Category Archives: Additions

Welcome to a Water-Friendly Front Yard

We’re really delighted with this Piedmont front yard transformation – the homeowners had wanted a more water-conserving garden, and Plant Stars, landscape designers, replaced thirsty lawns and plantings with a new welcoming stone patio and low water-use planting. However it took a variance for this front yard hardscape to be approved due to the planning code, and we made a successful case with eco-friendly and aesthetic choices, and a persuasive presentation before the Commission.

The hardscape design includes low stone walls, stone pavers at the front yard and porch, new concrete front porch steps, new caps to the low porch walls, and a new handrail. Acorn Landscaping is the landscape contractor.

A relaxing water feature is integrated into the hardscape, giving the yard a serene feel – perfect to see neighbors and to enjoy the beautiful outdoor space.

We look forward to returning to see how the couple (literally) of kiwi vines fare on the new rear roof deck trellis – a fun and challenging design of shaped wood beams on an asymmetrical grid of heavy posts, incorporated into an existing roof deck, sporting an overhead steel tube grid with a diamond pattern for the kiwi climbers!

COVID-19 Update

The Jarvis Architects staff has been working diligently from home during the COVID-19 Shelter in Place Order. We are learning how to work together while apart and with the added distractions of home life. Our bi-weekly face to face meeting has been replaced with a weekly Zoom video conference that keeps us feeling connected. These drastic changes have forced us to be more creative, nimble and efficient. Hopefully this experience will give us all a renewed sense of place, purpose and the importance of home. We are inspired to find innovative ways to serve our clients in these trying times.

Our brick and mortar office is closed while we continue to work remotely. Please email inquiries to our Office Manager, Annie Horn, at We are still offering consultations for new projects remotely or on site with social distancing and protective precautions.

Milestones During a Historic Time

Happy birthday Glen! Our founding Principal, Glen Jarvis, turns 80 on May 23rd, during Jarvis Architects’ 50th year. Glen began his namesake company in April of 1970 after studying Architecture at USC. During the last half century, Jarvis Architects has weathered fires, recessions and now a global pandemic. Our endurance is testimony to Glen’s timeless designs and strength of vision. Congratulations Glen and Jarvis Architects!

Sketch of Glen working at home by Jon Larson

Piedmont Moderne

The design of this Piedmont home was inspired by French Moderne architecture & the architecture of R.M. Schindler. Schindler also served as the spark of inspiration for the perspective drawing, which evokes his style and color choices.

This unique home is the only of its style in Piedmont and a rare gem in the Greater Bay Area. Robert Mallet Stevens designed many Morderne style houses in Paris, a must-see on a delightful walking tour if you’re there.

Piedmont Moderne home designed by Jarvis Architects
Perspective by Jarvis Architects
“John J. Buck Residence” designed by R.M. Schindler. Los Angeles, 1934.

Townhomes with a One-Bridge View

Sale pending! These seven Piedmont townhomes designed by Jarvis Architects are grouped around a central courtyard with individual front yards and all garages hidden from the street. We designed these homes to encourage community engagement by including multi-use common spaces and a public path between Linda and Oakland Avenues. The homes’ design take full advantage of the allowable floor area for this property, where the top floor is concealed under the steep roof, punctuated with many dormers. While the townhomes are larger than most neighboring houses, their richness in a variety of architectural details render them similar in scale.

Linda Avenue Townhomes enjoy a view of the historic Oakland Avenue Bridge, and a sunny patio by the front door.

Living room bridges over the driveway leading to central courtyard – Good access to all the garages and great for scootering!

Public path is well-lit and landscaped, and generously paid for by the developers. Path leads to two rear townhomes and down to central courtyard.

From the community courtyard, the townhomes have an old European feel – Pervious paver-lined driveway reminiscent of cobbled streets.

Each home is unique with different floor plans and details inspired by English Arts & Crafts homes.

Design Architect: Jarvis Architects – Glen Jarvis, Arleta Chang, & Cindy Chan
Architect of Record: Hunt Hale Jones Architects, SF

How to Extend the Daylight

Whether designing new spaces or re-designing existing ones, we search for ways to maximize ambient, natural light and create open interior junctions. For this particular project, architect Cindy Chan reformatted the secondary entrance of this home by removing the walls and door that enclosed the service stair leading from kitchen to driveway. At the upper landing of the stair, she created a built-in bench with cubbies to serve as a mudroom/ storage area. At the lower landing where the exterior door exits to the driveway, she added a large transom window, creating a two-story view with an extra boost of daylight. An interior window set into the stairway wall connects to an adjacent office, perpetuating the circulation of light from the outside. A new lower floor bathroom is lit by a strip of interior skylights, set under the transom and office windows, which filter natural light into an otherwise windowless space. The exterior of the skylight shaft is disguised as a wood paneled wall along the stair. LED strip lights are set into the skylight well in the bathroom, which give the effect of natural light during hours when the house is in shadow. The triangulation of transom, interior window and skylight allow for the proliferation of natural light, even in areas not directly exposed to it.

above: views from the upper landing of transom window, interior window and skylight


above: skylight well with LED strip lights in the lower floor bathroom


above: the interior skylight channels ambient light from the floor above, and LED strip lights brighten the interior, creating the look and feel of natural lighting.


An Albany Record

A Craftsman Shingle home with an addition and extensive remodeling designed by Jarvis Architects has just broken the Albany record for home sale prices. Originally a single story home, it was purchased by the sellers in the late 80’s with the intention of building upwards to capture Bay views.  The original owners worked with Glen Jarvis to build a second story addition that harmonized with the late Craftsman look and feel of the original structure. At the time, there were very few two story homes in Albany. It sold at over $2 million this spring. We love revisiting old projects, and relishing the rich details of each!

See articles on the sale here and here

See the home’s listing (with more photos!) here

Hawaiian Oasis-in-Progress

In January, architects Cindy and Arleta visited the Kohala coast jobsite where a client’s new home is starting to take shape. The stately structure offers stunning views and sculptural details: tapered stucco walls and natural-stained shaped beam ends add drama to passageways and roof lines.


The beach is best viewed from the great room, main lanai, and pool.


The rugged local terrain is reflected in the use of natural materials, such as lava rock retaining walls that lead from the master bedroom to a lush garden of natural ponds and milo trees.

Oakland Magazine’s Best Residential Architect

We won!

Thank you to our many clients, colleagues and friends for voting us Best Residential Architects in Oakland Magazine’s Best of Oakland and the East Bay contest.  It’s an honor to have served the Bay Area in this field for over 40 years, and to continue this wonderful work.


Check out Oakland Magazine’s July issue for more!

Berkeley Fire Restoration

This eclectic 1923 Berkeley Arts and Crafts home was ravaged by a fire in 2013.  Though much of the exterior structure was saved, the interiors–the real heart of the home–were completely destroyed.  Styling and re-finishing the home had been a decades-long labor of love for its owners, who’d hand painted and hand stained every existing original surface. Throughout the process, they’d added their own unique stylings to the interiors, creating one of the most ‘Berkeley” of homes in the Berkeley Hills.  Though utterly devastating, the fire provided a rare opportunity for the couple to enact some much needed updates to the home’s interiors, while maintaining the stylistic integrity of the original.


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Above: view of restoration from the patio


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Above: Photo from the Daily Californian depicting the fire damage on the still-smoldering home


Architects Robin Pennell and Jon Larson worked with Berkeley’s Planning and Building Departments to seamlessly integrate the stringent Hillside Fire and Building requirements into the restoration of the home. Jon collaborated with the homeowners, working tirelessly to recreate and at times re-imagine the spaces of the restored structure. Peter Singelstad of Singelstad Construction in Orinda was brought in, and his crew rebuilt the home with all the love and care required for such an undertaking. Once the home was deemed complete, the homeowners directed their efforts to the interiors, lovingly restoring each space to its unique splendor. The intricate, painstaking work of adding final finishes continues today, and will continue for some years to come.


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Above: the restored dining room retains the home’s original tiled fireplace


3 burn living rm.

Above: view of fire damage to the master bedroom


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Above: restored living room with inglenook (as featured in May of our 2016 Jarvis Architects calendar!)



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