Craftsman Remodel

La Jolla 2010


The existing home is situated a few car lengths away from the busy intersection of Torrey Pines Road and La Jolla Shores Drive. Accessed directly from Torrey Pines Road, the property banks up steeply before leveling off to create a plateau for the house. A sloping strip of dense landscaping and a very tall hedge provide a visual buffer from traffic, but the noise and perceived proximity remained problematical.

The single-story ranch style house was built in 1955. A series of remodels and room enclosures over the years left the house outdated, split-level, and inconsistent. The relocated front door was situated on a dangerously inadequate landing atop a straight flight of stairs. The front room of the house contained a small dining area (adjacent to the windows) with the living room beyond. From this front room there were views of the ocean and the neighborhood of La Jolla Shores.


A one-time carport had been converted to a family room (looking a bit like a commercial store-front). This family room was adjacent to the entry but half a level below. The only “curb appeal” (or lack thereof) came from a 16-foot wide garage door at the top of the steep driveway, with a roof deck railing looking unfortunately “tacked on.”


The Owner wished to maximize the view opportunities of the ocean, while reducing the emotional and audible effects from the street below. The program called for a larger dining area and unification of the interior spaces. For the exterior, the desire was for a “warm and inviting” exterior façade, which we understood to mean addressing the entry.


Our solution addressed several program elements at one time: Refine the non-descript exterior with Craftsman style elements. In particular, a large welcoming entry porch was added to provide a physical and emotional buffer between house and outside world. The porch also serves as a protective element, drawing visitors up the stairs and rewarding them with a place for restful contemplation and ocean views. For continuity, the porch railing detail was repeated above the garage on a roof deck and carried inside for the stair railing.


Interior modifications, while mostly involving finishes, included reversing the dining room and living room locations. The enlarged dining room became an interior space, better suited for intimate gatherings. The living room became the front room, taking advantage of the neighborhood and ocean views through the porch. Interior columns were added to define the separation of these two spaces. Columns also flank the opening between the entry foyer and the living room. Consistent architectural detailing (wainscoting, trim, crown and base molding) was carried through the rest of the house, including the family room, kitchen and baths.


The Owner is comfortably settled back into his home. To his surprise, the front porch (an element he saw as merely an acoustical necessity) has become a frequently used respite.

Typology Residential Remodel
Location La Jolla Shores, La Jolla, California
Status Completed
Date 2010


Architect DuCharme Architecture


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