He cut into the hall, and now the living room has a colonnaded reading alcove Essay

By borrowing space from an adjacent hall, Berkeley architect Marc
Treib did away with his living room’s small, boxy feeling.
Openings in one wall extend sight lines out of the room, making it seem
larger. Treib created four openings in part of an existing
corridor’s wall, framing the extra space with an abstract
colonnade. The perforated wall still retains its function as a major
bearing structure.

The largest opening surrounds a reading alcove. Complete with
bookshelves and a built-in sofa with storage compartments, the alcove
creates a new seating area, which permits a more open furniture
arrangement in the living room.

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Two other openings are doorways. The fourth is blocked off with a
wall containing a translucent glass window, which lets more light into
the shortened hall while masking a view of the bathroom door behind. To
dramatize this wall, Treib created a distinctive surface by using wide
strips of fir plywood banded with narrower strips of birch ply.

To make the colonnade, Treib used 2-by-4 framing covered with
gypsum board. He brushed it with alternating strokes of yellow and pink
paint, producing a mottled, almost marbled effect. He treats the
colonnade as a sort of stage flat, painting it different colors every


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