Magazine article Sunset

It's Their "Do-Everything" Room

Magazine article Sunset

It's Their "Do-Everything" Room

Article excerpt

"It's a do-everything room," say the owners of an 18- by 30-foot addition that serves as a home office, guest room, library, family room, workshop, storage shed, and occasional indoor basketball court. Although the room plays many different roles, they're not apparent at first glance. What does catch the eye is the room's spaciousness, built-in features, sense of privacy from the neighbors, and balanced daylight.

Space and budget limitations were major factors in determining the project's scope. Space was limited by the site--formerly the location of a separate two-car garage. A hall connects the new 13-foot-high room to the rest of the house. (Since covered parking is required, a carport was built in front of the addition.)

A contractor framed and enclosed the structure. To cut costs, the owners did much of the finish work, building the bookcases, counters, cabinets, and carport; installing the wood floor; and painting. Completing the project, including landscaping, took a year and a half.

Light and privacy

Architect Kwan-Lam Wong of Albany, California, devised a plan that gives the room a custom look despite budgetary constraints. Much of that look stems from thoughful placement of windows.

The windows purposely limit views while allowing daylight to enter the room from both sides. Of six 2-foot-square windows in the fireplace wall, only one is at eye level, and it looks into a stand of young birch trees rather than at a neighboring house. The rest of these east-facing windows force views over the neighbor's roof and into the sky. The lower four windows are fixed; the top two open for venting. Above the closets at the other end of the room are two openable windows that face the street and admit afternoon light.

The room's main view is diagonally across the yard through a 9-foot-wide opening with a sliding glass door. …

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