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1994 Paragon Awards - Renovation

Custom Home Magazine
(Originally printed by Custom Home Magazine in the January/February 1994 issue.)

Great Awakening
A builder and architect cheered a dour cottage

For custom builder Greg Bock and architect Nancy Harris Wyatt, AIA, turning this 1940's house in Palo Alto, CA, into an open, airy home was a little like going on safari.

Surrounded by overgrown bamboo and other tall grasses and decorated in a style the architect calls "early tribal," the team found much to undo before they could get anything done. Previous owners had painted everything black-inside and out-and had carved odd ritualistic symbols in all the doorframes. Even more troublesome, though, were five poorly built additions cluttering up the original structure. Says Bock, "We ended up tearing down more than we anticipated."

The clients wanted something completely different from the quirky, cramped and dark little house they bought. Whey they really wanted was a spacious, traditional home with lots of light and air-just the kind of renovation Wyatt and Bock specialize in.

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An 8-foot-wide sky-lit atrium Bock installed went a long way toward accomplishing that goal.  The double-wide atrium provides a well-lighted hallway and makes adjacent rooms seem larger and brighter, too.  Although he would have preferred building the atrium's curved ceiling out of plaster and lath, Bock used ore earthquake-hardy plywood framing and gyp board.  "It was a difficult shape to accomplish with the materials we used," he recalls.

Bock and his carpenters also carved the home's highly stylized moldings, pilasters, mantels and built-ins on site years giving the project a custom style and quality.

- - - Jean Dimeo

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