When a former intern asked us if we would be interested in designing an apartment renovation at the upscale retirement community of Vi Palo Alto for a family friend, we eagerly accepted the invitation, due in part to a personal connection to the building. As a young architect then employed by the Steinberg Group, Vi was one of the last two projects that Eugene Sakai worked on before founding Studio S Squared.
Vi at Palo Alto Apartment Renovation
Built to a very high construction standard at the time, the unit had been stripped down to the metal studs and bare concrete structure by new owners Jim and Lynda. All non-bearing walls had been removed, and only essential utilities serving multiple floors were retained. Working amongst the immutable constraints of these utilities, the concrete walls and floors, freestanding structural columns, existing window locations, toilet and shower drain locations and areas with 8’6″ ceiling height, we likened our design to wrapping a beautiful gift box from the inside out.
Having downsized from a much larger home in Arizona, it was imperative to our clients that our design lived more like a luxury home than an apartment. An expansive open kitchen, his/her master bedroom walk-in closets, and an abundance of custom millwork storage units displaying personal items all help accomplish this. Utility runs are cleverly concealed in dropped soffit areas above circulation paths, while tray ceilings with LED uplighting both maximize ceiling height while providing visual interest to the various living areas.
Interior finishes were selected by the clients and their daughter. Project construction management was also done by the Owners and their real estate manager.
- Project Year: 2017
- Project Cost: $200,001 – $500,000
- Location: Palo Alto, CA
Photography by Mark Pinkerton, VI360 Photography