Blending old and new makes this P.G. bungalow the best of both worlds.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
One of Lew and Kathryn Aytes’ avocations is rebuilding great houses. Kathryn teaches psychology at CSUMB, Lew is a construction project manager. Their current home is a 2,500-square-foot, 3/2 single-level atypical Craftsman-style bungalow on two lots, plus private road at rear. Traditionally, the couple builds each house with part best possible construction materials/work and part antique archeological, culturally interesting home artifacts.
The details of this house are much of its compelling story, as well as its construction quality.
“The house is built to last a hundred years,” Lew Aytes says.
The house has a steel frame, ingenious infinitesimal space between each of the stone mounts and exterior columns preventing rot, as well as a moisture-proof foundation. Inside, there is a remote-controlled master fireplace, an electric-start wood-burning one in the living room, and carefully chosen KitchenAid appliances for the brand’s almost zero recalls (gas stove and confection/steam electric oven). The Miele dishwasher, Whirlpool washer and the master Air Tub (far safer and ecological than jets) conserve water. Equally ecological is the single-stream faucet from the ceiling. All air has been removed, creating a no-splash effect. The home’s recycled water gives instant hot water.
The couple likes to build in antique artifacts appropriate to each house they rebuild. For this one, with the exception of the bronze chandelier above the foyer with original tulip-petal-shaped glass, the rest of the artifacts are more than 100 years old – perfect windows (huge astrals inserts), plus pieces of archeological interest from original bungalows in Pasadena.
The Aytes have used much from the old house to structure the new one.
“The old house (1949, 1,600 square feet, typical mid-century box shape with flat roof) had wonderful, no longer available, redwood beams we’ve used for the eves and headers,” Lew says. “Its redwood siding is now on the garage (fully insulated, plaster walls and more; possible home expansion) and on the back of the house. Then we cut the new siding to a perfect match.”
Inside, there are stunning, antique stained-glass windows, a rare set of mahogany French doors and sidelights with original wavy-glass panes, tiger-oak double mantel and proportioned fluted-column fireplace surrounding the living room and master, each piece elegant and lovely. And there is so much more. The living room astral and dining room mahogany French doors dictated the shapes of the roof and wide-open archways instead of walls.
Rooms are delineated by square columns, pairs in some places, all reaching the 9-foot and 10-foot ceilings. The foyer’s open to all public rooms in all directions and Lew created an open art gallery instead of a center hall.
“I just hate halls,” he says. The gallery is 5 feet wide and open to the dining room and living room (again defined by these handsome columns).
The Aytes refer to the master as “The Retreat” – it covers one whole side of the house and looks upon the huge stone courtyard and bay view from bed.
Water is seen from the breakfast room, living room, courtyard and front yard. In the master, French doors lead to the courtyard.
The house sits way back on a rise of land and is at once commanding and graceful with two roofs descending like shallow steps from the highest one (living room) that frames a beauty of a window. This house is a treasure.