Dramatic renovation creates a welcoming home

Lara Hedberg Deam, the founder of architecture and design magazine Dwell is the owner of this brilliantly designed home located in Mill Valley, California. Recently renovated by her husband, architect Chris Deam, the house has a fresh and inviting feel, not to mention an impeccable modern design. The home has been sited on a steep slope; upon entering through the glass and steel door, visitors are whisked upstairs to the main living space of the home. The interior color palette was kept to a minimal, either painted white or stained black to allow for colorful arts, objects, furniture and people to really stand out in the home.

The residence had to be adapted to the needs of a growing family: Lara, Chris and their two beautiful children: We wanted to carve out space for the individuals, for Lara’s home office, for me to have a place to work, for each of the kids, for a smaller room where we could watch TV and have family time, and for more space to entertain- says Chris. The home plans were eventually developed accordingly while also creating a strong indoor-outdoor connection. An interesting element is the door which opens towards the backyard: The door weighs about 2,000 pounds (907 kilos), and it has its own foundation under the pivot point. In the first concept sketches it was really thin and elegant, but it just kept growing and growing and eventually the diagonal brace showed up, in the end, why not let the engineering show?


Stepstone’s narrow concrete pavers add a graphic touch to the garden.

The materials palette has also been restrained; this almost 14-foot-long walnut slab in the kitchen is the only natural piece of wood in the house. The wood has been reclaimed from a fallen tree from the area.

The built-in furniture in the master bedroom has been designed by Chris.