Hillside Tower

Berkeley, CA

This 1970s Sea Ranch-inspired Berkeley shingle house was in need of a major update when it was purchased in the late 1990s. The house was in poor repair and earlier remodels poorly executed. With drafty single-glazed aluminum windows, dirty white carpeting, a dark, confined kitchen, and a chopped up, uninviting interior, a major intervention was clearly in order.

Working in stages, we gutted the house inside and out and remodeled and rebuilt everything except for the very solid foundation. The original house was clad with cedar shingles from the ground to the roof accentuating the vertical lines of the house. We replaced the shingles on the lower floors with wide bands of moss-green stucco and aluminum trim giving the vertical structure visual grounding. We replaced the cedar shingles on the upper levels with fresh ones and altered the coursing of the shingles on the stair hall bay to work with the new aesthetic.

Starting with the already solid foundation, we elected to re-engineer the house to the current seismic code. This involved moving windows to give better shear walls, adding new plywood sheathing and nailing, new seismic hardware, new bottom plates, and anchor bolts. All the windows were replaced, a new comp shingle roof  was added, and the wooden deck was replaced with a tile deck.

Inside we opened the kitchen up to the living area and to dramatic views of San Francisco Bay and Mt. Tamalpais. New gas fireplaces were added in the living room and master bedroom, which efficiently heat the individual floors. The kitchen and both bathrooms were entirely remodeled. Bamboo flooring was used throughout. Other unusual materials in this project include the turquoise Marmoleum kitchen floor and the black Fireslate countertops.


Rutherford and Singlestad Construction
1312 South 50th Street
Richmond CA 94804

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