Klopf Architecture remodels a mid-century house at Stanford University


Redwood siding and large expanses of glass feature in a 1960s house in Northern California that was updated by American firm Klopf Architecture.

The project, called Stanford Mid-Century Modern Remodel / Addition, involved a complete renovation of a 1962 home on the Stanford University campus near Palo Alto. It was originally built for a teacher.

The project involved renovating a mid-century property on the Stanford University campus

The two-story timber-clad house – designed by the late Chinese-American architect Roger Lee – was in near original condition when it was purchased by the current owners.

“Customers were able to see past dated materials and finishes, single-pane glass and uninsulated walls,” said San Francisco-based Klopf Architecture.

Mid-century renovation by Klopf Architecture
Exterior update work included replacing redwood siding and enlarging openings

The overall goal was to strengthen the bond between indoors and outdoors and provide more space for a family of four.

“As with many original mid-century modern homes, the home was adapted to the 1960s lifestyle, where rooms were smaller and openings to views were limited and tightly framed,” the architects said.

Stanford Mid-Century Modern Renovation / Addition
A shade of slate covers a patio at the back of the house

“[The clients] approached us to help them expand and modernize the whole house – a house the family could settle in and enjoy for years to come. “

The renovation was to align with Lee’s vision, not only because of clients’ appreciation for Mid-Century Modern architecture, but also because the house has a historic designation. The renovation plans had to go through a strict design review.

Wooden paneling in the kitchen by Klopf Architecture
Rethink the interior layout by opening up the kitchen area

For the H-shaped house, the architects ended up reconfiguring the interior and crushing the walls to add 1,100 square feet (102 square meters) to the floor plan. The project also included converting a carport into a closed garage so that it could be used as storage space.

On the outside, the team replaced the redwood siding and added more glazing. In particular, the windows have been enlarged on the rear elevation to improve the connection of the interior to the landscape.

Monochrome living room
A black and white color scheme was used in the living room

“We were able to widen these views, continuing and extending the original architecture to take full advantage of the unobstructed natural views on the back facade of the house,” the team said.

Inside the house, the rooms have been moved and enlarged. The kitchen, which was once closed and tucked away in a corner, has been opened.

Klopf Architecture added a second staircase to the mid-century renovation
A second staircase was added during the renovation works

“Today, the much larger kitchen is connected to the living room, where a small wall with a cutout provides a visual overview of the kitchen and a convenient passage counter for serving guests,” the team said.

“A new breakfast nook has also been added to create another place where the family can gather for casual meals. “

The living room has been refreshed with a black and white color scheme. An original wood-burning Malm fireplace has been restored and a gas burner has been installed to meet strict California air standards.

Large sliding glass doors give access to a covered terrace.

A bedroom in the mid-century house
Large windows reveal a picturesque environment in the bedroom

“The new deck has been redesigned as an extension of the main salon,” said the architects. “A new slatted pergola above offers homeowners welcome relief from the hot afternoon sun.”

On the upper level of the house, the team enlarged two bedrooms and added a laundry room and a powder room.

The updated design has been retained in the vision of the original architect Roger Lee

On the upper level is also the master bedroom, where the small horizontal openings have been replaced by tall windows. A new corner office overlooks the landscape.

A second staircase has been added to the house, helping to provide a better connection to the lower level of the house.

A bathroom has been added
Green tiles cover the floor of one of the bathrooms

Originally utilitarian in nature, the lower level featured a bathroom, utility room, storage space, and an area linked to a backyard pool with a drain in the center of the floor.

The aging pool has been removed, allowing the team to completely redesign the space on the ground floor.

Laundry room
A laundry room has been added on the upper level

“Without the need for a pool room, we were able to convert the area into a much more comfortable and functional living space with a new family room and a guest suite,” the team said.

The project also resulted in landscape updates, which were done in collaboration with Outer Space Landscape Architecture of San Francisco.

Plans and stones in the garden
Maintaining a connection with the outdoors was part of the brief

Klopf Architecture has remodeled many mid-century modern homes in California, including a plywood-clad four-bedroom dwelling in Palo Alto that was built by visionary developer Jospeh Eichler.

The photograph is by Mariko Reed.

Project credits:

Architect: Klopf Architecture
Team of architects: John Klopf, Klara Kevane, Noel Andrade
Service provider: ORB Construction, Brendan O’Reilly
Structural engineer: Sezen and the Moon
Landscape architect: Cosmos
Furnishings and decoration: Urban planning designs

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