Magazine article Sunset

Sherman Oaks: They Added a Lofty, Ferny Trellis Just out the Back Door, an Outdoor Room and a Startling New Look

Magazine article Sunset

Sherman Oaks: They Added a Lofty, Ferny Trellis Just out the Back Door, an Outdoor Room and a Startling New Look

Article excerpt

The back door doesn't have to be a dead end. These two remodels show how homeowners overcame problems of space, siting, overheating, and just plain anonymity by turning the backs of their houses into outdoor rooms.

The misfortune of a due-south orientaion in Southern California's often-hot San Fernando Valley prompted the first solution: a lofty house-wide shade lanai.

Tight space in a boxy bungalow that was closed off to its back yard, and wasted space in its decrepit garage, occasioned the transformation shown on the facing page: a bold statement with Pompeiian overtones. Making over a Sherman Oaks tract house--for $15,000

Architect Bouje Bernkopf of Woodland Hills faced a challenge familiar to anyone remodeling tract houses: to alter a badly sited, unimaginatively designed house so it would be much more pleasant to live in and more energy-efficient. His clients, a young family, had $15,000 to spend, including a complete interior remodeling. Though dark, the house had serious sun-control problems. This raised the question: how do you get more sunlight without getting more heat?

Extending the roof to cover the south-facing patio (along with superinsulating the ceiling and south wall) was the answer. The new roof was designed to shade the house wall in the hot months of springs, summer, and fall--so the wall could be opened up with a bank of glass doors.

Sloping 1-by-2s over pairs of 2-by-6s form the structural covering. Above the 1-by-2s, fiberglass roofing sandwiches light-diffusing reed screening. There's mutual benefit here: the fiberglass holds and protects the reed screening, while the reeds disguise the fiberglass.

Bernkopf's detailing works well with the tropical touches that were retained from the original yard--a small grove of Canary Island date palms, California fan palms, and the light-colored pool.

Cascades of asparagus fern (A. …

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