courtyard and creating a separate garage to shelter the house from the street.
Klopf gave the house a gut renovation: He retained the home’s original footprint and kept its foundation, which had built-in radiant heating, along with most of the exterior framing and roof framing. But he then reworked the floor plan for greater openness. He also turned one of the two bathrooms into a master bath (to create a master suite), put in glass doors where there had previously been windows, and added more skylights to maximize natural lighting. The two facing sides of the living room open up almost entirely, making it feel like a giant pavilion. The backyard, by landscape design firm Growsgreen, is designed to be an outdoor living and dining room.
The architect also pulled the kitchen forward and created a pantry and separate laundry room behind it. “There’s not much of a view to the side of the house, so it made more sense to close it off and add a skylight to bring light into the kitchen instead [of a window],” says Knopf.
With its big island, the open kitchen is designed to accommodate the couple’s love of cooking and baking. However, there are no upper cabinets; Wang, who is 5-foot-2, wouldn’t be able to reach them.
Despite its inward-facing layout, the house still has a friendly street presence, thanks to the architect’s generous use of natural wood. Says Klopf, “With a modern house, you can go one way or the other: You can go super-cool and industrial, or you can go more natural.” He clad nearly the entire house in horizontal cedar siding, finished with a clear coat so that the warmth of the material shows through.
“To be honest, I didn’t pay that much attention to the plan, so I didn’t realize it was going to be all cedar,” laughs Wang. “But people walking by compliment us on it all the time.”
Along with his parents, Julien, age 7, has discovered the joys of living in a modern house. His favorite aspect? How the living room opens to the backyard: “I can run in and out,” he says.