Year built: 1963
Original Architect/Builder: Beverly (David) Thorne
Location: San Rafael, California Project length: 4 months Bedrooms: 4
Cord and Alfonso brought in state-of-the-art appliances from Miele including a dishwasher, fridge/freezer, island hood, induction cooktop and oven. “I think they were maybe above our budget … but we like cooking so it was worth it,” Cord admits. While the metal kitchen cabinets were reused, the stripping and refinishing had to be completed by an auto body shop that set up a work space on site at the house. This cost more than expected, but the high-quality finish turned out beautifully. The home’s relatively large lot was another unexpected expense, requiring extensive upkeep. “It’s almost one acre, and I think this is where we spent way more time and money than we expected,” Cord shares.
Being an architect, Cord was able to coordinate the renovation and took on some projects himself. “When it was too expensive, we would just see what we could really contribute,” says Cord. To save on the budget, he purchased the backsplash glass and cut the pieces in their onsite “body shop,” which helped with fumes and provided an almost dust-free environment. To ensure that no green tint was visible in the finished product, he used an extremely clear glass from Starfire Glass. After using a special back-paint to prepare the area, he installed the glass pieces to create a stunning backsplash.
A Nutone intercom system from the 1960s created a truly unique look but was no longer working. Not wanting to lose such a specific original detail, Cord found two more similar Nutone models on eBay. Eventually he located someone to restore the system, and the repairman used all three models to create one working intercom. The system runs throughout the home, and fixing the central unit made all other intercoms function properly. Not only can you use the intercom and radio, but you can now connect your phone.
Original to the home, the copper radiant heating system was still functioning well, but it required Cord and his team to do extra planning. Before any drilling, it was imperative to locate the copper pipes. To combat the heating loops, they used infrared on a cold day to decide where to position cabinets.
To refinish the metal cabinets, a shop was set up on site.
Parts from three Nutone intercoms were used to create one working central unit.
Infrared captured the home’s original system of radiant heating loops.