Newbie, Intro

Home improvement Q&A, pictures and news fro Mid Century Modern Homes and Houses(NOT for Real Estate)

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TerriLynn
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Location: Lancaster, TX

Newbie, Intro

Postby TerriLynn » Fri Nov 01, 2013 1:29 pm

Hello All!

I just joined as I have just recently purchased a cute little 1952 Mid Century Modest house, as retrorenovation calls it. We are doing a bunch of work to it, painting inside and out, repairs, etc.

I have some great items in the house, original hardwood floors under the carpet, so out went all the carpet, original built in niche in hallway, super cool enormous 1970's yellow range.

I am looking to do two things, bring back some of the original intent of the house design, but also modernize(edited: midcentury modernize I mean) it a little. I really wanted an MCM, preferably one of the Cliff May's over in north east Dallas, but it didnt work out. So I am trying to bring just a bit of that modernism to my little red brick house. Is that a horrible sin?

I have already removed the green gutters and down spouts and plastic shutters that were NEVER intended to go on it! Immediately after closing on the house the first thing I did was go take down the shutters, I didnt even have keys yet!

Right now we are painting the soffits and the window trim will be next. We do still have all of the original steel framed single pane windows.

I will post pics as soon as I can get them loaded to photobucket or something to link to.

Really happy to be here. Thanks all.
Last edited by TerriLynn on Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:15 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Van
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Postby Van » Sat Nov 02, 2013 8:20 am

Welcome, TerriLynn!

Personally, I would restore the house to what it originally was and choose some furniture/decorations with a mod flair rather than remodel the house in that style.

I'd also recommend living in the house for a while before starting any major projects.

And please don't paint the brick! :cheers:

And wow, Lancaster's a long way off from far east Dallas! It's too bad that the only Cliff Mays here that are/were for sale recently are remuddled.

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Joe
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Postby Joe » Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:24 am

welcome to Lotta Livin, TerriLynn!

I'm 9 years into my Cliff May. still have a few items to finish. always good advice to learn what you have before rushing into projects. I know I've changed my mind on a few things along the way and feel better I did.

LOL, yes, those plastic shutters can be awful!

look forward to your pics

TerriLynn
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Postby TerriLynn » Mon Nov 04, 2013 7:41 am

Well, the interior we havent done much, other than refinish the original floors and paint in the kitchen. The one original bath was updated sometime in the 60's with cultured marble countertops and wood light fixtures, stick on linoleum tiles, etc., and again with the new white tub and shower enclosure recently, so its not like I have anything original to work with there. For a while, the only changes in that room will be light fixtures, towel racks, new medicine cabinets. I would like to get some vintage ones but not committing to anything for a while.

There was a bath added to the den to make it a master suite also in the 60's with the cultured marble and worse is the brown cultured marble tub. BUT, the construction of it was very poor and the whole thing will have to be gutted, ie linoleum floor directly onto the concrete patio it was built on.

The kitchen was "updated" probably in the 80's or 90's and is just basic, but the veneer on the cabinets is chipping and peeling off. I believe it was done by the owner who seems to have been a woodworker or some sort. But it is designed very poorly, space-wise, so eventually I will get new cabinets, but yes, I want them to basically resemble the originality of the house. But that wont be for some time. I still dont know exactly what I want, and it wont be a full gut and redesign. I do have my awesome early 50's chrome dinnette set in the kitchen which is awesome. I have done the room in yellow and aqua and have some great vintage canisters, clocks, mixers etc.

There are several things that we thought we were going to do to the house that after living it in a while just cant part with now after living with it a while. Neither the bath or kitchen will happen soon so I still have while to live with it and see what works.

It is unfortunate that I dont have any of the original finishes in the house.

The "modernizing" I guess will be mostly in the landscaping, new porch support posts (which are rusted and not really supporting much at the moment!), which are actually a vintage design, just taken from another similar house and yes, also in my MCM furnishings, like my awesome coffee table and such.

Dont worry, NOT painting the brick!!! :-)

Dating Question: (no, not THAT kind of dating) When did the style of come in where people put the wood library paneling in the living rooms? Not just the regular 60's/70's paneling. This seems to be a Texas? thing, I never saw this on the east coast or while growing up in southern CA. Just trying to date when this was done in the living room. I am keeping it cause I love it, but just wondering.

TerriLynn
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Postby TerriLynn » Mon Nov 04, 2013 8:42 am

Ok, here are some pics, this is before from the realtor listing. Unfortunately, most of these plants were either dead, full of weeds, etc., when we got the house. The plants were really a mish-mash of items, not consitent in what was planted. No plan for the landscape.
[img][img]http://i785.photobucket.com/albums/yy133/TerriLynnC9/HouseBefore_zps6fee9426.png[/img]

Here we are in the process of painting, landscaping, etc. We will be painting the window and door trim dark grey also. I am also looking for a vintage door to replace the glass and wood carved door. The yard needs mowing and I am not done with the landscaping yet, but its a start. No more green gutters and plastic shutters. And, you can actually SEE the front of the house instead of being buried behind the trees.
[/img]Image

TerriLynn
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Postby TerriLynn » Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:18 am

Thinking the pots need to be bigger. I will be doing the same stones and pots in the front under the left window.

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Postby egads » Mon Nov 04, 2013 9:45 am

Actually, the planting space needs to be wider. Moving the sidewalk out would be my plan. One should avoid planting too close to a house. My ideal (given restraints) is a 4 foot wide bed that one plants in the middle of. This gives plants room to grow and still allows one to access the house for maintenance. A few pots on crushed rock is not going to improve the look of the front. I suggest you look into native landscape plants. Low water use is probably a big idea in Texas. It's amazing what you can do with natives. You get lots of butterflies and birds as well. In my city and several others here in California, the water district will pay you to convert a lawn to low water use plantings.

I would suggest you Google:
"low water use plants Texas" and do some reading

Here's one of the hits:

http://www.dallasnews.com/lifestyles/he ... raught.ece

TerriLynn
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Postby TerriLynn » Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:17 am

Well part of doing the potted plants was to reduce the watering. It really looks nice with the pond stone and the planters, and once I get the big plants into the pots I think it will help a lot. We are considering either the sky pencils or birds of paradise. I could do it in the rocks without the pots too. Moving the sidewalk is just not an option for us.
Last edited by TerriLynn on Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

TerriLynn
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Postby TerriLynn » Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:56 am

We want to replace the porch supports with these supports.

Image

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Van
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Postby Van » Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:55 am

If you ever have any questions about plantings, let me know! I finished the Dallas County Master Gardener school earlier this year. I've learned a lot since getting our yard done by a landscape architect a few years ago (both what's good and what's bad). Texas natives are definitely the way to go! I'd also recommend getting rid of some, if not most, of that water hogging lawn. This is a good book to get some design ideas http://www.penick.net/digging/?page_id=17902 .
And here are some other books I'd recommend:
http://www.amazon.com/Perennial-Gardeni ... 589791150/
http://www.amazon.com/Plants-Metroplex- ... 292728158/

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Van
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Postby Van » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:02 am

Also, it's not a good idea to have your foundation vents completely covered or moisture will build up. It used to be the recommendation but has changed.

TerriLynn
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Postby TerriLynn » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:04 am

Thanks for the book recommendations.

I would not mind losing some of the grass, but to be honest, I have not watered the lawn once since we moved in in April! I dont know if we have had an excessive amount of rain this year, but it honestly hasnt been a water hog as of yet. But I am considering some changes.

The vents, yes, we do have to put screens on those. One of the things the inspector pointed out, though my husband is worried about water getting in there and sitting, but if the air gets through, then it will dry out, I know, but someone tell him that! The rest of the vents around the house are screened and not covered.

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SDR
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Postby SDR » Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:09 pm

The new owner won't want to hear this -- nor will the orthodox modernist reader -- but I believe this neat little house was designed with shutters and gutters in mind. Look at the windows now -- floating uncomfortably in their brick fields, with nothing to tie them to other elements in the composition. Note the visible rafter ends; the rafters are spaced not to satisfy the architect's eye but for other needs -- even doubled in one instance.

Not every mid-century house is a Modern one. If this one had its brick window sills extended as a continuous string course, we would be pleased to note its ancestry in the work of Wright and others. (Brick construction, and hipped roofs, would put us there, too !) Sadly, this is not really the case.

If the owner persists in the bare-wall look, maybe something can still be done with the roof eaves. A canted wood fascia, a la Wright's mid-century work, would go a long way toward dignifying this construction, and Modernising it, too.

(Maybe, when the new trim is complete and painted -- a warm, slightly greenish gray sounds nice -- some exploration of, maybe, slatted panels one one or both sides of the windows would pay off . . .)

Best of luck with your project !

SDR
"I laugh in the face of danger! Then I hide until it goes away." Bender

TerriLynn
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Postby TerriLynn » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:43 am

The house was designed with the open soffits, no gutters, and no shutters, my neighbor, the original resident of her home, is the same and confirms this. I just wanted to bring back the original look.

The doubled rafter in two spots is a temporary repair until the roofer comes out to make wood rot repairs to the rafters caused by the addition of the gutters.

I am aware that not every mid century house is an MCM, which is why I used the term mid century modest, coined by Retrorenovation, as that is how I see the house. I just wanted to add a touch of the MCM in the paint and landscaping.

I will not be doing any construction to change the design of the house. Just wanted to clean it up.

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Postby egads » Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:33 am

Some of what sdr points out does back up what Van & I are trying to tell you: this place needs more not less. The sculptural quality of a true MCM, all sleek and horizontal is set off well with minimalist landscaping. (think Palm Springs) This is a very traditional box that will look much better with foundation plantings. It needs that foliage at the base. Here's some really good advise: Always go with what a house really is. Make it the best of that you can. Bending something to what it is not will always look forced. The best designers are not one trick ponies, but can work in any style. Basic design principals always apply. You need height here, horizontal there. Color to coordinate with the mass of background. A splash, a foil. Be bold!

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SDR
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Postby SDR » Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:45 pm

Stay tuned -- something is happening with this neat little house. I've got the bug (having finally re-read Lynn's very first post -- try it, you'll like it !) to bring a little Modern to the game. Give me a couple hrs at the boards. . .

SDR
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Postby SDR » Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:07 pm

Image


A deep-dusk view of Lynn's brick bungalow, with added woodwork. Stationary/sliding window screens optional.
Plantings below the new "chair rail" (and its own shadow) would largely obscure the discolored brick. The rail becomes a low porch railing at the center.



Image


A similar (red-block) house, seen here a few years back, to which I added (on paper) a louvered fence to hide a front-yard air conditioner unit.
The blocks of this house had radiused vertical corners; does your brick have rounded corners too, Lynn ?

SDR

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Postby SDR » Fri Nov 08, 2013 11:32 pm

Image
"I laugh in the face of danger! Then I hide until it goes away." Bender

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SDR
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Postby SDR » Sun Nov 10, 2013 6:11 pm

TerriLynn wrote, "I am looking to do two things, bring back some of the original intent of the house design, but also modernize(edited: midcentury modernize I mean) it a little. I really wanted an MCM, preferably one of the Cliff May's over in north east Dallas, but it didnt work out. So I am trying to bring just a bit of that modernism to my little red brick house."


I've attempted to fill that bill, but substituting a different strain of Modern in place of Cliff May's. After all, this is a brick-built hipped-roof house, not a gable-roofed post-and-beam structure. So I look to the premier American architect who worked with the those forms and materials. I admit that I've been looking for a long time for a worthy mid-century ranchette (?) as the subject of my little experiment . . . and yours fills the bill admirably. The lonely windows need help, now that they are cleared of the faux shutters. In their place I offer real shutters, which can be slid to various positions at will, supported by a rail system above and below the window line.

Any number of other patterns and materials could be employed for these screens. They could be plain painted plywood, or a translucent material like plastic or fabric. A pair of squares could close, centered, over the right-hand window, while a single square could take care of the smaller wall at the left.

The lower rail ties the house together around its middle, like a belt, and becomes a low parapet at the porch while supporting a handrail (on the right). I haven't shown the support post for the porch roof; if it is indeed structurally necessary it can be a simple painted lally column or a wood post matching the other woodwork. I've added a terrace in front of the house, as an option. This could have a seat wrapping a portion of the rectangle, detailed to match the other linear boards canted at a 30- or 60-degree angle.



Image

TerriLynn
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Postby TerriLynn » Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:31 am

Wow! Wow, wow, wow. That looks amazing. I really like the window screens. I will show this to my hubby.

We are definitely planning a fence very much like you showed there. We need to screen off the A/C, provide a dog run and provide a bit more privacy to the rear and side of the house so this works with what we already had in mind.

Thanks for all your hard work, I wasn't expecting that.

TerriLynn
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Postby TerriLynn » Tue Nov 12, 2013 7:33 am

SDR wrote:Image


A similar (red-block) house, seen here a few years back, to which I added (on paper) a louvered fence to hide a front-yard air conditioner unit.
The blocks of this house had radiused vertical corners; does your brick have rounded corners too, Lynn ?

SDR


This side/rear view is very similar to the side of our house also. The garage is set back just a bit, but it looks very similar.

Hmmm, rounded edge on the brick? I dont think so.

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Postby egads » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:12 am

What sdr shows brings up the roots of both your house and modernism itself, The Prairie style, first developed by Frank Lloyd Wright and much imitated.
What makes yours Prairie is the hip roof (no gables) and the brick. What would make it more Prairie is add horizontal elements. I realize what you like best is the vertical screens, but they work because of that horizontal belt line
that he shows. If adding a fence, it will be much more effective if you use horizontal siding like he shows. This would have once been very expensive option, but now you can get siding in a cement board material that is cheaper than wood and much more durable. It does have to be painted though. Adding a fence, just out from the house (not way out towards the street) will add that horizontal belt without needing to attach one to the house. You add visual layers like a stage set.

It all brings me back to the point I was trying to make: curb appeal, resale value, making it the best of what it is.

TerriLynn
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Postby TerriLynn » Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:52 am

This is the house that gave me the idea of just doing the planters in front.
Image

Image

I really like the look of it. What is it that is making it not look right at my house? The windows, the color of the brick?

egads
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Postby egads » Tue Nov 12, 2013 11:06 am

The mass of brick and the too small (and too few) windows.

TerriLynn
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Postby TerriLynn » Tue Nov 12, 2013 1:43 pm

Ok, got it.

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SDR
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Postby SDR » Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:58 pm

Thanks, TerriLynn and egads. While the Prairie (i.e., Wright) influence is clear in my intervention, the introduction of vertical elements like the sliding shutters and a possible matching fence are reminiscent of other modernist influences -- starting (like the Prairie School) fifty years before the construction of this brick house, and continuing right through the MCM period and up to today, where they are still highly thought of -- namely the Arts and Crafts (Stickley, etc) and the Japanese schools of design and construction.

There is a cap board to the walls of this house, beneath the eaves, already cleaned up and painted, which would serve as the upper anchor for a rail to support these sliders. The lower rail would be built into the "wainscote" trim below the window-sill line. This wooden construction could be built upon a simple angle-iron support -- a series of identical frames resting on pads or deck piers at the ground and lightly fastened to the brick wall. The angled board would be held away from the brick wall by a few inches, with the lower track for the screen sitting on the iron frame where needed. An alternative would be an all-wood system . .

The shutters slide open and closed at will, but do no pass each
other as in a closet door or cabinet, so only a single track is needed at each location.

SDR

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SDR
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Postby SDR » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:50 pm

The potted plant photos look good. I'm especially happy to see those beds of gravel or crushed rock.


All my favorite modernists are romantics -- of course . . .


Image

evqman
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Postby evqman » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:19 am

sorta newbie here.

I had joined the forum back in 2006 with the user name "vqman" but I cannot remember what email address I used, nor do I know my password anymore.

That said, I am in the market to buy a home again, and would like a 50's or 60's flat roof home in the Indianapolis area. Looking to buy in the early fall.

I can't remember the architectural "name" for those style houses...

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Postby egads » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:10 am

Hey evqman,
Welcome (back?)
In any case my first suggestion is to enter Indianapolis into the search here.

Most of the Real Estate links are dead of course, but the realtors who posted them are still around. So are the MCM enthusiasts who have posted over the years. Here is one of my favorites, who does not seem to post here much anymore, but his own blog is still quite active. There is even a homes for sale side bar:

http://www.atomicindy.com/

By the way, when you say "flat roof" I think of Joseph Eichler. He was a developer though, not an architect.

Also, do get yourself a subscription to Atomic Ranch magazine.

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Postby evqman » Thu Feb 27, 2014 10:38 am

nice link! thanks for the hookup!


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