This Modern Redesign is a Bright Idea

A total redesign turns a Tiburon family home from Mediterranean to modern.
Catherine Clifford and the family pups showcase their modern home redesign.
Catherine Clifford and the family pups.

WAY BACK IN 1996, Catherine Clifford and her husband moved into a five-year-old spec house with plenty of space to grow their young family. “We already had two kids and one on the way,” Catherine recalls. “Our fourth arrived six years later.” And while the home had a decent floor plan, the Mediterranean style never felt right. Over the years, they did some updating, including an ambitious kitchen remodel. But the house was still too dark inside, and after 20 years it warranted an overhaul.

A floating staircase constructed of glass, steel and reclaimed wood.

A floating staircase constructed of glass, steel and reclaimed wood.

Two years ago, with the nest nearly empty, the Cliffords decided to gut their four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath home and make it their own. “Initially the idea was really just to redo the master bedroom and bathroom,” Catherine says. “But somehow as we got to talking things through, the scope just seemed to keep growing.” The expanded plan included a dramatic redesign of the common spaces. They eighty-sixed a sunken atrium on the main floor and knocked down multiple walls to create one grand living and dining area. Next, they tore out a utilitarian staircase and replaced it with an ultramodern floating one featuring reclaimed wood stair treads, a glass railing and a steel I-beam support post.

The en-suite spa bathroom.

The en-suite spa bathroom.

The new floor plan allows for one grand living and dining area

The new floor plan allows for one grand living and dining area. 

Storefront windows add drama and light.

Storefront windows add drama and light.

A stunning master suite.

A stunning master suite.

Then they went for the wow factor elsewhere, with glass, glass and more glass. An industrial- looking wall of storefront windows lines a breezeway that now connects the redesigned master bedroom to an en-suite spa bathroom. Details on modern home remodel

“I love how we’re now bathed in natural light,” Catherine says. A 10-foot-high glass pivot main entry door heightens that effect, along with new windows, particularly in the master suite, optimizing views of the bay. “We had these amazing views that with the old design you couldn’t fully appreciate,” Catherine says.

Great care was taken to make sure the exterior matched the look and feel inside. They re-stuccoed the house in smooth gray, replaced the terra-cotta roof with a standing seam metal one, and removed dated deck balusters to install new steel railings.

For most of the nearly yearlong process, the Cliffords lived elsewhere, turning their time away into a family sojourn. First they stayed in Tahoe, and when the snow melted and the home still wasn’t ready, they headed for a place near the beach in Stinson. “It was a fun adventure,” Catherine says, “but we are very happy to be back in what feels like a brand-new home.”

A new roof and gray stucco redefine the look of this house.

A new roof and gray stucco redefine the look of this house.

Photos by Vivian Johnson.

Categories: Backstory, Marin Home