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Into the Oasis

A Master Class in Combining Tradition and Modernity in One Bay Area Home

Article by Lisa Van Horne @lisavanhorne31

Photography by Patrik Argast

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

The architectural and design styles of Jane Snyder and Stefan Eder are often quite different. One prefers pink hues and soft lines that artistically curve and sway. The other prefers bold, straightforward angles with more stark, traditional character. Yet after turning over 20 years of friendship and professional kinship into their own business with Mosaic Architects + Interiors—with offices in Boulder and throughout California—they have found that these often competing preferences result in truly unique, truly special homes for their clients.

“It’s why we called our firm Mosaic,” says Snyder, AIA and Mosaic Architects + Interiors partner. “Each client and each project is different, and we have an approach that beautifully blends all the various styles, personalities and ideas we encounter.”

This often wildly diverse, yet ultimately harmonious collaborative process and philosophy made Mosaic the ideal firm to tackle one major home remodel in the Bay Area. A second-generation family home imbued with ample history and memories, the homeowners were seeking to upgrade the abode while preserving its soul.

“Typically with a remodel many owners would be asking how we can maximize the home,” says Eder, AIA and Mosaic Architects + Interiors partner. “How can we make the ceilings as tall as possible? Get the most square footage out of the site? But this project was completely different. The homeowners loved the existing home and its heart—they just wanted to bring it into the 21st century.”

The result is an eclectic California ranch in which the homeowners’ personalities and the home’s original character shine through a series of impactful modern upgrades. Structural changes—including net zero energy upgrades, vaulted ceilings and expanded openings—make it an efficient, timeless home. Cosmetic enhancements—bold designs that expertly blend the familiar and the surprising—elevate the home’s vibrant spirit. Together, they create a home rooted in tradition with exciting, contemporary twists around every corner.

Perhaps the most sterling example of this marriage of the old and the new is in the kitchen. The dark patinaed metal hood above the stovetop, bold black cabinetry and industrial steel French doors are juxtaposed with the vintage feel of the chandeliers, armoire and rustic farmhouse table—all pieces from the homeowner’s extensive collection of antique furnishings. A meticulously refurbished existing brick fireplace adds further welcoming character.

“We wanted to be gutsy with the designs in the home and push the envelope with some of the existing contrasts,” Eder says. “Really playing into that incorporation of light and dark, industrial and antique, earthy and heavy, helped bring the home’s character to life even more.”

Each room in the home tells a unique story, and Snyder notes that the Mosaic process of managing both the architecture and interior design of the home allows for each of those stories to be told more fully. Unexpected treasures and touches permeate throughout the bathrooms in particular. One bathroom features handmade black tiles and a vintage mirror, another features a white traditional floor and wall tiling along with a new contemporary vanity, and a third bathroom incorporates a highly polished water-jet cut stainless steel sheet that functions as a one-of-a-kind mirror.

Tying the home together is a transparent, indoor/outdoor structure that makes for a cohesive, connected living experience. The outdoor courtyard and dining area can be accessed from every section of the home, and the upgraded pool with the added trellis and fireplace make outdoor living not just a possibility, but a pleasure every day of the year. With people spending more time at home as a result of the pandemic, this ability to connect and unwind so effortlessly is more vital than ever, Snyder adds.

“This home is really a testament to how you can start with an existing structure and truly make it a special place that is exactly what you want and need it to be,” she says.

“My favorite moment is when a project becomes a home,” Eder says. “Homeowners must make thousands of decisions in a build or remodel, but when it’s all complete they can sit back and realize that this new place now is their home. That’s a highlight universal across all of our clients.”

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