Cerny’s design included three segments that wrapped around the brow of a heavily wooded hill. The rear wall facing the woods is almost completely windowed. Unique elements to the home that exist today include:
- Fourteen clerestory windows connecting roofs set at different angles, allowing for natural light throughout the day
- Exterior walls punctuated by windows and wide eaves on all elevations
- Mahogany doors throughout the house, as well as three large mahogany closets and a wall of built-in bookshelves
Ms. Johnson and Mr. Anton purchased the home in 2014, and spent over five months planning for both interior and exterior improvements to the home that would be sensitive to Robert Cerny’s original design.
Some of the numerous projects they undertook included:
- Replacing the antiquated lighting system for clerestory windows with LED strips
- Remodeling kitchen and bathrooms protecting original exterior window patterns, and replacing a faulty in-floor heating system.
- Adding light wells to one-third of the backside of the house bringing natural light into the garage and lower level bathroom. Adding similar lighting to a newly created office.
- Replacing the double garage door with milled vertical siding that matched house siding.
- Interestingly, they found that the original owner, Ralph Hultgren owned a plumbing company and installed a hot water baseboard radiator heating system with separate controls for five zones - a forward thinking system for the times. In-floor heating added to two remodeled bathrooms was connected to that original system.
- The original outside in-ground lighting system for the walkways in front of the house was inoperable, thus was replaced with an LED system.
- Period furniture and art was purchased from re-sale stores in Palm Springs and San Diego.
In this day and age when people are quick to purchase older homes and tear them down to build new, the Heritage Preservation Commission commended Nancy Johnson and Paul Anton for the interest they took to research and preserve Robert Cerny’s design style - creating a home that stays true to Mr. Cerny’s vision, while improving the home’s contemporary livability.