Pennsylvania Ave Remodel


In early 2013 a client came to us with another ‘flip’ home project which was one of the more interesting ones we have worked on in San Diego. The project had been poorly maintained & abandoned mid-way through some alterations & additions.

The original house was a dilapidated 2 bedroom cottage built in a simple, toned-down Art Deco style with an incomplete 2-story addition to the rear. The back yard was a beautiful but weed-ridden valley.  However, the incomplete addition had a rather poor connection with the rear yard, with the apparent master bedroom and family room consisting of nothing more than your standard solid doors and tiny vinyl windows. The existing kitchen had become internalized, surrounded by circulation corridors of the addition. To be honest, it was one of most bizarre houses that we had ever seen, even in its incomplete state.


Typically as with every remodel project we work on, we start with a complete measure of the existing house, locating all the walls and openings in relation to it’s lot and it’s surrounding context, such as the adjoining neighbors, landscape and land form.

The aim of the new design was to simplify the circulation through the existing house and to create larger open spaces that improved the internal flow of the house as we as improving the connection with the outside. Small windows were removed and replaced with large window openings including a 15 feet wide sliding door allowing the master bedroom space to spill out onto the deck perched high above the landscaped rear yard below.


The ‘internalized’ kitchen was pushed out towards the exterior wall, now filled with light and connected to the rear yard. Access to the rear yard was originally by a simple staircase. The new design consisted of stairs leading onto a series of terraces and decks that make their way down the ravine as well as into the lower portion of the addition which consists of a guest quarters with a small kitchen, living and open loft-style bedroom in a beautiful single space with 15-foot high ceiling.

Internally, the house was finished with polished hardwood flooring and painted white walls. Thankfully, the walls weren’t painted in the more common beige tone prevalent in most San Diego homes and apartments as the brightness of the white simply creates a beautiful airy atmosphere that contrasts wonderfully with the blue sky and the surrounding lush green vegetation.


As with many of the ‘flip’ style projects that we work on, DBRDS’ role was simply to provide floor plan design and overall design intent, at which point the client’s General Contractor continues with somewhat typical interior finishes & selections. While we would always prefer to collaborate a little closer with the client and GC through this process, we understand that these types of projects are more formulaic to be ‘what the market demands’ and so we are not always able to take the projects through to a level of design that we would prefer. At the end of the day we are always seek to have a successful project for each of our clients and we are just happy to be able to improve planning of these homes for the future owners.

The project Investment Group was SDPB Holdings, General Contractor was EA Renovations Inc. & Interior staging was provided by Scout ( All photographs were provided to DBRDS by the client.

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