Little did Adam and Amy Dornbusch know a pandemic was about to hit the world when they were performing an intestinal cleanup on their home in Orinda, California, a small town east of Berkeley. However, the house they created turned out to be an ideal place for a long-term lockdown.
Since Mr. Dornbusch (43) and Mrs. Dornbusch (37) routinely worked from home before the pandemic, they built two own home offices. To support their business interests – they jointly own Gemstone Vineyard and Mr. Dornbusch is the founder and CEO of EnTribe, a digital media company – they added a sprawling wine room with hundreds of bottles and a home theater.
For their daughters Ruby (4) and Poppy (1) there is a separate playroom and an apartment for an au pair. There is also an at home gym and pool so you can get a quick workout anytime of the day.
“It was important to us to build a house in which everyone has their own zones to work and to be productive, so that we can run our business and the children can play, be creative and go outside,” said Ms. Dornbusch. “We designed this home to have a resort-home feel to it.”
The decision to create such a place before they knew what a lockdown entailed was accidental but no small endeavor. When the couple bought the roughly 7,000-square-foot home on a hilly 3.4-acre lot for about $ 3.2 million in March 2018, it exuded past opulence, with tired areas of cream-colored tiles and Cupboards, beige wide loom and curly iron. And there were so many rooms that as you walked through some parts of the house it felt like you were walking through a procession of useless rooms.
“There were a lot of rooms that didn’t seem to be of any use,” said Federico Engel, principal at Butler Armsden Architects, the company that led the renovation. “It wasn’t clear what the living room was, what the dining room was, and what the family room was.”
In addition to the Dornbusches’ ideas about the special functions they needed, they also wanted plenty of space to display their contemporary art collection. And they hoped their new home would have a fresh, creative look, with lots of color and sturdy materials reminiscent of the rough-hewn wood and blackened steel they’d seen in modern homes in the Pacific Northwest.
To change the exterior, Butler Armsden replaced the existing light gray board and slat siding with rustic wooden planks and added a metal roof with a standing seam. They eliminated a number of small windows and installed larger areas of glass. And they’ve done away with a towering, two-story canopy topped by a curved roof at the main entrance, and replaced it with a simpler, hanging steel roof.
While all of this was happening, Rousseau Landscape Architecture was redesigning the site. An amoeba-shaped pool was replaced by a larger rectangular and an extended pool deck.
Ms. Dornbusch found an interior designer when she visited the tasting room at the Sinegal Estate, a room that felt as comfortable and interesting as the home of a jet setting friend. “It was just beautiful,” she said. “So I asked her who did it.” It was Katie Martinez, a designer from San Francisco.
While Butler Armsden was operating the interior – combining smaller rooms into larger ones, adding pocket doors almost the size of sliding walls, and converting three parking spaces of the six car garage into a gym and au pair suite – Ms. Martinez helped finish it off of the material pallet. Now the house has weathered white oak floors, concrete tiles, leather-wrapped handrails, and blackened steel door fittings that are supposed to feel comfortable under your feet and fingertips.
“The size of the house is pretty great, so I tried to find strong materials that are also tactile and warm so it doesn’t feel cold and echoing,” said Ms. Martinez.
To realize Ms. Dornbusch’s desire for artful touch and pops of color, she and Ms. Martinez worked with artists, designers, and craftsmen to create custom pieces, including a wall-mounted logarithmic console by Nobuto Suga for the foyer. a headboard made of criss-cross wooden slats by Aleksandra Zee for the master bedroom; pink, splash-painted curtains by Kamperett for Poppy’s room; and cloudy hand-painted walls dripped with copper-colored resin by Caroline Lizarraga in the guest toilet.
After construction began in November 2018, Buestad Construction completed the project in June for around $ 5 million.
Although the Dornbusches renovated the house with entertainment in mind, including dinners for customers of their winery and an annual Oscars costume party for friends and colleagues in digital media, they’re happy to get a feel for their new home while they wait to share it with others.
“We love people, but it’s just nice to feel in a place of serenity,” said Ms. Dornbusch. “And when things get better, we’ll have an incredible home for entertainment.”
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