Eight years ago, Reon Nakaya was living in Auckland with husband Michael Costantino and their two children when his mother, Maggie, lost a friend of 37 years.
Like many Gen Xers, Rion, 47, faced a familiar challenge from 400 miles away: trying to monitor the well-being of a parent who is mobile and comfortable at home but at a fixed income and overwhelmed by the demands of a 90-year-old. Home
When repairs to the 1926 Tudor in South Pasadena became too much for Maggie, now 69, the couple decided to move her to the Bay Area in 2016.
“We wanted to be close to my mom and I initially thought she could go up here,” says Reyon, founder and editor of Digital Producer and Kid Should See This Dis, a free educational video resource for teachers and families.
“My goal was to be close to her and have the kids spend real time with her.”
Newly renovated 90+ year old South Pasadena residence of Michael Costenino and Reon Nakaya. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
Michael Cocentino and his wife, Reon Nakaya, relax on the deck of their South Pasadena home. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
The deck serves as a bridge between the main house and the ADU. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
The ADU needed to look like a garage in the historic district because it is visible from the street. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
A window in the ADU from a 550-square-foot garage designed by Medium Plenty. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
A sliding Nanwal opens out the kitchen and dining room. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
The living room of the newly renovated house had original fireplaces and greedy ceilings. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
The open kitchen connects to the living room. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
A view of the cave outside the living room as you enter the house. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
Custom bookshelves are on the kitchen wall. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
Medium Plenty architects Ian Reed and Gretchen Krebs designed the open kitchen with entertainment in mind. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
Jodi is a fan of mid-century, Scandinavian and Japanese designs. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
A photograph of the dining room captures the couple’s children at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
Globes rest on top of custom wood cabinets in the living room. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
The ADU is far from the main house, with a side entrance. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)
There is an elevator inside the South Pasadena ADU. (Mariko Reed)
For over a year, the couple sought affordable fares for Maggie within walking distance of their Oakland fares. They also sought a property in the eastern bay that could accommodate all of them. But in the midst of an increase in multi-generational living – a recent Pew Research Center study found that 60 million Americans, or four times more than in 1971, lived in multi-generational housing – and as the value of real estate increased, the family decided it would make more sense to move. Reconstruct childhood homes in South Pasadena and Reynolds.
“I made a lot of money, but it was getting harder and harder to make ends meet,” says Michael. “We’ve heard stories about people showing up with technical money and buying houses for cash.”
For Nakaya and Costantino, the question for the South Pasadena home was not just about rebuilding the kitchen and updating the HVAC, but about how the three generations could live comfortably together, respecting Maggie’s need for privacy and independence.
The answer came by converting the isolated garage into a 550-square-foot auxiliary housing unit, otherwise known as the ADU or Granny Flat for Maggie.
The main house, which was dilapidated years after the postponed repairs, will require a complete overhaul, with the addition of a master bedroom that was in dilapidated condition, exterior stucco, roof, water-damaged siding and interior parts.
After seeing the work of Medium Plenty, based in Northern California, Oakland, Cocentino and Nakaya, a senior builder at KPCC, approached the firm’s architects, Gretchen Krebs and Ian Reid, to help renovate the property.
The married architects understood the couple’s admiration for medieval modern architecture and Scandinavian and Japanese design, as well as their desire to create two different houses for three generations.
“We’ve thought about it a lot,” Reid said of the anxiety in old age. “Our parents are at different levels of health and economics. We understand the need to create enough space for people to have autonomy between them and an area where they can join communally.
But reconstruction will not be easy. Because the house was located in the historic district of South Pasadena, architects working on the Downey-based GA Design Build needed to preserve the qualities of a single-family home, such as the Tudor language of street-facing. , And design the ADU, which will be visible from the street, looking like a garage.
That didn’t stop them from pushing the envelope backwards, where they designed a completely modern exterior with bold black windows, diagonal cedar siding in the master bedroom extension, and a dramatic pitched roof filled with black trellis extending to the back. Black trim echoes in kitchens and windows.
“We were very limited at the front, so using some of the house references, there was room to move backwards,” says Krebs. “It’s a lot of fun to walk back and see a completely different house.”
In its new expression, the main house is only slightly larger: 1,636 square feet instead of 1,446. It also has an open floor plan, lots of skylights that bathe the interior in light and warm wooden cabinets for family books and luggage.
While the living room with the original fireplace and greedy roof of the house remained intact, all the interior parts were destroyed to create a more flexible floor plan with easy flow for the couple’s children – Clementine, 11, and Dante, 14 – other family members. And friends.
The wall separating the kitchen from the backyard is now removed, an open, light-filled space overlooking the yard and a new communal deck that serves as a bridge between the house and the ADU.
“We wanted to open it,” Reon says. “The house was very dark and the moderate spaciousness added large windows, lanterns and skylights that give a sense of nature inside. We live in a tree-friendly town and there are many birds and squirrels in the neighborhood. It makes a big difference.”
The small floor plan secured the yard in long and narrow spaces, leaving room for basketball hoops, an outdoor dining area and Rayon’s drought-tolerant and food garden projects. Architects also maximized space by adding a garage and main house built-in storage and an attic over most of the space.
Adding to the modern feel of the courtyard, the architects added the exterior of the ADU with diagonal cedar panels as if adding a master bedroom. Off the courtyard and off the street, Maggie’s dormitory is far from the main house, with private entrances to the side and back, where her door opens onto a fenced courtyard providing ample room for dogs.
“The existing layout of the building was well suited for ADU because it’s all the same level,” says Krebs. “Families can be next to each other and then be able to come together.”
For Maggie, the ADU needs to be big enough for her to feel comfortable and comfortable, but maintenance is not that big of a problem. Architects built a small Ikea kitchen with nonsense linoleum floors, semi-handmade fronts, skylights, a bathroom with a curbless shower for easy access, and a scaffolding for storage.
“She didn’t want to feel that way,” she read. “She wanted a colorful, clean box for her things and antiques.”
When asked if there is any advice for homeowners considering ADU, it is important for architects to be clear on construction guidelines before proceeding.
“The ADU looks a lot less than a house, but it’s still a house,” Read says. The South Pasadena ADU cost about $ 250,000 when completed in October 2021, but architects say it will cost twice as much as today due to supply chain and labor problems. “Be clear about what’s going on in the guidelines. You could invest a lot of money in the project and find that you don’t qualify for the permits, or you’ll have to upgrade, and it will cost more than you think.”
Twenty-two years later, Reynolds returns home to Los Angeles County, where she says her absence has changed dramatically.
Before the epidemic, she envisioned hosting friends in the family’s new open kitchen, which was specifically designed for entertainment. She also hoped to help her uncle, her mother’s older brother, who had been battling cancer for many years before dying in 2020.
Still, much the same. Her secondary school principal lives on the street. Her children attend the same school that she attended in her youth.
The property looks like a modern retreat on a small town-like street, and the couple are happy with the communal feel of the home. “We have dinner with my mom a few times a week,” says Reon. “Pizza nights on Mondays. We send the kids with her mail and they help her wash the dogs.”
Michael, 47, adds: “I found out [Maggie] It’s been over 20 years now, but I’ve never known him, because we don’t live close by. Now that we’ve met each other so many times, I have a chance to get to know him in a way I didn’t before. ”
Working in the technical industry, the couple lived a nomadic life for many years, living in Brooklyn, London, Paris and the Bay Area. Now that they’re rooted in South Pasadena, they say their children have something they love growing up with: a relationship with their grandmother.
“It’s a great gift to spend time with mom,” says Reynolds. “We consider ourselves very lucky.”