A carefully designed addition to utilize site to its maximum potential

Los Altos Contemporary Ranch Addition/Remodel

Occasionally a new client will have an old structure that predates current zoning law and could not be built the same way today. This one story ranch on a corner lot in Los Altos was just such a structure, with a large portion of the house being in what would be considered the required rear yard, or “no-build” setback area.

To complicate matters further, an earlier remodel/addition had legally defined the street-facing front yards to the client’s disadvantage, in effect rendering the actual “buildable” area smaller than it needed to be and virtually precluding the ability to do a much-needed front addition.

Using our experience with the Los Altos Planning code and relationships with senior staff, we were able to persuade the Planning Department to commit to undoing the front/side street definitions established by the earlier permit, creating more buildable area for the lot and providing 5′ more for a front addition.

By carefully designing the addition + new rooflines to retain a contiguous 50% portion of the existing structure, we were able to retain the “grandfathered” portion of the house while utilizing the site to its maximum potential with a significant new addition and relocated garage.

The clients are fans of contemporary design, and the architecture reflects their taste with a butterfly-roofed great room, large expanses of glass, indoor-outdoor flow, and a contemporary exterior materials palette.


  • Project Year: 2016
  • Project Cost: $750,001 – $1,000,000
  • Location: Los Altos, CA



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