Schicketanz studio brings sensible and sustainable design to Monterey Bay


“We like to have a seamless connection between the concepts of sustainability and design integrity, how it sits on the lot if it’s new and how it relates to the past if it’s a renovation,” explains Schicketanz. Mid-century architect Henry Hill’s latest restoration and reimagining of a rustic modern home on the Monterey Peninsula is no exception. Born in England, Hill was an early pioneer of California Modernism in the Bay Area.

The 1,957-square-foot house was Hill’s private weekend retreat before becoming his primary residence where, over the years, it served as a proving ground for his serious and more whimsical architectural imaginings. “It was Hill’s personal playground,” says Schicketanz. From the outside, the house reads like an assemblage of geometric shapes, with a straight, soaring central volume surrounded by small square and cylindrical spaces. The house began as a 780 square foot cottage, and over the years Hill made several additions, many of which incorporated lighting monitors and fenestration in interesting geometric patterns. “Normally when you work on a historic structure you can find a date when you restore it. That was not possible here, it was a living architectural being until the day it died.

When its clients, a retired couple from Silicon Valley, called on the company to bring the residence into the 21st century, Schicketanz rose to the challenge. The first order of business: what to do with interior surfaces. Hill was as much an artist as an architect, and the interior reflected his many material experimentations.

“Every surface was covered with something,” says Schicketanz. “There were walls with seashells, walls lined with book pages, gilded surfaces, walls with some sort of applied leather tiles.” Rather than retain and generally repair all interior surfaces – and other idiosyncratic aspects of the house, such as a cave-like kitchen and uninsulated building envelope – Schicketanz’s solution was to start with the elements. failing and to update them in the most sensible way. possible.

“Our approach was to do our best to preserve the architecture, and if there were things too far to save, we tried to bring the spirit of Hill to the new interventions,” she explains. . In addition to opening up the cramped interior for better circulation, more light and a stronger connection to the outdoors, Schicketanz also addressed outdated mechanical systems and the uninsulated building envelope by taking many walls up. studs and applying high-performance spray foam insulation where possible and replacing the forced air heating system with a radiant heating system. Several of the original windows have been replaced with double-glazed sashes, but in many cases the original glazing has been retained in order to preserve Hill’s original design intent. The team also prioritized keeping the rough-sawn cedar siding and interior woodwork intact and brought Hill’s inventive and spirited approach to designing new pieces. “The powder room downstairs is completely new, so we’ve taken some of the spirit of Hill by creating a sense of playful glamor with a new custom gold and white mosaic mural featuring an all-over geometric pattern by artist Erin Adams.”

This is an integral part of the Studio Schicketanz design philosophy, not just for mid-century renovations, but for sustainable design as a whole. “The most sustainable approach is to just hold on to what you have,” says Schicketanz. For the company’s homes, many of which are located on impressive waterfront properties in California and beyond, the high value placed on existing conditions is evident. “I always want to build in the most sensible way possible, which means efficient energy footprints and systems, and work with the environment to blend into the landscape so the structure feels integrated rather than an eyesore,” says Schicketanz.

After completing the first LEED-certified home in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Studio Schicketanz continues its commitment to green design today. “We strive to ensure that all homes we build are net zero and we also dabble in being carbon neutral,” says the architect, who recently completed Mal Paso, a net zero home in Big Sur. which is broken into four interconnected pavilions, each of which folds into the hillside, allowing the landscape to flow seamlessly over the green roofs. The company has residential projects on the Monterey Bay and Los Angeles boards, all of which are targeting net zero. “We are so lucky to be building in this incredible coastal landscape, so we need to have the greatest possible respect for the land. I hope our homes will fit even better into the hills and meadows over time


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