1538 Morley Street, built by Strong Properties, is a shining example of how density can be achieved, while sparing no expense in materials and construction. Chris Strong purchased the existing home in the up-and-coming Oakland area on a double lot, which was demo’d to build two mirror-image, side-by-side single family homes, complete with self-contained suites. He likes to describe this particular address as a “designed home,” since there has been careful consideration taken with the layout, design, and features rarely found in a typical spec home.
Teamed up with interior designer, Kyla Bidgood of Kyla Bidgood Interior Design, they succeeded in creating an authentic mid-century modern home which took almost a year of careful planning, designing and building. When asked about the design, Bidgood simply states, “I was able to design my dream house!” She was given carte blanche on this project and her knowledge of mid-century design and architecture is evident in the results. While the exterior has touches of west coast modern, the interior is a full nod to mid-century modern design with a Scandinavian influence.
This is a well designed, functional home. “I wanted the palette to flow through the whole house and not be broken up room by room or floor by floor,” Bidgood says. “That’s why walnut is consistent in the millwork, cabinetry, custom pulls, flooring and moulding throughout. It’s an integral aspect of mid century modern houses; they very much had a flow. Keeping that flow from the outside in and viewing the home as a whole rather than their individual spaces was a major factor in the design.” The interior spacial design was also important. The floor plan had to include a comfortable amount of space for different furniture configurations.
For Strong and Bidgood, combining their skills has led them to several successful ventures, with more currently in the works. As a quality contracting company, Strong Properties has a diverse range of projects in its portfolio. From simple renovations to complex commercial builds, they handle work of any scale. Having a millwork shop also allows Strong to be competitive, while providing exceptional quality and craftsmanship that he and his team have been building their reputation on. In 2013, Bidgood and Strong’s commercial office project for Mediacore was awarded one of top 25 most popular offices, alongside the likes of Google, Dropbox, Facebook and Adobe. Bidgood is also attracting significant attention, making the cut this year as a finalist in Western Living’s Designer of the Yearin the category of “Emerging Interior Designer.” Not that they need the plug; their work speaks for itself.
When it comes to the millwork, it is hard to ignore the incredible customization and detail that is executed throughout the house; the results are stunning. From the custom built-ins, feature walls and fine woodworking details, to the cantilevered vanities, full height spindles, and light fixtures, Strong truly has spared no expense. And, due to the volume of work they were managing during the construction of both properties on Morley, Strong enlisted the services of Jeff Davis, owner of ACER Fine Woodworking. Strong and Davis have worked together in the past on other projects, so he know his quality of work would be exceptional. Davis spent approximately three months working in tandem with Strong and his team to meet deadlines.
Speaking to Jeff, you realize that he appreciates the details, so it was a great project for him to work on. “It’s whatACER Fine Woodworking is all about.” It doesn’t stop with the millwork and construction of the built-ins, either. It is also carried over into the installation. When you look up close, the cabinetry installations are seamless, scribed perfectly in the process. Inspecting the walnut veneers on the bathroom cabinetry is a real eye opener. The cabinet doors are perfectly grain matched, and they wrap around. “It takes a real human to do this job,” jokes Davis. There isn’t room for error when fabricating to these standards, but for a woodworkers like Davis and Strong, this is where they excel.