Villa di Famiglia Vita

CompanyWard+Blake Architects
Lead Designer
ClientKatie Wilson
Prize(s)1st Place in Architecture Categories / Renovation
Entry Description

This extensive renovation of a 1980s Tudor-style residence
made use of the original structure’s good “bones,” unique
form, and excellent site orientation while shaping it to suit a
modernist design sensibility and the family’s needs. A four-
foot extension to existing kitchen and porch, a restructured
guest bedroom roofline and the reintroduction of a porte-
cochere element transformed the look and function of the
home (renamed Villa di Famiglia Vita because the couple
began their marriage with a Honeymoon in Italy).
Conversion of unfinished attic to a children’s floor with dual
bunkrooms, a playroom and open media room created a
beloved space appropriately scaled to young users.

A low-maintenance material palette of Cor-ten steel, Cem-
Clad panels, mild steel, sod and cedar proceeding from
exterior to interior spaces provides continuity. Enlarging
existing windows and adding new window openings further
expands the interior to its natural surroundings and allows
natural light to freely permeate the house. Sod roofs added
where possible also link outdoor environment with interior
spaces while reducing temperature fluctuations for energy

The interior’s most prominent element, a glass and steel
staircase, winds through all three levels in an irregular
zigzag configuration accentuated by its transparent quality.
Douglas fir ceiling panels, bamboo floors, built-ins,
architect-designed furniture and ponderosa pine-clad
windows offer visual warmth and a sense of intimacy in
priority interior spaces. Ultimately, the 85-percent
renovation of the traditional original structure pairs
architectural vision with the needs of a dynamic family for a
uniquely modern reimagining of “home.”


Ward + Blake Architects was built on a distinctive vision: be provocative in thought, flexible in nature, and disciplined in execution. Since 1996, Ward + Blake have been creating spaces that reference the land and the history of the region while also embracing cutting-edge construction materials and techniques. We have created a working environment where the powers of innovation, smart building and creativity flourish.

Our firm is composed of twelve trained professional people including four Licensed Architects, six Intern Architects, an Interior Designer and an Office Manager. Ward+Blake Architects is organized horizontally rather than vertically, which is to say that we realize our design work utilizing the strengths of our staff members at all phases of the project. This horizontal stratification allows the principals to be involved from schematic design through construction documents, ensuring that design goals remain in focus and project objectives are obtained.

Ward + Blake believes that architecture should respond to its particular place and be a natural partner with the environment. The firm’s designs evolve from an appreciation for pragmatic solutions within the honesty of modernism. By working within the context of our rich environment and applying sustainable strategies to a wide variety of building types and project scopes, Ward + Blake designs architecture that conserves energy and natural resources while creating high performance buildings and healthy environments for the buildings occupants.

We listen carefully to the desires, goals and program of our clients. Ward + Blake has an excellent track record averaging less than 1% change orders on our commercial and educational projects.