Klopf Restores a Roger Lee-Designed Midcentury Modern

General / People / Places / December 29, 2021

A 1962 Roger Lee-designed midcentury modern in Stanford, Calif. – basically untouched from years of deferred maintenance – has been masterfully restored and respectfully expanded by Klopf Architecture.

The San Francisco-based architects added 1,100 square feet to the redwood and glass structure. They expanded bedrooms, added a guest bedroom, and transformed a basement into a family room. Where a cracked swimming pool was once little more than an eyesore, they created a patio for indoor/outdoor living and dining.

“What’s interesting is that it was easily expanded, with great space and floorplan,” says project architect Klara Kevane. “It fell in place pretty quickly, because it has good bones and good design – and we built on that.”

The new structure is unified with the old, its addition blending in with the original. “This architect was recognized throughout the Bay Area and we wanted to work within the architecture he created,” says John Klopf, founder of the firm that bears his name. “So, we worked with the roof slope and the general layout with the living areas on one side and the bedrooms on the other.”

Inspired by Lee’s design, the Klopf team worked to bring it up to 21st-century standards and needs. For example, there’s now a home office off the living space on the upper level with views out to the third-of-an-acre lot – and beyond. “That was the design strategy – to open it up to the lot,” he says. “And now it’s perfect for working from home and feeling connected to the house and the views down to the living room – they feel connected to the whole property,” he says.

Klopf says they employed the Japanese concept of borrowed landscape to break down barriers in the rooms and make it feel like the rooms align with the tree line outside They added skylights to open up the stairway, making bright and airier at the top – and below.

“You can see straight down from the stairway to the new family room,” Kevane says. “There was not a lot of daylight before – there was a doorway, but now it’s lit up to the family room – you can see down to a very bright area below.”

Past the edge of the property are the semi-desert California hills, dried-out and golden-brown in the summer, and a lush green in winter. “The views are to the rear of the lot,” Klopf says.

And they’re visible upon entry. “Internally we opened it up between the views and the living space,” he says. “We opened it up at entry gallery, a glass hallway – you go left to the living room, straight to the outdoors, and right to the main living space.”

All in all, this home is now an updated, classic midcentury modern – with access to vistas, both internal and external.

For more, go here.


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Michael Welton
I write about architecture, art, and design for national and international publications. I am the author of "Drawing from Practice: Architects and the Meaning of Freehand" (Routledge, 2015), and the former architecture critic for the News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C.




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