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Get Out of Town

Circa-'70s shed-roof contemporary.



A few new housing styles showed up between the 1950s and the 1970s. The ranch was the predominant form, followed by the split-level. Both were common in suburbs across America.

In rural settings and resort areas during the same period, the shed-roof house was wildly popular. It looked like someone sliced up a chalet house (another vacation-house classic) and reassembled the steeply pitched halves in a free-form manner.

The new shed-roof style was popularized in the 1960s at Sea Ranch, an artists' enclave in Northern California. Frequently clad in wood left to weather to an elegant silvery gray, the asymmetrical forms allowed windows to be positioned to frame views and to be omitted altogether where privacy was needed.

This local shed-roof variant was built in 1975 on an inner-city lot where an earlier house had been destroyed in a fire. Fortunately, the older trees remain, and they add the wooded ambience that seems natural for this style of house.

The drive was laid out diagonally through the property and wanders between the oaks, as you'd expect if this house were sited on the larger acreage a lake or mountainside lot would offer.

The interior features a sunken living room with a vaulted ceiling. The focus is on a broad, brick fireplace with raised hearth and a heavy timber mantel. A floating staircase rises through this space to an open balcony and the two upstairs bedrooms.

A third bedroom downstairs shares access to the public bath, which has been recently renovated. The main-level floors are covered in a mottled, creamy ceramic tile.

A similar, but more limestone-like, ceramic was used in the bath renovation for the vanity top and in the spacious shower. A vessel sink was installed atop the original low vanity, effectively raising it to a more comfortable level.

A laundry room/pantry connects the kitchen to an original carport, now enclosed as a family/media room that also benefits from a vaulted ceiling. It wouldn't be hard to relocate the refrigerator and cut a doorway directly from the kitchen to the family room. That would aid communication and make space in the utility room for a new wall of cabinets.

The two bedrooms upstairs share a large bath. The front bedroom would be perfect as a home office/guest room.

The master, on the rear, has a private balcony enveloped in the branches of a dogwood, with sheltered views into the backyard. It wouldn't be hard to settle in there any evening and believe all it took was a two-minute walk to get out of town. •

170 S. Humes

Approximately 1,900 square feet

3 bedrooms, 2 baths


Realtor: Crye-Leike, 766-9004

Agent: Nan Lee, 458-6819

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