Ross, CA




This project was a remodel and addition to a 60 year old home on a large lot. The site development plan called for the addition of a garage, guest house and pool. When the contractor began to dig the pool, the first bucket of dirt lifted into the air contained a human skull. Work was immediately halted and an anthropologist was called in. We found that the site been a disposal area, called a shell-mound for a local native American tribe. Under supervision of experts, we continued the excavation, and in all 6 bodies were recovered, five adults and a child. The remains were set aside in small cardboard boxes and according to tradition and law, they were re-buried on the site. The owners redesigned their garden plan to provide a special place in the garden and a commorative stone was placed to honor the history.

The house was almost completely torn down, but a few walls were left standing so that it would continue to qualify for “remodel” status. The interior spaces were reorganized to create a ceremonial central hallway. The entire back of the house was expanded to provide for a new kitchen and family room at the main level, and a new master bed suite upstairs. The steep roof created a large attic, so we enlarged the upstairs ceiling joists, added plywood in the attic floor, placed a hidden stairway in a nearby closet and created a large utility/storage/play attic for the kids.

This project was undertaken while David was Senior Design Associate at Polsky Architects in Larkspur.