History Reimagined


Richardson Pribuss Architects brings a 1940s Spanish Revival home into the future

The kitchen features custom White Oak cabinets and Brizo fixtures. Photos by Thibault Cartier.

Known for creating memorable, site-specific structures, Richardson Pribuss Architects works with top designers, artisans and crafts people throughout the Bay Area on both residential and commercial projects. When hired by clients to transform a historic 1940s Spanish Revival home with an expansive courtyard, they had to completely rework the floorplan, entrance to the home and how the landscape complemented the new design. “The house was considered an historic resource which restricted changes to the exterior,” says Andrew Pribuss, Principal Architect. “However, the existing inner courtyard offered an opportunity to open-up the entire residence to the landscape and view beyond. A major move was to add large steel and glass openings to connect the two arms of the house as well as the two levels.”

The living room was moved from the upper floor to the lower floor and features Fritz Hansen Chiars, Andreu World Dual Table and a Roche Bobois Sofa. Photos by Thibault Cartier.
The Strada large linear chandelier by Kelly Wearstler hangs over dining table and chairs that are a family heirloom.
Photos by Thibault Cartier.

Sitting atop a sloping lot, the 5,800-square-foot home was disjointed and not suitable for how a modern family lives. “The client wanted to turn the existing entry into the back door, and create a new entry at the lower level courtyard,” says Pribuss. “So the challenge was twofold: from a landscape perspective, leading people from the street, through the garden, into the courtyard and to the new front door, and from an interiors perspective, creating a new entry that worked as an adequate threshold to the rest of the house without taking up too much space.”

A custom Negro Marquita Marble vanity is in the powder room. Photos by Thibault Cartier.

The team worked with Abacus Builders to completely reorganize the spaces, keeping only the garage in it’s original location and George Loew from Form Landscape Architecture to overhaul the landscape design. The front of the house became the back and they moved the main living spaces that were located on an upper level, to the lower level. “Apart from that, the idea was to do as much as possible to stitch together the whole house into a cohesive spatial experience versus the existing rabbit’s warren maze that it was,” he notes. “We did that through introducing double height spaces on the interior, and windows that gave you the opportunity to visually connect to various parts of the house.”

In the primary bedroom, the Edendale articulating sconce in smoke glass is by Rejuvenation. Photos by Thibault Cartier.

The overall goal with the interior selections was to enhance the original Spanish revival charm. They introduced a black and white palette with touches of wood and stone to maintain an element of glamour while introducing modern restraint. “Sweeping arched gestures were retained and reinterpreted, mixing seductive curvature with crisp lines,” says Pribuss. “The new courtyard was transformed into a true exterior living area complete with a fireplace, comfortable furniture, and an outdoor shower. Glamour is back, but with a minimalist touch.”

In the husband’s bathroom, the team used a moody Bedrosian Blomma Marble in Nero to add modern masculinity.
Photos by Thibault Cartier.
The wife’s bathroom is more subdued featuring a Bedrosian Blomma Marble in Blanco, the tub is by Badeloft.
Photos by Thibault Cartier.

The team’s favorite space in the house is the walkway that overlooks the new open kitchen. “The double height space in the kitchen, it connects the whole house and allows the kitchen to be on the same level as the garden and elevates that existing space from dark and nasty space to an elevated space,” says Pribuss. “You have an amazing view all the way from the front yard to the rear yard with the pool beyond. It’s the hub of the whole property!”