Mark Kuz

“Extending the second story above the existing garage was the key to capturing the beautiful ocean views previously blocked by neighboring homes,” says Keitha Giannella, designer and builder of this La Jolla, Calif., spec project. But Giannella would have to do more than just pop the top of the house to turn this small 1970s pink stucco home into something saleable. The house had sunk into the soil, leaving an 8-inch difference between one side of the building and the other. Using caissons, Giannella shored up the foundation and then reframed the whole house, eventually adding 1,200 square feet.

The homes in the area are unique, and La Jolla has a village atmosphere that Giannella wanted the house to fit into. The design stays true to the Craftsman style, using natural materials and earth-tone accents, as well as design details such as wood trim on doors and windows and carved corbels.

This is a “huge transformation from a tear-down to a West Coast Craftsman,” noted the judges, who felt the details were “consistent throughout.” The home blends well with the neighboring Craftsman-inspired houses, yet it stands out with its “nice use of materials” and exterior details.

Mark Kuz

Category: Whole-house remodeling, over $500,000


La Jolla, Calif.


Keitha Giannella, KG Design & Build, San Diego