Ryan Leidner Architecture deliver a minimalist’s delight by stripping a 1960s Eichler home back to its foundations.
A leader of mid-century modernist homes, Joseph Eichler defined ‘California Modern’ for many years – but with this thoughtful update by San Francisco-based practice Ryan Leidner Architecture, consider the definition updated.
Located in one of Silicon Valley’s most enviable locations, the house is home to a pair of designers and their young family, who fell in love with the property on the first visit but were keen to gently bring the home into the twenty-first century. Turning to Ryan Leidner Architecture, their aim was to ‘reimagine the house’ for a new era, preserving the home’s best features while improving its energy efficiency, comfort and flow.
A thoughtful and thorough renovation by the architects peels back the many layers of remodelling the home had endured over the years, exposing the clean minimalism below. Shag carpet, mirrored walls and old cabinets made way for exposed wood ceiling and beams, sliding glass doors and Carrara marble. Walls were removed to create a more open floor plan that flows out to the landscapes outside. Almost every room in the house opens out to the lush landscapes designed by Stephens Design Studio, with the greenery of the gardens balancing out the pared-back material palette of the home.
The home’s contemporary sensibility is further reinforced by its textures and furnishings. What at first seems like a simple white palette and a handful of designer pieces is anything but. Large-format porcelain tiles and white oak accents add subtle definition to the bathroom and kitchen spaces, while the front facade of the home is refreshed with re-clad red cedar strips, which work to both echo the original grooved plywood and conceal a garage door. This is minimalism at its best: design working hard to both satiate the aesthetic intention of a space while adding function and structure.
Without losing its mid-century modern foundations, this home is now even more of a sanctuary from the bustle outside, a functional family space and a paean to clean, sophisticated simplicity.
This feature originally appeared in est Magazine issue #37.
“There’s really something magical about being in the lush atrium garden and being able to see through the living room and out to the backyard. It’s like the house de-materialises in a way and yet is still so present.”
– Ryan Leidner