Into the Great Wide Open
A Point Loma remodel captures the magnificent view
A pair of swivel chairs in the great room are positioned to take in the wide-ranging view. The massive fireplace, of smooth-and-rough black basalt, anchors the room and supports the roof structure. The coffee table is fashioned from an old piano lid.
A steep driveway quickly ascends the La Playa hillside, ending in a curve like an apostrophe. The remaining portion of this lot is mostly level, accommodating the quintessential view of San Diego Bay and downtown, which was the focus for architect Bill Bocken and his winning remodel. When Bill’s clients, Ashley Mullen and Lynne Warner, purchased the property with an existing single-level, 1960s ranch house, they knew it was not suitable for their first home together. Their intent was to update and refresh the tired dwelling. The neighborhood and the view were the appeal but the house didn’t capitalize on the vista.
After interviewing a few architects as to how to transform the dated home and adjoining guest quarters into their personal living space, they chose Bill for his vision and their rapport with him. “We communicate with Bill so clearly,” Lynne says. “We solved the little problems as a team.” A one-bedroom guest house, designed in a sort of post-modern style, had been added at some point along with a pool. Other than that, the home was in its original condition. In Bill’s redesign, approximately 700 square feet was added to the guesthouse, pool and main living spaces, bringing the finished total to about 3,000 square feet. The garage was enlarged to house three cars, create a workshop and add storage, and outfitted with solar panels to power the house and keep the pool at a comfortable 87 degrees.
The original entry was like a dark tunnel, so the reimagined foyer floods the space with natural light and gives a preview of the home’s now sleek, contemporary style. The interior plan was opened up to combine living, dining and kitchen in one great room. Warm teak floors run throughout. Dark taupe leather sectional sofas provide seating in front of the fireplace, TV and built-in bookshelves, which repeat on the opposite side of the massive structure that anchors the room—and supports the roof. Black granite tops the counters in the entire kitchen, and one side of the island was left open to accommodate bar seating for dining overflow or the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast with a view. All the interior furnishings are clean, contemporary and minimal, and accessories are almost nonexistent. There are no floor or table lamps in the great room, or even plugs in the concrete slab (though there are some hidden under the kitchen island). Down lights and a quartet of pendants over the island provide illumination in the space. Both sides of the main room are more glass than solid wall and can be almost totally opened to the garden patio and outdoors with sliding doors. “The roof and slab were what I call catty wampus—not lined up correctly,” Bill says. “It was essential to fix this if the sliding glass doors were to work properly.”
The repair actually gives the main space a lanai-like feeling when completely open. On one side, you overlook the bay and San Diego Yacht Club; on the other, you can sit by the sheltered pool and deck, which underwent a major facelift as well. The patios and decks were reconfigured and finished to complement the interiors. A sail-like awning provides shade and privacy from the adjacent house. On the view side, special tinted glass prevents glare during the day and eliminates reflections at night for unobstructed bay views from the master bedroom, bathroom, shower and guesthouse, which includes a spacious exercise room that opens to the patio and garden too. “This was a dream project with no problems,” Bill says. “The home provides a vast but private panoramic viewpoint from which to watch all that happens on the bay.”