Newbie Needs Help- Restoring Modern Apartment Building

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designmatters
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Newbie Needs Help- Restoring Modern Apartment Building

Postby designmatters » Wed Jun 30, 2004 10:14 pm

Hello,

I'm the designer working on restoring a 1962 18 unit apartment building in the Mid-City/Miracle Mile area of LA.

As units become available, they will be brought up to modern standards but their layouts will retain the quirkiness that was built into the building. The halls are drab and will be spruced up, and we're retaining the glitter acoustic ceiling. The lobby will be redone and some mod character added.

The exterior will be refurbished, as you know the flush-windows-in-stucco is a nightmare for water infiltration, the windows will be replaced with energy efficient ones, and small canopies added to protect against water. The railings are unsafe and will be replaced, mosaic tile work either repaired or replaced, and the whole thing repainted.

What I really need are resources or leads for ding bats/ distinctive lighting and lettering, to give the building character. All comments and suggestions are welcome, thank you!

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Joe
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Postby Joe » Thu Jul 15, 2004 9:09 am

When considering restoring/remodeling your 1962 building, try to remain true to the original design and character.

Your description sounds like you are renovating/remodeling, rather than "restoring". Those term carry architectural meaning.

Just beware of what you remove and replace. Details like windows, railings, tile-work, lighting, and graphic imagery are difficult to reproduce and replace. Those details often give the building the most character. Adding something like window canopies can greatly change the appearance.

designmatters
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Hello, Joe!

Postby designmatters » Fri Jul 16, 2004 12:25 am

Don't worry, what makes this building unique is its modern massing on the exterior, and the angled layouts of its floor and unit plans. As we learn more about the building, we see more of the designer's genius in that no space is wasted, and the units seem much bigger than they actually area. All of these qualities will be retained.

However, in the 60's, importance wasn't given to bathrooms and kitchens like today. Some of the bathrooms are smaller than typical closets! Some of the bathrooms will be renovated, to make them acceptable to today's tenants.

Conversly, many units have amenities you wouldn't find in todays buildings. All bedrooms have 8' wide windows, and many have built in cabinetry and extra large closets.

The exterior of the building is all white stucco. We're going to give it a little accent color, and only accentuate the design. The facade is all about horizontal lines- the balcony decks project past the facade, and two unit's balconies connect making for long horizontal bands. As far as your concern for the canopies, they will also be long horizontal bands, over the windows, and two units canopies will connect, like the balconies, to reinforce the designer's intent.

The railings appear more at home on a 70's chateau building than a 60's modern, they are in poor shape and do not meet current code. Any suggestions/precedents would be appreciated.

There are not a lot of original materials or colors to speak of. Some mosiac work and terrazzo (to be restored), but the carpets and other finishes need to go.

What I'd really like help with is finding a supply place, designer, or manufacturer for a ding bat. Looking at the front you can tell where one was, but it was taken down and has been replaced with an ugly flood light. The owner's company's name includes 'Sunlight', so a sun icon would be appropriate. I appreciate any help!

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L.A.kevin
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Postby L.A.kevin » Fri Jul 16, 2004 8:44 am

There was a guy on e-bay a year ago selling them. He used the term "bug light." I did a quick look, and could not find any. I can recommend an easy way to make them. Ikea sells woks that have a spun aluminum lid. Get a lid (it's under $10) and put it over a flush mount flood light. If you want have some sputnik arms, get some black curtain rods with ball finials, cut them in half, and mount it to the wok lid using sheet metal screws.

As far as the railings go, have you considered adding mesh to the existing railings to allow them to be code?

BTW, how's your magnesite (I'm assuming you have magnesite, due to the vintage of your place)? If you happen to find a good magnesite place, let me know. I'm in the Mt. Washington/Eagle Rock area and need some work done to my 53 split level ranch.

Kev


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