This 1950s house on a downsloping site was 14 feet wide, boxcarlike, and offered no private outdoor space.
Architect-owner William Bocken came to the rescue with a remodel that reorganized the main floor and sandwiched it between a new front courtyard and a rear outdoor room overlooking the slope.
The result is a sheltered but almost seamless house that resembles an airy garden pavilion.
By adding a fence next to the street, Bocken recaptured the front yard. Now the sun-dappled, slate-tiled space is not visible to the public and can be used for entertaining.
To the rear, a lower-floor bedroom addition created the platform for the roof deck. This inviting space is defined by a post-and-beam arbor, stucco walls, and an outdoor fireplace. The deck seems notched into the surrounding foliage―like a tree house.
To connect the main floor to these outdoor spaces, Bocken removed interior walls, moved the kitchen to one end, and replaced strip windows with sliding glass doors.
He also altered the flat ceilings by adding a gentle pitch to the roof over the original beams.
Design: William Bocken, Carrier Johnson Architects, San Diego (619/239-2353).