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San Diego Home/Garden
"Guardians of the Past"

Owners of homes designed by the late La Jolla architect Thomas Shepherd glow with their good fortune. To own two in a lifetime is to be doubly blessed and to live in the architect's own romantic version of an 18th century Italian-style home adds a special touch.

A retired couple, who had owned another Shepherd-designed house in the same neighborhood since 1977, were ready to move to a smaller home when the Shepherd estate became available. They were well-suited to undertake the rehabilitation and restoration of this 1947 La Jolla landmark, which Shepherd had designed for himself before World War II and built after the war. They are to be commended for their sensitive approach to remodeling the home with the help of Dewhurst & Associates, a fourth-generation La Jolla builder, and La Jolla landscape architect Todd Fry, ASLA. Without destroying any of its most important attributes they have enhanced the small treasure in a way Shepherd surely would have approved.

The owners found a magnificent paneled wall, just the right size, in Chicago to surround the fireplace in the living room. Plaster was used instead of drywall to maintain the integrity of the home. The exterior paint color was carefully masked and retained as is and the existing roof's green-painted barrel tile was painstakingly matched on the new additions for the galley kitchen and the master suite.

"The designer-owner has such a good sense of color," says Donald Dewhurst, the project manager, who praises her choices throughout the project. Exterior and interior light fixtures, including chandeliers, were refurbished by Jim Gibson and retained. The front driveway, which had deteriorated, was replaced with exposed aggregate to simulate a gravel drive. The tiny kitchen was turned into a butler's pantry with extra appliances for entertaining, china storage and flower-arranging necessities.

One of the biggest transformations was the loggia, which had lost its original intent and has now been turned into a beautiful Mediterranean-style galley kitchen with cabinetry from WmOhs of Denver. A 1950s sliding glass door was replaced with a colonnade of arched doors facing the courtyard that emulates the original arched door from the living room. This makes the kitchen, with a breakfast table at one end and sitting area at the other, a sunny, cheerful place to be and enjoy the garden. A motorized awning controls sun exposure during the hottest months.

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