This carefully designed project transformed a dilapidated faux-Tudor hillside house into a remarkable, light-filled modern space. The house, situated on a double lot in an established neighborhood, embraced an unusual south-facing garden. Walls were removed to create an open plan, flowing between the capacious entry, living room, dining room, that connect to the more intimate family room, kitchen, corner breakfast room, and “cozy” room. A new staircase greets visitors at the entry and speaks to the high level of craftsmanship lavished on this house. Hidden, painted wood panels conceal the basement stairs as well as a coat closet, while a random steel rail adds a dynamic element.

Project Name: Berkeley Hills Residence
Studio Name: John Lum Architecture
Location: Berkely, CA
Consultants: Jetton Construction
Photography Credits: Sharon Risedorph

Berkeley Hills Residence By John Lum Architecture - Sheet6
©Sharon Risedorph

A former conglomeration of additions in the rear of the building was replaced with a low-slung modern addition containing a family room and guest quarters/art studio that follow the slope of the hillside, stepping up incrementally, and creating an “L” shaped house with a sunny courtyard for outdoor living. Upstairs, three bedrooms remain, but completely reworked with the master bedroom featuring highly detailed custom woodwork, and a spa-like bath overlooking the garden.

Berkeley Hills Residence By John Lum Architecture - Sheet8
©Sharon Risedorph

The house was completely gutted down to the studs, and rebuilt with all new systems and finishes. The materials and colors were chosen for interest and warmth, and reflect the personality of the client. The use of fir, beech, and oak, nods to the Berkeley tradition of wood craftsmanship. There was a strong green emphasis, especially around environmental issues due to client sensitivities, with all products being virtually VOC-free.

Berkeley Hills Residence By John Lum Architecture - Sheet10
©Sharon Risedorph

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John Lum Architecture is a boutique San Francisco-based architecture firm known for striking designs, innovative use of materials, green technology, and modern livability, founded by John Lum in 1994.

Recognized for their site-specific designs, commitment to sustainable development, and attention to detail, the bustling practice has completed 800+ projects ranging from new residential construction and remodels, to multifamily housing (SRO and micro-units), commercial interiors, retail environments, educational buildings, and medical facilities.

Located in a converted laundry machine factory in the city’s Mission District, the firm works with a diverse group of clients, combining efficiency and artistry to create warm interiors and exteriors primed for California living. Highly collaborative and deeply personal, the firm tailors each project to clients’ distinguished tastes, creating spaces that have soul. Projects play with materiality and natural light, and focus on conservation and sense of place. Whether designing modernist interiors or eye-catching retail displays, the firm always adds an element of play and harmony.

Founding Principal John Lum


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