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 MarcTreib did away with his living room’s small, boxy feeling.Openings in one wall extend sight lines out of the room, making it seemlarger. Treib created four openings in part of an existingcorridor’s wall, framing the extra space with an abstractcolonnade. The perforated wall still retains its function as a majorbearing structure.

The largest opening surrounds a reading alcove. Complete withbookshelves and a built-in sofa with storage compartments, the alcovecreates a new seating area, which permits a more open furniturearrangement in the living room. Two other openings are doorways. The fourth is blocked off with awall containing a translucent glass window, which lets more light intothe shortened hall while masking a view of the bathroom door behind. Todramatize this wall, Treib created a distinctive surface by using widestrips of fir plywood banded with narrower strips of birch ply.

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


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