Check my logic here, please.

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solveg
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Check my logic here, please.

Postby solveg » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:45 am

Hi, I'm a new member who is about to put an offer on a 1200 sq ft architect 1960 home. It is almost untouched since 1960, but has been abandoned and needs work. It is a seasonal home for me, so it needs to be relatively carefree. It is a concrete block partial slab on grade home with a roof that is that tar and gravel with the gravel embedded.

I came to the board because I was considering doing something on your list of "how to ruin a MCM home", so I thought I better do some more research.

1. I would like to put a floating wood floor in, possibly with heating pads under it. I don't understand at all why this would be offensive. The option of polishing the concrete is too cold for the climate and I heard that anything you put on the concrete WILL get mold, so rugs wouldn't help. Wood seems the rational and aesthetic choice, but it's better if it's raised slightly off the concrete, right? It will be warmer, and better for the wood.

2. Roofing- I want to put a metal roof on it, not only because, to me, it seems a good match for the house, but also because it is low pitch in a place that gets a lot of ice storms, and I may not see damage for several months.

From : "Because of the low slope, water travels off the roof at a slower pace. For this reason, composite shingles do not provide adequate protection from the elements on most MCM homes. A better choice is a metal roof, which also does well with the frequent hail that plagues Texas, or roll roofing. " And, if I do a google search for mcm homes with metal roofs, it seems that it's quite common.

3: Now here I want you to check my logic: I have a 60's builder-designed rambler as my main home, and I'm working with it on the assumption that ramblers are the offspring of the bungalows. Using Frank Lloyd Wright and similar architects as inspiration, my main rambler has kind of a weird Danish Modern/Japanese mix going on. It has a lot of teak danish modern, but has Shoji Doors as window coverings for the big 12' picture window, for instance. It works really well.

Now, the way you guys talk, I'm kind of picking up that this might be disrespectful to the architecture, especially regarding landscaping? But I'm not at all sure that the current "mod" trends are more valid than the earthy nature stuff that was going on at the same time. I think that this era was as much about Japanese and Scandinavian simplicity as it was about the new materials that were being used, right?

4. And this one is easy... Going back to the whole idea of ramblers being descended from bungalows, I have discovered that this house barely has any overhead lights. This isn't really practical... although I like the concept. Are you guys adding lights, and if so, what kind? I see in this house that there are 2 ceiling fans and you guys put that in your no-no list. But I see them as totally practical in a concrete house with an arched ceiling. A necessity, even, and I can't believe they wouldn't have used them in the 50's and 60's. My AC comes from the floor vents, and I need circulation, as well as bringing that warm air back down in the winter.

Thanks in advance.

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Postby egads » Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:45 pm

I don't really have time to address all of your points right now, but I didn't want you to feel neglected.....And welcome by they way.

One of the better floating floors for a MCM would be the cork one. We have had a member here put a floating one in. I see nothing wrong with that. I think the main objection to the floating floors is that so many cheap laminates look, well, cheap. Cork, or real wood one like oak or maple & a 2-3" board width look is fine. What you don't want is some dark hand scraped wood that was not generally used midcentury*. The thing I don't like about them is that they require a lot of expansion & contraction space that makes the base molding too big and the transitions between the rooms seem to have some tripping hazard joiner. How successful the install is depends on the floor plan an how those transitions are done.

Electric heat underneath can work I think, just study the manufacturer's recommendations. There are floors that cannot be used above heat mats. Depending on where the house is and the local electric rates, it can be really expensive to operate.

About ceiling fans: Just use the plainest one you can find. A brass one with a Victorian light kit, not so much. I have used fans that are more expensive than the typical Home Depot stuff that are stainless & have up lighting built into them. Some modern ones are OK, but you can't go wrong with a very plain fan.

Japan, Denmark and especially Hawaii were really popular in the 50's.

Remember less is more. Don't let some flooring guy talk you into being fancy when you know it's not the best way to go. Ask for plain streamline base and base shoe molding instead of 1/4 round.

* I am always amused that folks who would go gaga over an old narrow t & g oak floor in an house they where looking at cannot be talked into installing it in the house they have.

solveg
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Postby solveg » Sun Mar 10, 2013 7:57 pm

Thanks for the response. I'm not really into cork... it's too in style right now and I like the look of traditional floors more. I've heard that they make floating wood very nice now, but I haven't looked at it yet. This house has no doors, so I think it wouldn't have any weird tripping hazards, but I'll keep that in mind. If they're still making shiny laminate, I'll explore other options.

In the house I just finished, I got every bit and piece from Craig's list. Even the appliances are yellow, with a push button stove top. (That was another thing I didn't understand from your list... how yellow was not an approved color. But my kitchen was has the yellow boomerang countertops and appliances, so I'm pretty sure the color was used.) Plus, in this house I'm thinking of buying, there have been 2 coats of paint since 1960. The first one was yellow.

My music stand is even danish modern FROM Denmark. So I won't be shopping at Home Depot. I am just surprised that the aesthetic everyone seems to be coming from is so uniform. These homes were made for easy living, using new techniques and products. The architect of this house (and Wright) often used floor heating techniques, and probably would have loved the thermal mats.

Glad to hear I can have ceiling fans. It makes no sense to suffer, and I think they would have put in ceiling fans if their ac units weren't up to snuff.

Here's a weird tidbit....the architect who built my house actually had no tolerance for repairs... after he built a house he was through with it and whenever anyone asked him for restoration advice he'd say they should just tear it down and build something new. So he'd laugh at me trying to figure out how to restore his house.

solveg
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Postby solveg » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:42 pm


solveg
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Postby solveg » Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:49 pm


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Postby Futura Girl » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:43 pm


solveg
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Postby solveg » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:49 pm

I made you angry by asking why I can't put heat under my wooden floor or have ceiling fans?

This is disturbing. I am a person who has already returned one ramber to original state and am about to do another, with great respect for the fact that it's almost all original. I'm even asking about the right way to deep clean the mahogany wood, when I notice that many of you have replaced the cabinets. So I don't deserve your anger.

I'm simply asking why you listed some of the things in your "how to screw up your MCM". It's floating all over the place out on the internet, so hopefully it will bring people to your forum to be guided. I don't think it behooves your cause to not be helpful once they get here.

I am attempting to restore* the house, not renovate it, but wanted to know why certain things which would improve livibility were disproved of. I'm not CHANGING anything, unless I have to for comfort. I* have been down researching other homes by the same guy and trying to find the original floorplan and sketches. But you guys assume I'm ruining it? Seriously, if you want to help save houses, it's not by treating new members coldly.

Thanks for your help. Guess I'll go elsewhere. I was simply excited about the house and planning. I only have another 2 months to work on it before I leave for home. I'm putting the offer in tomorrow.

She wrote: "why? you ask why???

if you owned a mondrian painting, would you ask thomas kinkade to paint nice little cottage over it?

or let's say you owned a picasso pencil sketch. Would you start to color it in cause you just don't like black and white?

if you are lucky enough to own a decent piece of original architecture, the advice is there to say - don't mess with it. like a piece of fine art, sure, go ahead and get a good matte, and a nice frame. And set it up someplace nice on a clean wall and enjoy it, but don't mess with the original intent of the piece. if you do, you devalue the artwork.

when you buy architecture, you become the custodian. you are the guardian. otherwise, go buy a regular old house and leave the architecture alone.

that is why i always advise people to live in the house for at least a year before you start any major renovations. get to understand what the artist/architect created before you muck it up and regret it down the line.

in your case, you have not even put an offer on the place and you are already making changes?!?! we see that once in a while on lotta. once you get to know our forum better, you will see that many bits of advice are tongue in cheek, but other comments are fiercely protective, because quite simply, original condition mid century
modern original architecture is a very very very endangered species and we love it."

solveg
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Postby solveg » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:41 pm

Oh, one more thing. The house is unlivable. I'm not asking Kinkade to paint a "little house" on a Mondrian. I'm trying to figure out what roof to put on it if the inspector says I have to put a new one on.

I'm asking all these questions so that I know if I can afford to buy the home, considering the extensive repairs. It's original but in very bad condition. I will easily be putting the same amount into it that I am paying for it. It was damaged by a storm and left for some years. So I'm estimating how much it could possibly cost to fix, and what makes sense to keep it safe if I won't be there most of the year to watch it.

For instance, whether I'm "coloring in a Picasso sketch" or not, I will be putting in heat on demand water. And the ugly little box may even be in view, I don't know or care. Because it's the right thing to do to protect the house and the environment if the house will be closed up most of the year.

It's also constructed from materials I've never experienced up north. Concrete block is full of mystery to me. How is it sealed? How is it insulated? What kind of paint is on it? You should be glad that I'm researching, and glad that I saw your 100 things not to do list.
Last edited by solveg on Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

egads
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Postby egads » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:51 pm

You asked why and got an answer that was mostly general and certainly not a personal attack. Calm down. Many of us don't even remember some of the stuff posted in the "101 ways to screw up a MCM home" It's not exactly an active thread. In fact, this whole board is not very active right now. That may have to do with the housing melt down. A lot of regular posters have either lost their houses or just have the wind taken out of their sails. Or they just don't have the cash to make many changes. So do not interpret the lack of responses to derision. There just aren't that many of us stopping by daily. It might take weeks to get several answers. Preaching patience is hardly an attack. It's good advise. Most of the groans we have are from flippers. Many a house around here has been brought back from a previous owner "fixing up" Some have new stuff because there was not much original left. There are folks on here who are way into retro and some just like modern. But Dwell modern we will be mean about.

I'm not all but hurt because you don't like my cork suggestion. I was thinking warm (literally not value or tone) and a product that has shown to work as a floating floor. And one that is truely MCM. You reject it because it's "in style right now" Indeed there are good hardwood floating floors if that is what you would prefer. Remember, back when some of those old posts were done Pergo was THE floating floor. My neighbors tore out a brand new one when they bought their house. Floating floors are popular in my neighborhood because the original floors are vinyl asbestos tile. Easier to go over than to remove.

My house has the original yellow cooktop & wall oven. There was only a small section of yellow boomerang counter that I sadly had to remove to have a dishwasher. (it's a long story, but the original enamel steel sink was 42" wide with barely 18" on either side. It's in the garage and will either go to a neighbor or become a garage laundry sink) Yes I replaced my kitchen cabinets. But only after living with them for almost 7 years. Believe me they were gross. Now I have lots of drawers with smooth full extension glides. But I also used the same type of wood (birch in my case) and carefully color matched the finish to the existing paneled walls and closets. Right now I'm living with plain white Ikea counters because the only yellow boomerang I can find is $325. @ sheet plus $75. each shipping. I probably need at least three because it only comes in 4' X 10' sheets. That's about half way to quartz before fabrication. So I wait.....

With respect to mahogany: What you may be thinking of is luan, a cheap type of mahogany that is full of small pits. The mahogany of MCM (still available from a hardwood supplier) is fairly smooth. How you handle refinishing kind of depends on how degraded the current finish is. But that's a whole thread all on it's own. There are some with some really good advise.

Do post the actual architect's name, we my know more that you realize. And some photos or a link to the listing. It would help to see what exactly we a we talking about.

And forget "trends". Modern was not about style. It was a concept that had to do with opening up space and bringing the outdoors in. Leave fashion to dresses. This is way more serious than that.

solveg
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Postby solveg » Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:57 pm

Thanks. Sorry if I got butt-hurt, but I was legitimately trying to do the right thing, so it hurt when it was implied that I was doing the opposite.

Yeah, I actually liked cork way back when but got nervous when it became so popular. I am afraid it might date the house. Although I suppose the floating wood would do the same.

Anyway, thanks for your response. And I understand the board is quiet.

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Postby classic form » Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:06 am

I wouldnt worry about dating the house (to this era) with cork floors.

I just returned my house to its original colors from '55 and it just so happens that everytime I open any housing mag there they are. I know that when we sell, hopefully decades from now, that the first thing that will come to a potential buyers mind will be "Oh, these colors are so 2013 retro". God I hate that word, "retro". There are many examples of 50's houses with cork squares for flooring material...i dont think I would put in cork plank flooring though if it were me.

As far as the roof goes, go with what works, it will be covered in snow for the majority of the year anyway:-)

I also wouldn't think twice about putting a ceiling fan in if that is what it takes to make the place comfortable/livable. If the next owners dont like it they can remove it easily without much trouble or cost.

I got nottin for ya as far as the block walls go, when you did your walk through did you happen to feel the inside walls to see if they felt cold by chance?

Good luck...

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Postby egads » Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:16 pm

One of the reasons I suggested cork plank (that I never mentioned) was that usually the planks are 1X2' each with a pair of 12X12 squares on each. When laid it will look less like plank than some wood plank does. When using floating plank flooring it's best to choose a product that hides the seams. You have good reasons to use a floating floor. (old slab on grade in a northern climate) Just like your reasons for wanting a standing seam roof. Many of us are in the southwest and simply do not deal with snow or thermal breaks.

Of course the whole point around here is to "date" our houses.

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Postby Joe » Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:47 pm

cork is a great period choice.

there have been several owners who have attempted to put wood floors over radiant heat. not a good choice. with warm and cold come expansion and contraction with wood. cork tiles work better in that situation.

do some research. lot's of period photos out there of Eichlers, Neutras, and Cliff May designed homes with cork. it's a great choice.

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Postby Joe » Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:52 pm

Good design is timeless. Sunset has been producing landscape design books for decades. you can find some great landscape design books on ebay for cheap. Of course, anything on Garrett Eckbo and Thomas Church will be good as well. Plant choices should be what's good for your region.

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Postby Joe » Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:54 pm

as for ramblers being descended from bungalows, I highly doubt it. More like a mash up of Cape Cods and Ranches.

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Postby Futura Girl » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:44 am

solveg, please reread my post and re-hear it in your head in "glinda the good witch" voice. it was not angry. you asked why. i simply explained.

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Postby rockland » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:19 pm

Oh, that was a fun list, and some time ago. It was just meant to be a bit realistic about not getting so carried away with unnecessary 'want' lists. Focus on the needed things that should be addressed, simple updates. Appreciating what original elements exist and function just fine, fixing what is 'broken' and making choices carefully. Do what you want, it is your home. It needs your attention to make it livable. If it has original elements, and they function just fine, live with it for some time and make those changes much later so you will have no regrets. That was the point of that thread.

Just not many people here to react to your frustration/aggression about your situation right now. Many other forums exist for specific needs once you decide to focus on that need. Like your roof choices.

I am very happy with my choices and some were directly chosen based on waiting for some time before ripping out decent counters or changing floors. I have kept my original cork, original kitchen, but replaced appliances that are much more efficient. If i thought a ceiling fan would help circulate air, i could care less what someone would think about my choice to put one in.

Just research your options carefully.
Is cork popular? Mine was put in in '62. I think of tiny glass backsplash as popular. Multi- colored. Salad bowl sinks, and faucets that i wonder how to turn them on.

Be more specific with important issues and post a few photos. Always helpful advice available to avoid mistakes.

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Postby Joe » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:17 pm


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Postby sdmod » Mon Mar 18, 2013 8:50 am


egads
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Postby egads » Mon Mar 18, 2013 9:21 am


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Postby Joe » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:00 am

sdmod is correct.

restoration, renovation and remodel. three levels of work on a house that are often misused. Realtors are famous for this.


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