In California, a Midcentury House in the Redwoods - by NY Times
“IT sounds very Californian, but this home found us,” said Kim Todd, explaining why she and her husband, Andrew, left a 5,000-square-foot house with a pool and a large landscaped garden in Marin County for a home one-fifth the size, with a single bedroom and a wealth of deferred maintenance.
“We fell in love as soon as we saw the house and its surroundings,” Ms. Todd, 55, said. “Our work life is so public. It’s really quiet here, and the owls fly by at night.”
She and Mr. Todd, 49, had two children who were nearly grown — Luke is now 17, and Sophie is 21 — and they knew they were approaching the time when they would have to think about downsizing, since they were “soon going to be empty nesters,” she said.
John Lovell, a friend of Mr. Todd’s who is a designer and had studied Mr. Liebermann’s work, showed him the listing when the house came on the market and urged him to take a look. Mr. Todd then passed the listing along to another friend, Wanda Liebermann, an architect who had helped design several of his salons, without realizing she was Mr. Liebermann’s daughter. “That’s the house I grew up in,” she told him.
Mr. Liebermann had sold the house in 1966, but he was living nearby — and still practicing architecture at 80 — and both he and Ms. Liebermann advised the Todds during the early stages of the renovation.
But Mr. Todd also spent many hours alone on the property, ruminating about how to proceed. “I would stare at every angle and reconfigure the space in my mind,” he said of the house, which they bought in 2006 for $1,125,000. “In the end, it was clear the original design was best. We chose to edit and make the home more luxurious.”
That meant leaving the interior layout basically as it was, with one important exception: the three cramped bedrooms and two bathrooms in the sleeping area were replaced with a single master bedroom and bathroom, and a walk-in closet handcrafted in wood by a boat builder. (The couple’s son sleeps in an adjacent guest house; their daughter had already left home by the time they moved in a year ago.)