Making the Cover of “This Old House”

From on March 11, 2008 in CalFinder News

Dowd House, This Old HouseWe’ve got one particular cover to show off, belonging to a prestigious voice in the remodeling industry: This Old House. Our CTO, Dean, is very familiar with the home that graces TOH’s March 2008 cover, along with an 8-page spread. The Newport Beach cottage belongs to his parents, Steve and Janet Dowd, who recently left a much bigger property in Laguna Hills in favor of a simpler lifestyle. In the process, they exchanged nearly 4,000 square feet for less than half the wiggle room, and the space saving solutions they incorporated were ingenious enough to make headlines.

Here are just a few examples of the downsizing magic that their architect, Carol Tink-Fox, suggested:

  • Creating a second story section above the home’s center. This added 775 square feet of new space and stunning new views of the bay. At the same time, major portions of the house along the back and street-facing side remain unchanged.
  • Compromising hallways. Instead, rooms do double-duty as traffic corridors. This eliminated lost square footage, turning the first-floor bathroom into a convenient stop to clean off sandy feet, the dining room into a more open area with a view of the second story level above the stairs, and the courtyard into a natural extension to the home’s exterior.
  • Utilizing built-ins. In short, every empty space became a drawer or closet, including under-stair space and cavities behind walls.

While Dean grew up in the bigger Laguna Hills home, many of his childhood memories took place at the beachside cottage, which has been in his family since 1952. His opinion of the home’s new look? Dean says, “I love it. My parents worked long and hard at creating the right look for what was grandma’s little beach house. They kept the integrity of an older beach house, but just made it modern.”

Vintage Chambers StoveAt the same time, Dean does not miss his childhood home in Laguna Hills. “Smaller is better in my opinion, I don’t like excess and a smaller footprint is always nicer.” In fact, his parents’ remodel of the beachside cottage has even inspired Dean to work on his own Northern California bungalow. “I would borrow elements of my parent’s new kitchen with all the neat dish shelves, storage spaces and this vintage stove, also in the new Dowd home. It would also be nice to have a tankless water heater and energy efficient windows.”

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