|Single Family Residence, El Cerrito, CA
VK2 is the second house architect Jerry Veverka has designed for his wife and himself. The first, the Elsie Street Residence, was a four story house on a hilly 25’ x 70’ lot in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood. It was a light-filled house that was widely published and was described as “the only house where I didn’t mind being inside on a nice day”. However parking was difficult in the area and all the stairs made the house less than ideal for entertaining.
Jerry and Claudia bought a small dilapidated house on a 63’ x 145’ lot across the bay in El Cerrito that has views of the bay and San Francisco from the front and views up to the Mira Vista Golf Club in the rear. The existing house was razed and VK2 was constructed.
Once the decision was made to build a new house the design developed quickly. The priorities: a house filled with light - yes we were spoiled; a sense of space; living on one level with immediate access to the outside from every living space; a “loft-like” feeling; and a long uninterrupted “art wall” for display of paintings and drawings.
The house consists of two wings and a connecting link: on the left side is a two car garage, Claudia’s studio/guest bedroom, a guest bathroom and across a colorful exterior courtyard, Jerry’s studio. The connecting link functions as the entrance and a direct way out to the rear terrace. The sloping roof houses solar panels.
The right wing of the house is the living “loft”, consisting of the living/dining/kitchen areas as well as an open bedroom and a covered porch overlooking the bay. The south wall of the wing is a 50 foot long “art wall” for display of their art collection - their own works as well as the works of other artists.
Given the wonderful site it was a given that it should connect easily to the exterior. Each interior living space has immediate flat access to an exterior living space. The courtyard between the two studios is a special joy. The ground surface is gravel and it is starkly simple. In contrast with the white surfaces throughout the house the walls of the courtyard are an integral orange colored plaster. The fountain mimics a Japanese design. A special steel spout was made and the recirculating water falls upon 10 black bowling balls.
During construction many rocks were collected on site and used in the landscaping. Wonerfully skilled landscapers made walls and steps and integrated the rocks beautifully into the landscape.