Not so Chiquita

We are still alive! With all the moving and our little one getting more mobile, it's been hard to keep up with writing posts, but our practice (both raising a child and architecture & design) continues! A direct result of this is one of our recently completed projects located in the nearby city of Mountain View, on Chiquita Avenue. 

Mountain View is neighbor to Palo Alto, but distinctly different. This project happens to be on a street parallel to the main downtown, but several blocks away – in a mixed density residential community. The house to the left of ours (when looking at it from the street) is a detached single family dwelling that looks to have been remodeled or built in the past 10 years. The property to the right is a multifamily two-story apartment building. 

Our original single story house was just around 1,500 S.F. in total area. The lot itself is abnormally large for this part of town at just over 9,000 S.F. That kind of explains how the neighbor was able to rezone and build an apartment. In other words, the FAR or Floor to Area ratio for our lot was very low – which meant the house could be significantly larger, and we have a huge backyard to work with.

The temporary homeowner was a real estate investor. Before you cringe, this is a very smart and savvy home investor who has been an absolute pleasure to work with (and no, I don't think she reads our blog). We worked as a team to scroll through our options, some of which included, "Should we demo and build new?"; "Simply add a second story?"; "See if the zoning would allow for multiple homes?"; "Convert a single family home property into a multifamily lot?"

In the end, we decided to keep the home single story and add onto the back into the backyard. This would respect the neighborhood, keeping the small single story look of the home from the street essentially the same, with a small facelift. We would double the square footage of the home by pushing out into the back, preserving a single story design throughout. This really fit with the project name and address. A small house on Chiquita Avenue keeps the same small look but is over 3,000 S.F. ! That's not a small house by any means, but no one will be able to tell from the street. 

Enough text, here are some pictures:

Before...

Before...

An early elevation study sketch...

An early elevation study sketch...

And here's after... (photo courtesy of Coldwell Banker)

And here's after... (photo courtesy of Coldwell Banker)

Adding onto the back of the existing house.

Adding onto the back of the existing house.

Looking out into the addition, the contractor used prefabricated trusses to resolve the new roof. 

Looking out into the addition, the contractor used prefabricated trusses to resolve the new roof. 

The existing front stripped of its stucco siding. Note we moved the entrance door from a side facing, to street facing.

The existing front stripped of its stucco siding. Note we moved the entrance door from a side facing, to street facing.

New plywood sheathing, feels so good!

New plywood sheathing, feels so good!

Sheathing is wrapped, Hardy panels being installed, and our little entrance feature on top.

Sheathing is wrapped, Hardy panels being installed, and our little entrance feature on top.

Near completion, fresh paint, new doors and windows, new roofing.

Near completion, fresh paint, new doors and windows, new roofing.

The following interior photographs are courtesy of Coldwell Banker.

Kitchen, dining, living beyond.

Kitchen, dining, living beyond.

View from the opposite angle: living, sitting, dining, kitchen, entrance.

View from the opposite angle: living, sitting, dining, kitchen, entrance.

Up close at the kitchen.

Up close at the kitchen.

Looking out into the still large rear yard.

Looking out into the still large rear yard.

One of the two master bedroom suites.

One of the two master bedroom suites.

We hope you enjoyed out little chiquita project. Cheers!