San Diego Home/Garden Magazine (February 2006) – Historic Renovation of the Year


La Jolla, CA


February 2006


Carina Woolrich

San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles

Architect Ione Stiegler’s client wanted to work with the existing building envelope in a manner that would maintain the character of a historic 1924 La Jolla home, which had undergone an extensive remodel and rear addition in the 1970s.

The earlier remodel left a lower-level sitting area open to the second-story master bedroom. A staircase at the end of the room forced circulation through a narrow room and limited the room’s seating ability while creating no acoustic privacy for the master bedroom above. The master bath had been placed on the ocean-view side of the house with only one small window facing the view to Wind and Sea Beach.

Stiegler’s new remodel answered the client’s request to improve the circulation pattern through the house, create a home office and second-story porch with views; create a private master bedroom suite with views and fireplace, a usable family room, and a laundry room; regain space in the existing kitchen; remodel one of the downstairs bathrooms; and design a two-car garage with a one-bedroom apartment above.

Stiegler placed a new staircase in the link between original cottage and remodeled family room. This strategy took the circulation pattern out of the family room and created a second-floor central circulation node from which one can enter the master bedroom, home office, exterior deck, or the crow’s-nest loft. The master bedroom floor was extended over the family room, creating acoustical privacy for the master bedroom.

Because zoning prohibits secondary rental units, Stiegler placed the new garage/apartment at the rear of the property in a lot adjacent to an alley that serves both the main house and the rental unit.

All new interior finishes were detailed to blend with the existing home’s extensive use of redwood board-and-batt paneling. The original structure was built of single-wall construction.

“The interior board-and-batt actually is the equivalent of the studs in a conventionally framed house and the exterior siding is placed directly on the back side of the board-and-batt,” Stiegler says. “New redwood board-and-batt interior paneling would have been prohibitively expensive. The 1970s addition had used redwood-faced plywood with applied batts. The current quality of redwood-faced plywood did not match the graining of the existing, so the contractor, after several mock-ups, testing staining, settled on using mahogany-faced plywood and redwood batts.

“Though the home is not historically designated, the remodel was done as if it were,” Stiegler says.

“As several jurors pointed out, some of the material used in the project leaves something to be desired,” says juror Ruth Magnuson. “But these choices also undoubtedly left the owner financially intact. I think what we all liked was the sensitive way in which the addition was handled and the way in which they stayed true to the original design.”