A tranquil retreat with strong outdoor ties and opportunities to display treasured mementos was the client's mandate for her second home, overlooking the bay in Sausalito, Calif. Architect Barbara Brown's interest in sustainable architecture and clean design also appealed to the homeowner. What was once a dark bungalow with a choppy floor plan and no front door (not to mention a few spots of wood rot) is now an open, light-filled haven, thanks to Brown's resolve and the owner's open mind. “The most important thing you can do is reuse,” says Brown. “It doesn't go into a landfill, it keeps the house from getting too big, and it's more economical for the client.”

Transforming the existing cramped kitchen was a priority for the owner, who often cooks for her visiting kids and grandkids. Brown enlarged the kitchen and connected it to the living and dining areas to enliven the entire level. Knocking down walls necessitated designing clever yet compact storage such as a pullout pantry that moonlights as a whatnot for antique Japanese baskets. A second oven allows for multiple cooks, while a microwave tucked beneath the stainless steel island lets kids get into the act. The long built-in bench next to the fridge offers extra storage and an out-of-the-way spot to sip a juice box. A row of slender windows at eye level invites controlled views of the entry garden or distant bay. “Those low windows wrap around onto the countertop,” adds Brown, “so you have natural light right where you need it, instead of using energy for artificial light.”

A new front entry along the street elevation means the kitchen presents the first impression of the home, so materials were chosen for style as well as sustainability. Wide grain bamboo flooring and narrow grain cabinet fronts lighten the mood. Recycled glass tiles emit a nacreous sheen that changes throughout the day. Recyclable stainless steel tops the island for easy cleanup and natural marble countertops welcome pie and bread making—favorite pastimes for the happy client.

principal in charge / project architect:
Barbara Brown, AIA, Barbara Brown Associates, Sausalito, Calif.; project manager: Laura Hamlin, Barbara Brown Associates

general contractor:
Peregrine Construction, Sebastopol, Calif.

bathroom plumbing fittings: Villeroy & Boch; bathroom and kitchen plumbing fixtures: Dornbracht; kitchen plumbing fittings: Franke; dishwasher: Bosch; oven: Miele; range: Dacor; refrigerator: Sub-Zero; tile: Oceanside Glasstile