Lara Headberg Deam, the founder of Dwell magazine, started everything off with this renovation of her family's home in Mill City, California. There's so much to love about this mid-century modern house tucked into it's hillside site. I've been on the hunt for some ideas on fixing up my backyard and the fact that the footprint couldn't be altered and the solutions to adding needed common space had to be clever, really resonated with me. From the indoor/outdoor strategies to the well articulated interior details, there's a wealth of tips in this article and this project is definitely worth sharing.
Also, what's not to love about the minimal palette of materials that was used? Stained dark wood can be seen both inside and outside on floors, ceiling and walls, with minimal pops of natural wood or color coordinating with the neutral tones of marble that are used in the kitchen and bathrooms. But there's no doubt that the star of the show is the amazing yellow (my fave!) steel windows and doors that beckon you to the backyard oasis from almost every area of the house!
There are many more details & beautiful photos to be enjoyed on the Dwell site, but these are some highlights to take advantage of for our next project or perhaps as daydreams for my backyard fix ....
With the doors flung wide open, the Deams' outdoor space truly functions as an adjunct living room at the core of the home. The feeling of an outdoor room is reinforced by the linearity and evenness of the concrete patio surface, which was constructed with Stepstone's Narrow Modular Pavers. "I actually discovered them at Dwell on Design in 2006," Lara says. The three-inch-wide pavers are available in multiple lengths and in 12 different shades.
Stepstone's narrow concrete pavers add a graphic touch to the garden.
Cal and Macy enjoy a snack from Mom at the almost 14-foot-long walnut slab table sourced from Arborica in Marshall, California. The wood came from a tree that fell into a Palo Alto, California, street. A trio of Tom Dixon Beat Lamps provide the perfect counterpoint to a slew of black plastic Eames shell chairs from Herman Miller.
The materials palette is similarly restrained, making the only natural piece of wood in the house—the almost 14-foot-long walnut slab in the kitchen—really stand out. "If there was wood everywhere it would lose its gravitas," notes Chris.
In paring back the home's aesthetic, Chris kept the color palette as simple as possible. Limiting the surfaces to either painted white or stained black allows colorful art, objects, furniture, and people to really pop.
Can't find the right table for your space? Another option is to have a custom top cut for a recycled base, which is what the Deams did for their outdoor dining area. They had an existing Scissor table base by Bay Area designer John Randolph sitting unused, so Chris had a piece of hardy soapstone (it stands up to high temperatures) cut to match by Fox Marble. A subtle facet at each corner plays off the base's design and lends a more intimate feel to the long table. For a fraction of the cost of a full piece, the bases of design classics are often available on Craigslist and eBay.
When it came to paint the 40-foot-long curving steel-and-glass window wall designed by Chris and fabricated by Sand Studios, the Deams turned to Steve Bauer of Baumar, who specializes in custom paint finishes, to get the job done. Metallic automotive paint stands up well to the elements—from blaring sunlight to heavy rain—and comes in an almost infinite array of colors.