When a couple in Greenbrae, California contacted building Lab for a renovation, they had what would appear to be a reasonable request: to nix their home's wood paneling. Even though they were adamant about maintaining most of the property's original architectural elements, they thought of this feature as being too dated for their vision. But the designers had a different idea. "When this house was built, paneling was thought of as an interior skin, so they were installed everywhere," said principal Stephen Shoup. "In this redesign, we aimed to have a reinterpretation of paneling: echoing the original concept, but making it more strategic." The new layout of the 2,200-square-foot address had to be strategic, too, since the owners also requested an efficient open concept for their two young boys. So, the firm came up with a plan: keep the original footprint of the main level and add a mere 15 square feet to the lower level. Then, senior designer Hide Kawato and the team optimized the area with improved lighting, natural materials, and less of a barrier to the outside world. When they were finished, the firm and the family had happily reached a compromise that set a modern standard for a midcentury aesthetic.