Wheeler House

Historical Renovation

  • Residential
  • CA San Diego

This project presented a rare opportunity to work within an almost untouched, 1950’s custom residence by Architect Richard George Wheeler as well as a welcomed challenge to update the historically significant home – cutting edge at the time of its original mid-twentieth century design and construction – for the needs of a modern San Diego family.

The home, which included a 1950-constructed house and garage and a 1953-constructed recreation room and maid’s quarters addition, both by Wheeler, had been commissioned and lived in by a single family who had kept the majority of the original interior and exterior elements of the home intact and saved the original drawings.  

 Because the property had been identified in the 2016 Uptown Community Plan Area Historic Resources Survey as appearing to be “individually eligible for local listing or designation through survey evaluation” and was a notable work of Wheeler, a San Diego Master Architect, great care was taken by the AMD team to work closely with the City of San Diego Historic Resources staff to preserve and restore both the home’s exterior and any interior spaces visible to the public right-of-way through the signature, mid-century floor-to-ceiling glass. 

Historic items of note include the stone fireplace, building-integrated block planters and wood screens, interior and exterior redwood siding, exaggerated wood fascia and overhangs, an interior block and copper fireplace, and expansive glazing.  While much of the original home was intact, over the decades a couple of the most dramatic elements in the home had been removed.  These elements, which included wood “fins” that framed an exterior patio and an interior walnut screen between the dining and living room were discovered in Wheeler’s drawings and restored.   

The new homeowners quickly became an integral part of the design team and, while they wholeheartedly supported the restoration of their new home, they also challenged the team to update the interior and exterior spaces to create an open, kid-friendly and high-tech residence.  Contrary to the surgical-like restoration efforts made by the team for the exterior-facing facades and public-facing interior spaces was an aggressive reordering of the “back-of-house” interior spaces which included small bathroom, an isolated kitchen and a closed off recreation room.  The team reconfigured these spaces to create a large master bathroom and closet suite, main bathroom, powder room and laundry room.

Walls were removed and existing vaulted ceilings were expanded to create an open kitchen, dining and family room with modern appliances and integrated audio-visual infrastructure.  The team’s design decision making mantra became “What Would Richard Wheeler Do” as the team worked to channel Wheeler’s envelope-pushing modern design talents.

Historical pictures

  • Residential
  • CA San Diego

Wheeler House Renovation

Location: San Diego, CA

Original Completion Date: 1953 (by Richard George Wheeler)

Historically Designated: 2022

Restoration & Renovation Date: 2017

Building Area: 3,571 sf

Owner/Client: Private

General Contractor: California Building and Remodelling

Furnishings, Art, & Accessories: Sklar Studios

Structural: Casey Pfeiffer / Pacific Coast Structural Engineering. LLC

Photographer: Studio Maha


Atomic Ranch, Exterior & Landscape Special 2024