• Kitchen

  • Skylight

  • Bathroom

  • Bedroom

  • Staircase

  • Exterior detail

  • Exterior

Montclair District, Oakland Hills

Whole house remodel and addition

Location, location, location… was the best thing about this residence before we started the project. In fact, the owners’ initial inclination was to tear down the house and start fresh. Situated on 2.3 acres of pristine land, the site offers stunning views of Mt. Diablo to the east and San Francisco Bay to the west. It feels like it sits atop the world.

The house itself was very dated – an unfortunate experiment in 1970s architecture. Once the owners and the architects (OXB Studio) concluded that a major addition and remodel was the right path, Abacus performed constructability assessments and ran budgets for various scenarios. From the beginning, this project was a true collaboration, spearheaded by the architects, with the owners also very involved in design.

Inspired Make-over

One wonderful aspect of remodeling is how existing conditions often inspire creative solutions. This finished project capitalized on elements that would never have been designed into new construction, but that are wonderful, giving the home its eclectic personality.

One ‘dubious’ feature was a split-level octagonal room with a huge conical faux lava stone fireplace acting as its center column. The architects were brilliant at working with the house, and together we came up with a tension/compression ring system to create a self-supporting structure.

“Our house has been featured in several articles, one of which described it as ‘from funky to fabulous,’ and that’s what happened. We wanted to be very involved with design and materials, and Chas was totally collaborative. And Vince is not only a great site superintendent, but he’s also a very skilled craftsman. Vince is a special talent. He loves complexity and challenges. Jane and Vince worked side-by-side on building and staining the concrete for the fireplace. The result is quite special to us.”

–Jane & Charlie Long, homeowners