Pushing The Envelope: Stephan Sardone Uses Unusual Techniques to Build Style and Substance

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With a dark paint scheme and standing seam roof, this home at 8725 Stanwood is the perfect project for using innovative materials. (Photo: Sardone Construction)

What stands out the most about Stephan Sardone‘s project on Stanwood in Casa Linda Forest is the homeowner. Not that Sardone isn’t a very talented builder and contractor, as he very much is. It’s that Larry Paschall, AIA, is a co-founder of HPD Architecture and straddles the lines of client and co-worker to collaborator, as he’s worked hard to design a modern, flexible space in his 1961 ranch.

A vaulted ceiling will let much more light into the living and kitchen areas.

A vaulted ceiling will let much more light into the living and kitchen areas.

Likewise, this has been a great opportunity for Sardone to use new and interesting materials to enhance the organic-feeling design of the Stanwood home. For example, Sardone will use a traditional Japanese wood-curing technique called shou-sugi-ban on certain parts of the exterior of the home.

“We take the wood siding and char the surface, and then brush off the burnt exterior,” said Sardone, who is fabricating the siding in his workshop. “It’s an interesting feature that also withstands the elements,” as well as insects. It’s a labor of love for Sardone, as it took a bit of selling for the client to OK it, but he’s very happy with how it’s turning out. “The siding, that took a lot of work,” Sardone explained. “We spent a week on that, just making sure we could get it right.”

The main object of the project was to increase the available floorplan, which meant completely gutting much of the living area as well as demolishing part of the kitchen to provide a more functional layout and a larger master bathroom. But it’s the clever little details that often go unnoticed that really make Sardone truly proud.

A recess will allow for a standard refrigerator to have the same sleek look as a more expensive counter-depth model.

A recess will allow for a standard refrigerator to have the same sleek look as a more expensive counter-depth model.

Take, for instance, the kitchen. Once a galley capped with a breakfast nook, Sardone scrapped the original layout for one that connected the kitchen to the living area, resulting in one large, livable entertaining space. Of course, when the kitchen is constantly visible, it needs to look its best. This can be a problem for anyone on a budget. Traditional counter-depth refrigerators that offer a built-in look can cost twice as much as one you might find at a big-box store. Sardone’s work-around is to add a four-inch recess to the wall where the refrigerator will be located.

 

“You do that and you have a counter-depth fridge and you’re not spending hundreds of extra dollars,” Sardone said.

That’s an absolutely genius idea that offers a bespoke look to the kitchen. “It will be a fun space where they can entertain,” Sardone added. The cabinetry will all be custom, and the counters and kitchen island would be topped with Silestone.

When we toured the home, the three-bedroom, two-bath ranch had just been fitted with drywall and would soon be ready for trim and flooring. New windows, which were already installed, are modern aluminum crank-case that open on a hinge. It’s a cool industrial-looking feature that gives the home a trendy edge. Of course, the homeowners are getting several wishes fulfilled, including a master retreat that includes a huge walk-in shower. That’ll be a nice change considering that, after a plumbing mishap a year and a half ago, the pipes were capped in the master bath and the homeowners had been using the hall one instead.

If it seems as if the Stanwood project is coming together like clockwork, that’s because of all the time Sardone and Paschall spent on the designs. From start to finish, Sardone said that this project will go from demolition to finishing touches in about four months.

“Most of the time was spent in the planning phase,” Sardone said, “and when you have a good plan, everything else just comes together.”