Tom McElroy of McElroy Architecture credits his time in update New York for his interest in incorporating nature into his work. Now practicing in San Francisco, this recent project is a testament to that passion. With four kids, ranging from a toddler to a preteen, the home’s owners wanted to fully utilize and connect the living spaces to spread out for various family group and individual activities from games to entertaining to lounging. Additionally, the house needed to be connected to the rear yard with doors to handle the constant in and out of the kids.

Tom was inspired by “simple white country houses with big windows,” but recalls the home at the start of the project as more “smoky 50s gloom.” Due to additions over the years, the home had some architectural challenges, such as matching up where concrete, tile, and wood floorings all met in one area. Tom also had to design doors that worked with the large existing wood ceiling beams, opting for French doors over sliding doors that would have hit the beams. He added far more windows than a traditional farmhouse would have, saying, “we really maxed them out. It creates a nice rhythm across the walls. The simple cross design of the windows adds a subtle pattern without disrupting views. When the doors are flung open there is a nice connection to the firepit and pool area.”

While major construction was done on the home to make it airy and modern, Tom also preserved the character of the home in wood details throughout the space. A barn door was fabricated from old boards pulled out during construction, and its color is close to the walnut veneer kitchen island in the next room. On the exterior, the white board and batten siding creates vertical lines that tie in to the gray standing seam metal roofing. Inside all the concrete floors were polished so that their flaws and variation were left exposed, resulting in a thoroughly modern space that feels like home immediately.