July 16, 2018
In San Diego, a real estate development firm called dasMOD looks at the most downtrodden homes in their community and sees something no one else does. With a team that includes a developer, architect, designers and builder, dasMOD is known for going into neighborhoods and bringing these unlikely homes back to life.
“There has to be something scarce or special about a site or the existing bones of the house for us to consider it for a potential project,” said Erik Gilmer, managing partner at dasMOD. “Larger lots with good width are particularly interesting, as they provide the space to embrace a true indoor/outdoor living program.”
They found one of these in a 1960s-dated, ranch-style home with very little going for it other than its 4,770-sq.-ft. lot, which has panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.
Big Change Is Good
“We saw the opportunity to increase the square footage of the home and reprogram the existing open floor plan to create a product that just doesn’t exist in this vibrant coastal market,” said Sven Simon, managing partner at dasMOD.
The home had a small, sequestered kitchen that was not oriented to the living areas or the ocean views. It also had grand post-and-beam ceilings that looked awkward with the many small rooms it housed.
“We sought to completely open up the living, kitchen and entertaining areas, but we still wanted to create an element of separation,” said Simon.
With such a large lot with which to work, the team added 1,100 square feet of living space to the home, creating an open floor plan and adding two guest bedrooms and more garage space. The addition also allowed them to make a greater connection with the outdoors by installing more windows.
“The result is improved circulation and easy and direct access to the private backyard and pool courtyard,” said Gilmer, adding that the team used both Revit and Lumion to design the project.
Along with improving upon the overall layout and lot, the design team wanted to preserve the existing concepts of the original design.
“The fun of this project was that it was already a mid-century home to begin with,” said Gilmer. “Our team expanded upon the original footprint to create a modern home by blending the old with the new.”
With each of their collaborative projects, they find that each person brings their own particular expertise to the table when creating the concept. Once the project is in place, the design team, the architect and the developers work together on the overall look and feel of the space. At a minimum, weekly meetings are conducted throughout the course of the project to discuss any modifications and changes and ensure the project stays on track.
“Each project has one moment where we decide what this house is going to be,” said Gilmer. “In this case, the design inspiration came from the much-celebrated mid-century homes in Palm Springs, Calif.”
Palm Springs is considered a mid-century modern oasis and features one of the world’s largest collections of mid-20th-century modern architecture, largely built between 1957 and 1960. The launch point for the entire house came from the selection of the custom floor tile in the master bathroom, a diamond pattern straight out of post-war America.
“We then handpicked walnut slabs for the cabinetry, as it is a classic wood used in many mid-century homes,” said Gilmer. “The double-vessel sinks and simple hardware help channel the mid-century vibe. We also wanted the angularity of the cabinets to contrast with the curves of the tub.”
In the kitchen and living area, the team decided to bring in more literal echoes of the Palm Springs homes. A three-sided fireplace, visible from the living area, the outdoor patio and the kitchen, is made up of turquoise rock sourced from the original quarries near Palm Springs and used in many the homes there.
To help designate some space separation, the team asked Lindsay Brown of San Diego’s Brown Studio to design a custom-milled oak “ceiling” for the kitchen, which lies under the refinished white plank ceilings. Handle-less cabinetry paired with a Carrara marble backsplash and counter juxtapose simplicity and movement for a more modern take on the original design.
“The soft pastel color palette and the open fireplace finished in turquoise rock paired with the terrazzo floors all nod to the mid-century era of optimistic, colorful living,” said Simon.
Developer/Designer: Erik Gilmer and Sven Simon, dasMOD
Design/Build: The Brown Studio
Interior Styling: Handsome Salt
Photography: Aloha Photo
Bathtub: Victoria & Albert
Custom Vanity: American Walnut
Floor Tile: Custom Cement Tile
Shower Lighting: LED Strip Lighting
Tub: Victoria + Albert
Wall Sconces: Design Within Reach
Floor: Concrete Collaborative