Over a long career that began in the 1950s with an apprenticeship to Frank Lloyd Wright, architect Richard Keding had designed many a beautiful environment for other people.
But his own Santa Rosa home, built in 1967, was just a tract house on a suburban street in Rincon Valley.
He and his wife Jean bought the two-bedroom, two-bath house in 1976 expecting to remake it to suit their taste for Japanese-inspired lines and detail.
Architect Richard Keding's Home Remodel
“We were in no position at that point to build anything or remodel anything. In our price range, this was the most attractive house we could find,” said Keding, a mid-westerner who speaks slowly, measuring every thought. “As you can see, it kind of lent itself to what we eventually wanted to do.”
He is referring to the large open living room that overlooks a surprisingly green and woodsy space along a creek. With a little imagination, you could see it as a Japanese moss garden.
But more than 20 years would go by before the Kedings got around to making any changes.
“I suppose the old adage of 'the cobbler's children had no shoes' is an apt description of the situation. My client work,” he confesses, “was always the priority.”
What prompted them to finally do something was their growing collection of fine wood and rattan furniture and Japanese art.
Somehow, the old place wasn't showing it off to its best advantage.
“At that point,” Keding said, “the remodeling simply had to be done.”
They started with small projects. They redid the bathrooms, painted the trim, built new entrance steps. upgraded the plumbing and electrical systems and replaced windows and glass doors.
“But our progress,” he conceded, “was glacial.”
Finally tired of deferring their dream, they stepped on the gas, pulling in contractor Guy Hamilton of Santa Rosa and then Carrell Construction.