Case Study #26, August 2015... exterior side view with its incredible roof line
Tucked away in the rolling hills of Marin County, California is a sleeping giant. The unassuming suburban neighborhood of Peacock Gap leads you to an asphalt driveway with a secret- a slope and a corner which reveals a beauty on the hill overlooking an eternity of oaks and redwoods, and the mountains which lead to the ocean...
Built near the end of the program, this sweeping, complex, and elegant steel house is one of the renowned group of homes called Case Study.
Case Study #26 was designed by architect Beverley David Thorne, aka David Thorne, in 1962. Currently at 90 years of age, Thorne is the last surviving Case Study architect.
Predominantly in Los Angeles, and running from 1945-1966, the Case Study program was born out of a desire to express creativity and explore modernism for the masses. Lead by editor John Entenza, who used some of his own money to fund the program, Case Study was sponsored by Arts and Architecture Magazine. The homes were also used as a way of advertising new methods and materials for residential architecture, such as steel, as well as demonstrating the ideal of architecture and its relationship to the environment.
Case Study architects include: A. Quincy Jones, Charles Eames, Craig Ellwood, Eero Saarinen, Pierre Koenig, Raphael S. Soriano, and Richard Neutra
Case Study #26, 1963, aka the Harrison House, was the only home in the program built in Northern California. It has never been on the market until this week. Original owner. Being in the presence of such brilliant architecture was truly awe inspiring.
Case Study Home #26
177 San Marino Drive, San Rafael, CA asking $1,850,000
4/2, 1,955 sf, 37,950 sf lot
Designed by Architect Beverley David Thorne, 1962
Original plans for 1,400 sf lower level available with home
Built 1962-63 by Bethlehem Steel
carport, walls of glass, views, clerestory windows, 800 sf deck
home is intact with minor changes, extremely well maintained
Case Study #26, my first glimpse of this remarkable home
Case Study #26, 1963
back to 2015.... right edge of the carport with magnificent steel posts extended from roof line
original exterior lights, steel post & beam, douglas fir roof deck runs throughout the house- roof deck is made from 2"x6" boards standing on end and sistered together... it's extremely heavy!
Looking left towards the home you can see the two roofs with large clerestory windows creating a double roof... stunning!
stepping back, looking at the roofs and view beyond
still standing in carport, looking to the right towards entrance
wide angle shot of entrance- aggregate stairs leading to entrance slider... all exterior doors are sliders (as it should be :)
from base of stairs looking up
entering through first slider and a sea of aggregate... heaven!
coming in through entrance slider- livingroom is behind me, kitchen is right, bedrooms are left
now turning around facing the back of the home- kitchen is on the left- looking towards the entrance vestibule, eating area and kitchen
three floors in this home, the original aggregate is the best!
looking back towards entrance slider... there are several sliders here leading to the living room or kitchen
this eating area is just beyond the entrance and off the kitchen
Eating Area: this cut out was a *site change* decision. it brings in light, creates a drop ceiling effect which gives the eating area a more intimate feel
in the kitchen facing the back of the home. this is not the original, changed by the owner (original owner). looks to be fairly period correct, but probably changed in the 1970's to open up the space...
here's the original kitchen with walnut veneer cabinets... (from Arts and Architecture Magazine, January 1963))
looking back into the kitchen
and the original! (photo courtesy of Arts and Architecture, January 1963)
cool original AM/FM radio & multi-channel intercom in kitchen
little seating area, or second eating area, just off kitchen facing back of the home. Original owner had a wood burning stove here!
going out to the deck and looking back at kitchen with its mitered glass corner- there are two of these corners which were a *site change* when the architect saw the view from the home
turning to look down the massive 800 sf foot deck which runs the entire back length of the house. most rooms have a slider to the deck for maximum indoor/outdoor living. Interestingly, this is not original deck...
this is... wow, an 800 foot aggregate deck! that's what you can do with a steel structure (photo courtesy of Arts and Architecture, 1963)
another shot of the deck outside the kitchen with the second roof coming over
original Sullivan Porter slider door handle! all but one slider is original. Sliders are 8' x 10' and were custom fabricated to fit between the steel posts.
going back inside, standing in the kitchen sitting area, looking towards dining area and living room
dining area ceiling
dining area from living room
standing in dining area looking into living room (book case is not original- was added later). Another fun fact- the aggregate floor to the right was one place where architect was going to put a spiral staircase if lower level was built...
lovely, original open fireplace
original light fixtures are throughout the home
fireplace from the side with a dropped roof above, makes an intimate space
living room facing the back of the home
living/dining facing the back of the home
living room's large clerestory windows where second roof flies over lower one
going around to the bedroom wing where there are 3- 10" x 10" kid's bedrooms and a Master at the end of the hall... this is one of the kid's rooms. All have sliders to deck, and the view!
ceiling detail in one of the bedrooms. this roof deck runs throughout the entire home. it's made of 2" x 6" Douglas Fir and White Fir boards on end, rough side showing and glued together, appears to have been lightly stained
stepping out of another kid's bedrooms, looking in from the deck
master bath with its inventive corner toilet. both bathrooms have the same fixtures
Master is the last & largest room. has corner window
wide angle shot of Master bedroom deck area & view
deck view from outside of Master
heading back outside to the lower right hand side on the home.. on the same level as the front slider
right side of home, exterior has what looks to be a stucco skim coat
stepping back... right side of the home with upper roof, steel and concrete pillars into hillside
walking back to the house noticing this awesome original door bell!
back next to the home near the kitchen slider... structure above and to the right is the carport
detail of steel near kitchen slider
heading back up the stairs, through the carport and to the driveway... this is where the stairway to the back yard is located (wide angle shot of stairs down to back)
going down the stairs you can see under the house. David Thorne excavated when the home was built in anticipation of the lower level being eventually constructed
back view of the home with a wide angle. lot is graded but mostly unlandscaped
dry, sun drenched earth with a dusting of oak leaves... very Northern CA! this is the back yard (please excuse the sideways orientation- editor is on the fritz :0)
back view of Case Study #26
David Thorne visiting Case Study #26 in 2015 (photo courtesy of Kathi Elliott)
for you *enthusiasts* out there... some additional historic photos of the home
plans of the home (photo courtesy of David Thorne)
original elevation drawing with proposed lower 1,400 sf level (photo courtesy of David Thorne)
elevation drawing of home as built (photo courtesy of David Thorne)
Harrison family snapshot of home as it was being built (photo courtesy of Harrison Family and Kathi Elliott)
house construction- Bethlehem Steel worker, 1962-63 (photo courtesy of David Thorne)
steel frame of Case Study #26 (photo courtesy of David Thorne, Bethlehem Steel)
original brochure (photo courtesy of Arts and Architecture, January 1963)
one more view of newly constructed Case Study #26, 1963 (photo courtesy of Arts and Architecture, January 1963)
**all photos by Suzanne Dunn, The Glass Box unless otherwise noted. Please do not re-post without photo credit and permission. Thank you!!**
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any realtor or real estate brokerage. I am not a general contractor or home inspector. I am an Mid Century Modern homeowner with 15 years of renovation experience. Observations on homes are my own and are made during a walk through viewing. Buyers should obtain their own inspection by a qualified home inspector before purchase.