home.  The existing bathroom got a big upgrade with a new tub, vanity, tile and lighting.  New flooring went in, the house’s systems were replaced, the walls and ceilings were insulated, and new smooth sheetrock was installed throughout.


The new addition features a comfortable master bedroom with an attached bath with double sinks.  A walk-in closet completes the space.  We placed large windows at either side of the bed to bring in lots of light.


The centerpiece of the addition, however, is the family room.  We vaulted the ceilings and put in a big sliding glass door that opens to the new back yard deck.  An office space is adjacent to the family room.  It also serves as the connection between the family room and the original house.


The exterior of the house was freshened up with some contemporary details, but still reflects its bungalow heritage.  New drought-tolerant landscaping in front reflects the clean lines of the new house.  And in back, the jungle that was there previously is now a calm oasis with a large deck, new plantings, and a beautiful new fence.


This project was perhaps our biggest transformation.  Thanks for choosing us to do your architectural work Ben and Jaime.  We look forward to working with you again in the future!

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