Magazine article Sunset

Back Door to Nature

Magazine article Sunset

Back Door to Nature

Article excerpt

Ir "Only connect ..." is the epigraph of E. M. Forster's Howards End. This could be the remodeler's mantra. It certainly describes the approach that homeowners Clint and Thea Johnson took when they decided to open up and expand the rear of their 1903 San Francisco Bay Area farmhouse. They wanted to add extra space-for a generous family room off the kitchen and a large master bedroom on the floor above-while establishing a stronger link to the garden. With the help of their architect, Eric Haesloop, they achieved a gracious setting for indooroutdoor living.


A cramped, rickety stoop and small windows helped separate house and backyard. The route to the little deck led through a laundry porch.


Tall windows, French doors, a housewide deck, and a glass gable create an open, garden-oriented facade. The architect added 13 feet to the back of the house for a total gain of 500 square feet, including the overscale dormer off the master bedroom.

The new, vividly vertical windows and doors combine with the horizontal clapboard siding to give this house a rustic elegance, almost as if the original farmhouse has put on its Sunday best for a ride to town. …

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