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California home renovation enhances views, light, openness and indoor-outdoor connection with Kolbe's windows and doors.

Wausau, Wisconsin (June 2019) – Taking advantage of California's climate, capturing San Diego's skyline, and providing an ideal setting for casual entertaining, the Plum Street residential renovation reflects a modern, coastal style inspired by the views available from its expansive Kolbe windows and sliding patio doors. The significant updates made to the now 3,700-square-foot property also have increased the home's value, which one realtor estimated at 37 percent more than the cost of the property and its total renovation.

The home's location and view first attracted the homeowners to this neighborhood near Point Loma. Accepting that the 1960s property would require considerable changes to meet their family's active lifestyle, the homeowners sought out Will & Fotsch Architects, Inc. The homeowners and the architects quickly established a connection to confidently guide them through the planning, design and realization of this major renovation.

"They were trusting and gave us creative license," said design firm principal Andy Fotsch. "This was one of the fastest projects I've ever been involved with. We went from designing a floor plan to permitting in three months." Renovation, construction and interior finishes were completed in less than 12 months. The homeowners moved in August 2018.

Meeting the Challenge
To achieve the desired design functionality, aesthetic and value for Plum Street's renovation, there were two primary challenges according to Fotsch: "Challenge one was to determine the best floor plan to create a comfortable series of spaces for living and entertaining. We wanted to keep as much of the existing structure as possible, while making the greatest positive impact."

He continued, "The second challenge was to determine a style that would update the house, yet work with the overall massing and structure. The remodel was done as surgically as possible to frame views and provide a comfortable home for a life of casual entertaining."

Fotsch listed numerous examples of the design precision employed: converting the living room and dining room, flipping the dining room and kitchen, opening up the kitchen, enhancing the entry, enlarging the great room, expanding the master suite, excavating and adding a lower level, and engaging the outdoor pool area.

Describing the Plum Street home's large, open, uninterrupted panorama from its position in Point Loma, Fotsch said, "It overlooks an international airport, the downtown San Diego city skyline, an active military base complete with fighter jets and aircraft carriers, the Coronado Bay bridge, the ocean and the marina – all set against a backdrop of the hills of Mexico."

He continued, "It's one of my favorite views from any project that I've worked on. This project is all about the views. Framing these views also was super critical."

Thinking of the best window and door products for the project, Fotsch turned to Kolbe. For the Plum Street home, Fotsch selected products exclusively from Kolbe's VistaLuxe® Collection. These include sliding windows, casements, direct sets, awnings, French doors, a swinging door, complementary sliding doors and complementary multi-slide doors.

Framing the View
"The connection of the frame detail between the doors and the windows provides a consistency throughout the house. It gives the windows a distinctive look and feel, and I love the warmth that is provided by the wood interior," Fotsch emphasized. "When it is stained ebony, it adds to the warmth and dimension, and relates to the casual and coastal feel."

The Plum Street home's grandest, continuous views are presented through the two multi-slide doors on the deck that connect the great room to the dining room and kitchen. Each of the multi-slide doors are eight feet tall and span six panels wide, opening in the center with three panels on each side. Fotsch elaborated, "The six panels are a nice proportion; when they're completely open, you have a physical opening that is two-thirds the size of the framed opening."

To accommodate these expansive openings, "We reframed the headers in the dining room and kitchen area to get more height. With the 8-foot-high doors it feels even taller than it is," explained Fotsch. "Sliding doors allow for the largest opening and ease of use. Often, all the doors and windows are open, and the breeze through the house is wonderful. There are no bugs in San Diego so you don't need screens. Everything can be open with the natural air flowing and the sun shining through the house."

Along with optimizing daylight, views, ease of operation and natural ventilation, Kolbe's high-performing windows and doors also contributed to meeting California's stringent Title 24 Building Energy Efficiency Standards. The VistaLuxe Collection offers a range of glass choices and thermal spacers to manage solar heat gain in coastal climates. Demonstrating their energy-efficient performance, many products in the VistaLuxe Collection meet ENERGY STAR® qualifications.

Extending Continuity Inside and Outside
The Plum Street's residence's modern, coastal design draws extensively from its surroundings. In addition to serving as the project's architects, Will & Fotsch also provide interior design guidance. This continuity of vision extended and connected many of the exterior details with those on the interior.

For example, Fotsch highlighted, "The stone you see in the front courtyard and in the great room has a windblown sand-washed finish, which brings in a nod to the natural stone and sand of the coastline. The great room's fireplace and stair wall mirror as pillars – bringing the outdoor earthy feel inside. These pillars draw your eye upward emphasizing the ceiling height in the great room and serving as the structural tectonic supports."

The interior doors' hardware complements the matte black, rectangular, lever handles on Kolbe's swinging doors. "There is a lot of straight line geometry through the house," observed Fotsch. Beyond the windows, doors and hardware, this is especially evident in the great room's and game room's custom ceiling beams.

"The game room is a total derivation," acknowledges Fotsch. "The homeowners wanted a nightclub vibe with framed views of the city nighttime lights."

In addition to city views, nautical themes largely inspired the color and material selection. Fotsch expanded on this saying, "Navy is the main color accent throughout the residence. Navy is a thread that connects throughout the house. The island cabinet color is called ‘In the Navy.' Brass plumbing fixtures and lighting throughout the house are a nod to nautical elements. The girls' bath harkens back to the Portuguese fisherman tradition of the neighborhood. The master suite's bathroom design is reminiscent of a ship's crow's nest and its teak shower walls extend to the exterior deck. The blue in the wallpaper also ties in well with the blue of the Coronado Bay Bridge."

Throughout the home, Fotsch pointed to organic materials mixed with "a neutral palette of blues and grays with punches of levity mixed in – pops of orange and yellow, the homeowners' favorite colors." The front gate was painted plum, referencing the street name of Plum Street and providing a memorable detail for guests to this distinctive home.

Plum Street Residence; San Diego, California
  • Architect: Will & Fotsch Architects, Inc.; La Jolla, California
  • Builder: Royal Home Remodels, Inc.; Alpine, California
  • Interior decorator: Tidal Interiors; La Jolla, California
  • Kolbe dealer: Dimensional Millwork, Inc. (DMI); San Diego, California
  • Photographer: Zack Benson Photography; San Marcos, California

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What began in 1946 as a two-brother team has grown into an internationally respected manufacturing company. Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co., Inc. is one of the nation's leading manufacturers of windows and doors for residential and commercial markets. After more than 70 years, Kolbe products are best known for superior quality, custom craftsmanship, attention to detail, as well as innovative and unique designs.