100 Ways to Screw Up Your Mid-Century Modern Home

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

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hoodlam
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Postby hoodlam » Fri Jul 08, 2005 3:53 am

sure did, it has been interesting, to say the least, the choices made by previous owners.

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moderns-r-us
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Postby moderns-r-us » Fri Jul 08, 2005 4:48 am

Did you end up with any "issues" that are already on our fateful 100 list?

hoodlam
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Postby hoodlam » Fri Jul 08, 2005 7:52 am

oh yeah

vinyl siding over redwood siding
bad light fixtures
convert garage in to living space

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Postby bluecherub » Wed Sep 07, 2005 6:28 pm

White plastic lattace screens!

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Postby bluecherub » Wed Sep 07, 2005 6:32 pm

Shutters!...

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SDR
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Postby SDR » Wed Sep 07, 2005 7:09 pm

See -- just when you think you've thought of every last architectural insult !

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moderns-r-us
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Postby moderns-r-us » Thu Sep 08, 2005 7:45 am

I think that this topic has seen more views than any other in the residential category, possibly more views than any topic on the board other than the new members post.

It seems that this topic struck a nerve that was very ready to fire!

Here is one I have seen several times lately:

Screwing down additional insulation onto your t&g wood roof deck with screws that are too long and pierce through to the inside.

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Sienna
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Postby Sienna » Thu Sep 08, 2005 8:53 am

I don't think this one was posted yet - Painting over birch (or any other wood) closets/paneling.

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tikiyaki
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Postby tikiyaki » Thu Sep 08, 2005 9:52 am

hoodlam wrote:oh yeah

convert garage in to living space


I disagree with this one.

In SoCAl one doesn't really need a garage to protect his/her car from the elements.In the colder regions, yes, but not here.

Sometimes building in the garage is ok. I work in mine (it's a recording studio now), and park the cars in the driveway.
Besides, my 2 tone brown and tan truck matches the paint on my house nicely (or is it the ther way around ?)

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moderns-r-us
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Postby moderns-r-us » Thu Sep 08, 2005 11:58 am

Hey Tiki whatz-up!

Many of these "rules" are not hard and fast!

I believe that many of these things, if done with care and consideration, can be done well and be done in a manner sympathetic with the modern style of the homes. So much is dependent on the manner in which it is done.

We have all seen examples of the bad garage/carport conversion.

In rereading the list today, I found over a dozen items for which I could make a serious argument that they do not ruin a MCM home. Although, I can imagine versions of all of them that do ruin a MCM home.

Just like in so much of life, things related to MCM and design are not always black and white.

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tikiyaki
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Postby tikiyaki » Thu Sep 08, 2005 4:11 pm

Hey MRU - what's up yourself !

Yea...there were some things on the list that were debatable....but yes, there are "right" and "wrong" ways to do things. Poor Chimay kept seeing things on the list that he had done to his house, but seeing how HE did them, they looked spectacular. His house is amazing, and he had like 4 "violations".

I think that the garage is great for keeping cars in if you live in places where there are alot of harsh elements ; snow, extreme cold....but we don't get that kind of stuff in LA, so I say, if you need to build an extra room...build it.

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roxy500
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Postby roxy500 » Thu Sep 08, 2005 6:20 pm

Among many violations, our former garage has been enclosed (several owners ago) and they must have mis-measured when they cut the hole in the wall for the window because it's a foot lower than the one next to it. It's too embarassing to take a picture of. We've considered tearing out the "new" wall and putting a garage door back on. It's my painting studio, so a big door could mean big paintings! So many projects - they all take so much dough!

We also figured out that the original light fixtures were possibly replaced before selling the place because the realtor thought more contemporary ones would look better for the sale. We immediately removed some nasty brass and glass stuff and I still have a lame pewter and sandblasted glass Home Depot number in my studio. Ikea was out of the $8 okay sconce I wanted.

Haven't seen you in a while, Tiki! And as far as I'm concerned, Chimay can do whatever he wants.

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SDR
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Postby SDR » Thu Sep 08, 2005 6:30 pm

So, there's another way TSUYMCMH: let the realtor do it, so you don't have to ! (At LL we call this the "Joe Effect," as he was an early and unfortunate victim -- spray-painted VCT, indeed !)

I cry for those lost lighting fixtures. Irony, she is a cruel mistress. . .

Love the spirit alive here, which is to do what you must, in the best way you can.

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Postby Joe » Thu Sep 08, 2005 7:29 pm

I think tiki is a little defensive. dude, take a shower. so you live in your garage. so what. nobody is going to hold you up as an example of someone who screwed up a house.

In most logical cases, anywhere in america, a garage or carport is a good idea. sheltering a vehicle is a good idea, especially from the UV rays, dust, and crime you have in SoCal. Also, not everyone drives a car (yes, really). There's no way I would park my scooters in the driveway all night. One of the first things I did when undoing the crimes against humanity committed against my house by previous owners was converting my 11x30' narrow, senseless "family room" back to what the architect originally designed: a garage. Yes, I down sized over 300 sqft, which made perfect sense. many of the garage conversions I see are laughable.

It's OK, Tiki. We won't hold it against you.
Last edited by Joe on Thu Sep 08, 2005 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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jva
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Postby jva » Thu Sep 08, 2005 7:40 pm

I am totally guilty of

109. Hanging towels up in place of curtains (just in the bathroom, and it's a brand-new little cloth towel that I swear I will replace with something better, I just bought some beautiful Marimekko fabric, and I am exploring ideas)

117. less than thoughtful placement of the ac unit (I was a very naive first-time homeowner and didn't know what an AC unit looked like, and our front yard had no curb appeal anyway, and I am going to screen it)

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Sienna
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Postby Sienna » Thu Sep 08, 2005 10:46 pm

Joe wrote:I think tiki is a little defensive. dude, take a shower. so you live in your garage. so what. nobody is going to hold you up as an example of someone who screwed up a house.

In most logical cases, anywhere in america, a garage or carport is a good idea. sheltering a vehicle is a good idea, especially from the UV rays, dust, and crime you have in SoCal. Also, not everyone drives a car (yes, really). There's no way I would park my scooters in the driveway all night. One of the first things I did when undoing the crimes against humanity committed against my house by previous owners was converting my 11x30' narrow, senseless "family room" back to what the architect originally designed: a garage. Yes, I down sized over 300 sqft, which made perfect sense. many of the garage conversions I see are laughable.

It's OK, Tiki. We won't hold it against you.


Downsizing a half-garage-turned living room is laughable in So Cal's real estate market. I have seen a couple nice ones that are more like lanais

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tikiyaki
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Postby tikiyaki » Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:13 am

Joe wrote:I think tiki is a little defensive. dude, take a shower. so you live in your garage. so what. nobody is going to hold you up as an example of someone who screwed up a house.

In most logical cases, anywhere in america, a garage or carport is a good idea. sheltering a vehicle is a good idea, especially from the UV rays, dust, and crime you have in SoCal. Also, not everyone drives a car (yes, really). There's no way I would park my scooters in the driveway all night. One of the first things I did when undoing the crimes against humanity committed against my house by previous owners was converting my 11x30' narrow, senseless "family room" back to what the architect originally designed: a garage. Yes, I down sized over 300 sqft, which made perfect sense. many of the garage conversions I see are laughable.

It's OK, Tiki. We won't hold it against you.


Hmmm, I didn't think I was being defensive, I was just trying to present another side of the coin. When I lived in NY, the winters were definitely a GREAT reason for using the garage for the car (scraping ice off the windshield is NO fun!). I just think in SoCal, where real estate is REDICULOUSLY overpriced, and the weather is probably the most desirable in the country, the extra 400 sq ft could be useful for something other than protecting your car from the sun.

Also, the "laughable" garage conversions were most likely done by people with no taste, and no sensitivity to the original architecture (ie: not anyone in here)

The other upside (for me anyway) is that, while gas prices continue to escalate, my 10 step commute to work is a real energy saver. The only reason I leave the house in the morning is to go to Starbucks to get the triple espresso that gives me the much needed kick in the pants in the morning.

Oh, and if you have an expanding family, building in the garage sure beats the other "violation" - adding a second story.

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tikiyaki
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Postby tikiyaki » Fri Sep 09, 2005 12:20 am

Oh, MRU, when I said "what's up yourself!", it was not meant to be mean, it was me just saying hello (or, what's up !) back to you ....

just wanted to clear that up in case my greeting was misconstrued as something negative....

What I meant by it was - "hello"

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moderns-r-us
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Postby moderns-r-us » Fri Sep 09, 2005 7:31 am

HEY! LETS GET BACK ON TOPIC HERE!

I NEED MORE WAYS TO SCREW UP MY MCM HOMES!

Tiki: I took your "whats up yourself" pleasantly and in the manner you intended. And for the record my "whatz up" was referring to your return to the board after seemingly being absent for a while. If that is in fact the case, welcome back.

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tikiyaki
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Postby tikiyaki » Fri Sep 09, 2005 7:48 am

Yes, I was absent for a bit, tho' I did check in periodically, I just didn't post anything. I've been wrestling with my new G5 and Logic Audio, which has been a major stress-out. I was here, just not saying much.

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Chimay
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Postby Chimay » Fri Sep 09, 2005 9:46 am

Also still present, and appreciate the votes of confidence for my 'screwed up' MCM :)

Glad to hear Tiki's still with us.

On the garage topic, I'm surprised that my neighbor, Marty (PacificaModern), has not chimed in yet. We have had this discussion a few times re: our own personal garages. Mine is too cluttered with construction materials and boxes still to put more than one car in it. So I leave one of them in the driveway. It's not as aesthetic, granted, but I don't care that much. PM does, though!

We recently saw a great little MCM house in the University City development of San Diego that was just redone with a garage conversion to a family room. The garage was turned 90 degrees to from the street to form an L shape, just like my garage and Tiki's. This normally means that the entire front yard area is taken up by the driveway, and the cars have to make a turn in the front yard in order to access the garage. But in this case, the door was removed, and in its place were redwood posts spaced at the same intervals as the beams. Between each post were glass doors that opened up to a little courtyard area. The driveway was removed and replaced by two sets of gravel strips, separated by plants and trees - one for each car. So now, the cars just go straight in from the street, and park outside. It's hard to explain, but I'll take a picture or two and post them here. I thought it was a great solution, and loved the idea.
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Postby moderns-r-us » Fri Sep 09, 2005 10:09 am

Chimay:

Just for the record the marble and granite are two more of the twelve plus items I think could go either way.

I think most of us are thrilled with what you have done for your house.

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Postby SDR » Fri Sep 09, 2005 6:27 pm

Chimay -- So, the new "car strips" are perpendicular to the street. I think you described this interesting conversion quite well. It sounds very civilized.

One could even say that this sort of modification is conservator-compliant, as it could be reversed if a later owner so wished. If the structure permitted it, a real benefit would be a former garage space that had daylight entering from both front and back -- and there might be room behind for another "patio". . .?

The schemes like yours, that place the garage at right angles to the street (see the Gregory Ain thread; the Park Planned Homes have this layout, as does Photowoman68's new house), avoid the visual distress of a big double garage door facing the street --and also force the provision of a front "(car) court."

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Postby Chimay » Sun Sep 11, 2005 3:55 pm

As promised, here are a couple of pics of that house nearby with the garage conversion. We spoke to the owners last week, but I don't know them. The architect was Catherine Herbst, who's a professor at the Woodbury School of Architecture here in San Diego. I think they did a great job, even if this does mean that the cars are now without a garage. This is the in the University City neighborhood, in an area surrounded by P&Ks.

But I'm not sure that this is a P&K, actually, because the homes in the immediate neighborhood are not. It's the most modern model of the development, though, and the post & beam structure, cement block, and tall clerestories are all original to the house. Oddly enough, the garage has the best clerestories and most light, and is one of the best rooms in the house. So it makes sense to convert it to an extra room.

This is the garage. Only thing new added here (aside from new paint) is that new cement block wall you see in front.
Image

View of the garage and house from the other side. Redwood posts and glass are where the garage door used to be. Cement from the original driveway has been broken up and recycled to form a patio area in front of the glass curtain wall. Bamboo planted there will form a privacy barrier to the street. Like the effect, but I probably would have put up mistlite screens like in my own house, but to each his own.

Image

Close up of the same. Note the pea gravel driveway strips for each car, separated by row of trees to provide a garden feel instead of a slab of concrete (although bird droppings on the cars may be a problem!):
Image
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Postby PacificaModern » Sun Sep 11, 2005 4:49 pm

Well, I haven't checked in on this thread yet, mostly because I kind of didn't like the premise for it. I suppose that as a person who has made some pretty significant changes to his house, perhaps I am a bit sensitive to all of this! It just seems like there is too much chance to alienate somebody with this line. I know that it's really just kind of a joke but...after all, Chimay's house is so much cooler now than it ever could have been if simply restored to its "original, as-built" state. For instance many of the fixtures and hardware on the original house were patently junk! Why live with that just to "preserve" the original nature of the home? Ours were tract houses. Granted, they were well designed (in my opinion) but tract houses none the less. I don't think that the architects of the MCM era would use all of those same fixtures and hardware now, given what is available! We all tend to think of ourselves as the arbiters of good taste and appropriateness, however, I think taste can be a subjective, transitory concept. Which brings me to my next subject..My roll-up sectional garage door. Many would say and have said that the sectional is inappropriate for a MCM style house. While I agree, it isn't what would have been installed in that era, I don't think that having one today in any way compromises the house. For us, we replaced our T-111 tilt-up for many reasons, not the least of which was that we have a VERY short driveway, and when actuated, the tilt-up swung out into the space over the driveway preventing us from pulling completely off the street until it had swung up. A matter of simple convenience, solved with a more appropriate device, in my mind. There are many situations like this that arise with a house. Let's face it, sometimes there IS a better mousetrap! <<climbs down off soapbox>>


Now, regarding my penchant for garages. I LIKE parking my cars in my garage. it looks neat, they are less likely to be broken into, and the salty sea air we have here won't be constantly crusting our vehicles at night. It just seems to me that a neighborhood without cars left out interminably in each and every driveway looks nicer! But that's just me. Anyhow, I do really like the house that Chimay just posted pictures of, he has done a wonderful job of making that house work for him. (even though he has to leave his cars outside!!)

<donning flamesuit> Let the punishment begin...

Regards,
Marty

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Postby SDR » Sun Sep 11, 2005 5:56 pm

Aw, foo -- I agree with everything you said. [puts down mace and takes off suit of armor]

Really, I don't know when the first sectional roll-up ("overhead") garage door was installed -- but I have definitely seen flat-panel ("plain vanilla") sectionals on modern houses of all types. (The frame-and-recessed panel overhead belongs in ranch-house suburbia, however.) And the practicality you mentioned is more than enough reason to adopt this door in tight quarters, in any event.

SDR
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Postby ducatipaso » Wed Sep 14, 2005 3:25 pm

Image

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Chimay
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Postby Chimay » Wed Sep 14, 2005 3:33 pm

no comment necessary, indeed... ouch.
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Postby moderns-r-us » Thu Sep 15, 2005 6:57 am

While the house posted above is obviously at a low point in its life, my experience says that houses like the one above are usually at cross roads of their life span. One of three things will happen next.

1. It will be further remodeled into oblivion (See list above for all possibilities!)

2. It will be torn down to make way for something bigger and uglier.

3. It will find the right owner who will take it and love it and bring it back to its mid-century roots.

Lets hope this one is headed for number 3!


ducatipaso:

What can you tell us about this house? Is it yours?

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Postby moderns-r-us » Thu Sep 15, 2005 7:26 am

PacificaModern wrote:Well, I haven't checked in on this thread yet, mostly because I kind of didn't like the premise for it. I suppose that as a person who has made some pretty significant changes to his house, perhaps I am a bit sensitive to all of this! It just seems like there is too much chance to alienate somebody with this line. I know that it's really just kind of a joke but...after all, Chimay's house is so much cooler now than it ever could have been if simply restored to its "original, as-built" state.......


Marty:

Sorry that the premise of this thread was a sore spot for you!

I have to admit I was not in a "happy mcm place" when I began this thread. I had just witnessed the demolition of one of my favorite mcm homes in the area at the same time as seeing a few others being remuddled into some unrecognizable form. I hope this explains the slightly negative tone of the thread.

That being said, I think you recognized the somewhat satirical nature of the title. The title was meant to be controversial and provocative in order to draw attention to itself. I think it was successful in that regard. The number of posts and views would support this. The number of people who posted pictures of their own houses (chimay included) would also support that most understood the irony of this thread.

There was originally no malice intended, but I did unintentionally leave the door open for some hurt feelings. I have said this before, but their are at least 12 items on the list that I disagree with myself! Several of those involve Chimay's house. If you read back, I did warn people at the time to be careful to not be insulting.

All in all, I think this was a good exercise. Since links to this thread have been posted my our members on several other related sites, I have to assume people enjoyed it.

By the way Pacifica, I wholeheartedly approve of the changes and "improvements" that you and chimay have made to your homes. They are well within the spirit of the original designs. I am not the purist that some people are on this board and certainly believe there is some room for improvement in these homes.

Keep fighting the good fight!


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