Client Profile: Jim and Mike’s Remodel in San Rafael’s Fairhills Neighborhood

Jim Tyson and Mike Perona Entertaining in their Home

Jim Tyson and Michael Perona with Thomas Henthorne in the dated kitchen of their just-purchased home.

Jim and Mike With Thomas In Their New Home Prior to Beginning the Remodel

My clients and friends Jim Tyson and Mike Perona have been renovating homes since they moved to Marin County from San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood back in 2002. They transformed their first home, 22 Spring Grove in San Rafael’s West End neighborhood, into a showplace, but craved a larger home with views. When they first walked through the doors of 42 Edgewood Way in San Rafael’s Fairhills neighborhood, they immediately saw the potential. The couple moved quickly with a compelling offer and the home was theirs. As we drank champagne in the kitchen, they began to talk about their ambitious plans to remodel the home.Jim, who works in human resources at BioMarin in San Rafael, and Mike, who takes the ferry into his dental practice in the city each day, were attracted to the end-of-street cul-de-sac location of 42 Edgewood Way, the large west-facing lot, and a home with a lot of potential.  They were also attracted to San Rafael’s sought-after Fairhills neighborhood, a community of mostly larger homes with great views and great neighbors. Though the home was livable, the kitchen was dated and the floor plan did not flow well. The couple likes to entertain and the small, choppy rooms did not make for ideal spaces for larger groups. “Where are we going to have the annual crab feed?” I remember Jim asking Mike as they evaluated the home. They also wanted a separate media room in which to enjoy movies.

The couple hired architect Niko Preovolos and embarked upon an ambitious plan: turn the former kitchen into an entry area, and expand the home’s footprint downstairs to add a large open kitchen and living room opening onto a spacious deck for entertaining. While they were at it, they wanted to create an outdoor space to enjoy the spectacular sunsets, and build a fire pit for chilly evenings. After more than a year of major construction and ordering a lot of Sol Food, their vision was realized — and what a vision it was.

Photo of door and entry area

This Entry Area Used to Be the Kitchen!


Jim and Mike were meticulous in their selection of components and finishes, from a 20-foot Fleetwood sliding door system to Loewen windows to the beautiful Caesarstone that adorns their kitchen counters. They hand-selected Heath tiles at the Heath factory in Sausalito to create a tiled area behind the stove that adds depth and texture. Avid dog lovers, they also made sure that their two beloved Labrador Retrievers had their own feeding station to keep food bowls off the kitchen floor.

Dining table and living room sofa

The spectacular living / dining / kitchen space faces west and south, with walls of windows that open up to the outdoors. The large stone deck is perfectly designed to flow from the living room, and the Fleetwood door slides open completely when weather cooperates, creating one big indoor / outdoor space.

The couple furnished the home from a variety of furniture retailers in Marin and the city, but primarily the now-closed J. Grigg furniture store that was on San Rafael’s 4th street. “It was a sad day when that store closed,” Jim remarked, “We could walk in and find everything we wanted.”

Jim and Mike, both avid gardeners, were keen to re-design the garden. They brought in queen palms from Golden Gate Palms  and worked with the architect to create paths through the garden leading to the natural gas fueled fire pit. “Everyone usually gravitates there towards the end of the evening when we have a get together at our house,” he remarked.

The focal point of the dining area is the large rough-hewn wooden dining table that comfortably seats 8. The media room opens off the living room and can be closed off with pocket doors but is usually left open (unless Mike is watching one of his science fiction movies.) They also added a half bath off the new entry foyer to accommodate guests.

What’s next? Well now that they have the entertaining and living spaces taken care of, the upstairs which houses a master suite and office need some attention. Still recovering from their remodel, Mike remarked they aren’t in a big hurry to tackle that project. Jim may have other plans, however, so it may be time to call that architect again…

View of Kitchen
Garden path with flowers
Panoramic View of Mt. Tamalpais
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