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By Allison McCarthy | Photo: Home Photography by John Merkl | Portrait by Bess Friday | April 3, 2018
A young family with a penchant for contemporary classic style builds their dream home in the East Bay hills.
Trading up from an adorable and well-loved bungalow in Burlingame for a roomier space to fit their growing family, Krysta and Bill Lapecvic had grand visions for their forever home. The couple searched every inch of the Peninsula and couldn’t find the combination of open space, lot size, home style, amenities and schools they were looking for, so they broadened their scope. They zeroed in on Orinda, a quaint and quiet enclave in the East Bay with an easy commute into the city, where Bill works at a tech firm. “We wanted a place that would provide a much-needed break from the intense and fast-paced tech world, somewhere that would allow us to relax and recharge,” Krysta says. They finally found the perfect lot—a hillside property overlooking Hanks Hill and Quarry Hill with flat yard space for their young children and a strong sense of community. “Neighbors dropped by with freshly baked bread, pool party invitations, and play date offers before our moving truck even arrived,” Krysta says with a laugh.
The Lapecvics decided to build from the ground up so they could customize a home exactly to their ideals and hired Thad Triplett of SDG Architects for the job. The couple envisioned a modern interpretation of Spanish Revival, nodding to tradition with characteristic arches and iron details, but integrating lighter materials and clean, contemporary lines. Triplett even coined a new term for the homeowners’ desired style: Spanish Transitional. Another key element was creating a space that brought the outdoors in, so they chose to design the home around a central courtyard and covered loggia. The loggia, with ample seating situated around a wood-burning limestone fireplace, is a warm space perfect for chilly winter nights, while the central courtyard is just right for alfresco meals on warm summer days.
Designed to be an extension of the interior living space, the courtyard is accessed through expansive sliding glass doors, and bi-folding windows open up the interior bar to the outdoors. “We chose Euroline steel doors and windows throughout the home to achieve the openness and connection to the exterior spaces that the Lapecvics were looking for,” Triplett says. “Their sleek design, contemporary style, and dimensions set the tone for the rest of the home.” Inside, heavy timber beams and arched entryways that soften the transition between spaces speak to the home’s Spanish-rooted style.
With the main architectural details in place, the homeowners called on Amanda Teal of Amanda Teal Design to bring the interiors—all 5,500 square feet—to life. The couple wanted a home that was simultaneously elegant and casual, sophisticated enough for hosting events but durable enough for a family with small children, ages 4 and 6, and a Formosan mountain dog named Emmy. “My kids’ talents include leaving blueberry yogurt fingerprints on every surface,” Krysta jokes. Teal designed the space to feel airy, not cavernous. Earthy colors, natural woods, and handmade tiles complement the Spanish-style architecture and make the home feel tailored, but also warm and inviting. “Everything is proportioned and laid out in a way that encourages you to kick your shoes off and stay awhile,” Teal says.
Aside from the pumpkin orange front door—a statement-making entrance and reference to their son’s favorite color—the homeowners chose a neutral palette of taupe, white and gray for the interiors and leaned on Teal to incorporate color in a sophisticated way. Case in point: the living room’s fun, oversize “Sea Urchin” pendants in cream from Coup D’etat and a rose-colored Cisco Home settee. The centerpiece of the room, though, is Bill’s grand piano—modernized with a bleached walnut Gregorius Pineo piano stool—around which the entire room was designed. Krysta’s art history background made her a natural fit for selecting artwork for the home, including Carol Paquet’s abstract archival print “Head of My Favorite Horse”—a conversation piece—and the handwoven wall hanging in the hallway that they commissioned Colorado artist Sarah Neubert to make.
A former event planner, Krysta has hopes of hosting many gatherings at the new home, so the kitchen, adjacent butler pantry, and wet bar were designed with entertaining in mind. The kitchen is a balance of clean lines and updated elements, with a patterned tile backsplash typical of Spanish Revival style, plus custom pieces like the white oak kitchen island with limestone countertop designed by Amanda Teal Design and fabricated by Andrew Woodside Carter. They even contracted a metal worker in Indiana to build a custom range hood made of antiqued stainless steel with zinc straps.
While the ground level consists of all public spaces, downstairs is the family’s private domain. The master bedroom is a mix of antique, natural, and modern in serene, muted colors—with the exception of a fuchsia bench at the foot of the bed and a blue lacquer chest from Chelsea Textiles. The master bathroom features dual floating vanities with white oak fluting, separated by a Penhaglion “French Bateau” stainless steel tub with an aged finish and Urban Electric antique bell jar light fixture. “They didn’t want anything too sleek or modern,” says Teal. “Everything in the house strikes a balance between contemporary and classic.” The moody, dimly lit wine room is Bill’s territory and was designed with him in mind as a cozy space for intimate gatherings. A reclaimed wood ceiling, metal basket chandelier, and Cisco Home chairs upholstered in an outdoor fabric (so that wine can be consumed without worrying about spills) add ambience. “It’s our hidden oasis of calm within a child-filled home,” Krysta says.
Amanda Teal Design
Fireplaces and kitchen island
Andrew Woodside Carter
Kitchen island and family room built-ins, master bathroom floating vanities
Master bedroom chest
Living room settee, wine cellar chairs and light fixture
Living room pendants
Design Within Reach
Kitchen bar stools
Steel windows and doors throughout
Gregorius | Pineo
Living room piano stool and dining room table
Living room sofa, console, and coffee table
Hollywood at Home
Wine cellar art
Living room and dining room chairs
Master bathroom tub
Tile backsplash in kitchen and butler pantry
Light fixtures in kitchen, entry, stairwell, master bath, powder room