Monday, April 14, 2014

The Bobertz Residence

bradley_bobertz redo
Bobertz Residence by Craig Ellwood (1953). Photo ©Darren Bradley
The Bobertz Residence is the only home designed by Craig Ellwood (with Ernie Jacks and Jerrold Lomax) in San Diego County. The young couple who commissioned it - Gerry & Charles Bobertz - had recently arrived from upstate New York by way of a brief stint in the SF Bay area. They were avid fans of John Entenza's Arts & Architecture magazine, and chose Ellwood as the architect of their new home after seeing his work in the Case Study House Program. And indeed, this could easily have been one of the homes featured in that program.

Photo ©Darren Bradley
The house is a perfect time capsule of today - beautifully restored to better than new condition. In fact, the current owners, Keith & Jessica York, have done a truly amazing job. And there was plenty to do.

View of one of the guest/children's bedrooms out to the courtyard. Photo ©Darren Bradley

The Yorks' daughter's bedroom, just off the private courtyard. Photo ©Darren Bradley
When Keith bought the house in 2000, it had been through a series of owners and tenants, had been heavily modified from its original design. The patio courtyard above (and below) had been totally enclosed to create another bedroom and much of the original character, fixtures, etc. had long since been erased by layers of change.

Courtyard off the two children's bedrooms that had been totally enclosed into an additional bedroom by a previous owner.
Photo ©Darren Bradley
In fact, it was even being used as a mini-dorm for students at the nearby SDSU. They did not treat the house kindly.

But Keith painstakingly brought the house back, one step at a time. He removed the addition - taking away square feet in the process, something a realtor will usually tell you not to do. And referring to the original plans and design, he was able to recreate a lot of what was missing and what had changed. In fact, he even added in some elements of the original design that had been dropped for budget reasons during original construction.

The kitchen had to be completely rebuilt, using designs consistent with the rest of the house. Photo ©Darren Bradley

And as icing on the cake, Keith and Jessica have filled the house with beautiful original modernist furniture and artwork from local artists of the time period.
Living area. Photo ©Darren Bradley

The house seamlessly blends indoors and out. Photo ©Darren Bradley

Photo ©Darren Bradley

The beautifully curated modernist art is one of the main highlights of the house. Photo ©Darren Bradley
The results are breathtaking. A living museum of modernist design that artfully demonstrates how these homes work as a wonderful, comfortable, warm space - not just for show but as the perfect place to raise a family.

Photo ©Darren Bradley

Activity/craft area directly off the kitchen and living area. Photo ©Darren Bradley
Photo ©Darren Bradley

Master bedroom. Photo ©Darren Bradley

The master bedroom is afforded some privacy off to the side of the house, set back from the main living area. Landscape architecture by Todd Pitman, Verde Landscape Design. Photo ©Darren Bradley
The entire home is beautifully complimented not only by the works of art, but by the landscape design by Todd Pitman. The sculptural plants - including many succulents - provide an excellent contrast to the sharp lines of the house.

Keith surveying his domain. Photo ©Darren Bradley

An urban oasis. Photo ©Darren Bradley

Photo ©Darren Bradley
Special thanks to Keith and Jess for opening up your home to let me take photos, and especially to Keith for washing the windows.

For more information on how this home came to be, please visit Keith's site, Modern San Diego.

For an interview with Keith by my friend Marco, click here.


Joe B said...

TV aerial deliberately retained?

modarchitecture said...


Boris said...

It is a gem of a house. Is the current owner an architect?

modarchitecture said...

Thanks, Boris. The current owner is not an architect, or in the design profession at all. He's a layman, just like me. ;-)

SiArtist said...

Great photo set and fantastic renovation on the homeowner's part.Thanks for posting this, Darren.

NapoleĆ³n Aguilera said...


DP said...

For what reason is this not quite the same as remaining ceaselessly in view disliking somebody's cologne? Perhaps I don't care for the smell of their astounding ass scent abusing my own space? Is it true that you are conceding that all basis for not contacting are not made equivalent? Thanks, Keep posting This type of article love from parc clematis