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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KateT(CA)
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Postby KateT(CA) » Thu Sep 15, 2005 7:49 am

I could fix that house up above a few posts...if I weren't in heavy negotiations for another one, that might be a prime candidate for my restoration efforts.

It's exactly this type of remuddling that can be fixed: doors & windows. The clerestory looks good, still has good "bones"... no ugly wire fence...

Someone, please, rescue it!!

K.
Best regards,
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Postby moderns-r-us » Thu Sep 15, 2005 8:00 am

I concur, restoration is totally doable on the house pictured above!

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I know its gettin off topic kinda

Postby modfan » Thu Sep 15, 2005 8:47 am

If I was rich I would know what to do too.
(I'll bet it's in the SF Bay area so might be really pricey, even in the condition that it's in.)
Get rid of the bay window, add a plain door with modern escutcheon, paint appropriate Eichler colors with an accent color for the door, appropriate house number (even the orig. style if possible) and appropriate light ,(even the orig. style if possible) do a little landscape clean up and voila!

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Postby PacificaModern » Thu Sep 15, 2005 9:07 am

Hi MRU,

Actually, I think I agree with you. This thread was a good exercise. As you say, it has been slightly controversial in that it does illustrate some of the differences between the "purist or preservationist" school of thought and those of us who don't apply such stringent paradigms to our thinking.

In my view, modernism must continue to evolve if it is to be a successful movement. While I relish, and admire what the Mid-Century Modernists designed, built and lived in, I don't feel compelled to make my home into a "museum" of a MCM life.

It appears to me that you and others here agree with me. I am glad for that. However, I keep wrestling with the notion that modernism as a design ethic and lifestyle may be a grand experiment that, in the end, has failed (at least for the masses).

The preservationist minded types would have us all using precisely the same materials, fixtures, and accoutrement prevalent in the Mid-Century. While I agree, many of elements are still valid, many are not. Heck, I like collecting vintage furnishings and art too! But I also feel that given technologies and materials available today, there are better solutions to many of the problems we as homeowners face. Why not use them?

Let's face it. The modernist lifestyle can be difficult to live. It requires discipline, more so than the standard consumerist lifestyle that most people seem to prefer. I admit that we (my wife and I) don't always keep our lives a simple as they should be, we have lots more "things" than we need. I believe a true modernist lifestyle eschews excess in favor of a simple organized collection of elements.

I would further argue that a modernist home likely requires more maintenance than other styles of architecture. All of us have seen the ravages of time played out on modernist buildings seemingly uncared for. Many people are unwilling or unable to take this on. As evidenced by the constant onslaught of owners taking what could be a perfectly good home and destroying it to make a faux-Tuscan manor. What gives me the inherent right to say that they are wrong? Am I bummed about it? Yes! But sometimes I wonder if it's for selfish reasons.

At any rate, perhaps this is a discussion better suited for another time and place. Preferably hoisting many martinis at somebody's cool modernist pad, or at least in another thread!

Best Regards,
Marty

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Postby moderns-r-us » Thu Sep 15, 2005 12:48 pm

Well put!

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Postby PacificaModern » Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:09 pm

Thanks!

I need a martini or eight. Is it happy hour somewhere yet?

Marty 8)

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Postby moderns-r-us » Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:39 pm

For the record, most of my friends consider me a purist when it comes to modernism. I think I am more flexible in my design beliefs than they give me credit for.

Some people can be quite militant about their own beliefs.

I myself prefer good design of any period over mediocre design from a specific period (mid-century included).
Last edited by moderns-r-us on Thu Sep 15, 2005 5:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby ducatipaso » Thu Sep 15, 2005 3:28 pm

I am LOOKING for a house like the one I posted above. In Portland. I am READY to buy, to remodel, to resurrect.

If anyone knows of a Rummer thats decent sized (no 2 bedrooms please) let me know.

I have another picture thats far worse, but I can't locate it. Next time I'm up there I'll snap another.

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Postby moderns-r-us » Tue Jun 13, 2006 8:17 am

100 Ways to Screw Up Your Mid-Century Modern Home

1) Adding a steeper roof on top of your flat or shallow pitched roof.
2) Ornate front door. (Etched glass windows)
3) Adding a second story.
4) Putting in a country kitchen.
5) Installing a white metal colonial style garage door in place of the original redwood sided door (pic incl)
6) Adding vinyl double hung replacement windows
7) Heading to Home Depot/Lowe’s with home equity loan money in hand
8 ) Adding inappropriate window treatments i.e.-paned windows, decorative shutters, fancy storybook scrollwork/moldings.
9) Replacing your tar & gravel roof with Spanish tile.
10) Covering your tongue & groove ceiling and wood beams with sheetrock
11) Roof over the atrium and add desirable square footage
12) Putting a white picket OR Wrought Iron fence in the front yard (or ANYWHERE for that matter)
13) One word: Stucco
14) Two words: crown molding!
15) Three words: 70s wall paneling (pic)
16) Carriage lights
17) Slathering one color of paint over everything - double points if it's Peach, Pink or Yellow.
18 ) Painting over stone
19) replacing single pane glass in the glass end gables with double pain glass or plywood
20) vinyl siding
21) Installing gaudy brass light fixtures.
22) Covering up glass or painting over it. Exterior siding over what used to be glass under the two sets of windows in the J&J rooms. Inside paneling was installed over the glass:
23) Replacing in slab ductwork with overhead ductwork
24) Enclosing the carport / Converting the garage into living space
25) Granite!!!!!!!!
26) Install over-sized "professional grade" appliances (Viking, Subzero) in small galley kitchen.
27) Covering poured terrazzo with Home-Depot ceramic tile
28 ) ANYTHING made out of bright, shiny brass
29) Tear it down to build a McMansion
30) tearing out the original flat panel, flush faced kitchen cabinets and replacing them with fancy, ornate routed ones
31) Replacing original wood framed windows with aluminum framed sliding glass doors:
32) Basin sinks / oversize tubs / Anything described as turning your bathroom into a "personal spa" or "retreat"
33) Installing inappropriately decorative house numbers.
34) selling off all the one of a kind, original architect designed furniture and light fixtures because it "doesn't fit in"
35) Putting in grid windows
36) Installing a ceiling fan in a vaulted, exposed beam/t&g ceiling
37) Using a pick axe or jackhammer to remove original 8x8 linoleum tiles so one can install Home Depot terracotta pavers and pimpin' purple carpet. I only wish I had the pictures to prove it. You simply haven't lived until you've patched and leveled the entire slab on your hands and knees.
38 ) Installing hardwood floors over a radiant heated concrete slab
39) cutting down the fascia, removing original down spouts to install gutters.
40) whitewash the interior with white paint to make it feel larger
41) marble!!!
42) STUPID DOOR HANDLES (pic)
43) Visual overload
44) Big Greek / Italian /Mediterranean columns added to the front (or inside). Also, gaudy statues and fountains containing cherubs, angels, naked people, The Virgin Mary etc,
45) painting over unpainted exterior wood (instead of stain)
46) Collecting and displaying too many knick knacks in a 1200 sq ft MCM house:
47) Removing all signs of nature outside by putting concrete everywhere, thereby defeating the harmony between house and nature attitude of many modernists.
48 ) Sticking a mantle on a stone fireplace that isn't supposed to have one.
49) Putting a white lattice archway in the front yard walkway with flowers and vines growing all over it.
50) Plain ole' neglect...having a cool MCM home, and letting it go...chipping paint, rotted fascias, overgrown foliage etc...
51) paint a redwood tongue and groove ceiling
52) covering beautiful terrazzo floors with nylon fiber wall to wall carpet to "update the place"
53) Installing an aluminum patio(far right of picture):
54) Popcorn ceilings
55) Installing the cable box right outside the front door
56) Putting in one of those one-piece molded plastic mailboxes on a post.
57) Fake brick exterior siding (There's a bunch of these on the Neutra tract homes near the Burbank Airport).
58 ) Compromising your principles.
59) Misunderstanding/confusing "Ranch House" with "Ranch Style" house thus recreating the Little House on the Prairie
60) A sweet barn style shed. See pic;
61) Lace curtains (maybe this is just a Texas problem?)
62) Placing ANYTHING in or around the house from Hobby Lobby, Kirkland’s, or credited to either Thomas Kinkade or Mary Englebreit.
63) Smothering the interior with cheesy wallpaper.
64) Removing perfect mahogany paneling so that it can be replaced with drywall (this also includes just covering it with drywall).
65) Saltillo Tiles
66) Adding onto the back, after all, all that glass makes a great room divider!
67) Never throwing anything away.
68 ) Adding exposed conduit, wire mold, or worse, exposed wiring to beams and columns of you post and beam home.
69) Buying a mid-century modern home and then normalizing it to make it look like any other home.
70) Round top windows!
71) Raising up your slab on grade MCM home and adding a basement under it.
72) Replacing your vintage globe lights with too much cheesy low-voltage lighting.
73) Adding a shingle roof in place of a tar and gravel roof on a pitch that is too low for shingles. IT WILL LEAK!
74) Three or four masonry materials where one or two will do.
75) invite 100 scooterist over to your house, with a live punk band, and 5 kegs of PBR (no, I haven't done this... yet)
76) adding an addition not in the style and design of the home
77) allowing termites to gobble it all up
78 ) anything faux
79) hire an architect who doesn't understand Modernism
80) not participating on the Lotta Living bboard
81) Stained glass or beveled glass windows
82) tiling over original magnasite deck... extra points for bad colorful folk art tile
83) Placing a Pink Flamingo in your Garden/Yard
84) Describing MCM houses as "retro"
85) Placing an A/C unit on the top of your roof
86) Refacing an original fireplace, let alone with a thin flagstone laminate
87) Installing arches or rounded corners in a room opening or between rooms
88 ) Turning the master bedroom into a den
89) Replace your garage door with a brick fireplace
90) Inappropriate furnishings?? (see flowery couch with detailed, routed wood)
91) Adding brick driveway columns topped by gold stone lions
92) Building a circular turret on the front of the house (I'll take pics of these last two for you).
93) Adding lattice to the front to "improve the look and privacy"
94) Covering the metal columns with wood to make them look like more like classical columns.
95) Hanging seasonal flags (i.e. santa, the easter bunny) outside your entryway
96) French doors to patio
97) Sawing off the overhanging roof and beams (Most of the P&Ks in my neighborhood have fallen victim to this)
98 ) covering up exposed beams so the house look like other conventional framed homes
99) Adding turned pickets to all railing for that "country French" look!
100) Looking over an untouched, near-pristine P&K home and then declaring , "It has such potential!"
101. Painting over original polished aluminum Nutone range hood and splash shield.
102. Removing original skylark boomerang formica countertops
103. tearing out original award winning landscaping to plant box woods.
104. planting boxwoods
105. planting bradford pears
106. yard ornamentation
107. turning your front yard into a playground full with playset
108. Inappropriate landscape lighting
109. Hanging towels up in place of curtains
110 non thoughtful placement of new thermostat
111. inappropriate storm doors
112. bad porch lights
113. horrible door knockers
114. fake stained glass inserts
115. painting your concrete porch green
116. satellite dishes
117. less than thoughtful placement of the ac unit
118. White plastic lattace screens!
119. Shutters!...
120. Screwing down additional insulation onto your t&g wood roof deck with screws that are too long and pierce through to the inside.
121. Painting over birch (or any other wood) closets/paneling.
122. let the realtor do it, so you don't have to

Here are a few new additions to the list!

123. Installing a classical European wallpaper mural
124. Letting a real estate agent list a house as “a desirable lotâ€￾ and not even showing pictures of the MCM house.
125. Hiring a realtor who just doesn’t get it

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Postby BOXOUTBM » Fri Jun 30, 2006 1:21 pm

68 ) Adding exposed conduit, wire mold, or worse, exposed wiring to beams and columns of you post and beam home.[quote]

I was just re-reading this thread and was a bit bothered to see low profile wire mold as a problem. Living in a exposed T&G Ceiling, I do not know of any other way to run appropriate lighting wihout going on the roof and replacing it (Ours is in great shape)

We are redoing our home and in-order to add our track lighting we need to utilize wire mold. We have a great electrician, who is hiding as much as he can above the rafters, but some will show and we will paint it the same color as the ceiling trying to blend it in. I can't wait to finish our house and post the phots here as I believe we are doing a very good job and staying as true as we can to MCM Ideals while adding a bt more functionality to certain rooms. Yet after reading this I am a bit apprehensive.

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Postby Futura Girl » Fri Jun 30, 2006 1:26 pm

i think quite a few of the items on the list may refer to "badly done" versions of the items. so don't take it too seriously.

i believe that any regular member of this board is bound to do a fine job on their home and whether or not it is "purist" is unimportant - it will be done with a Lotta taste and a Lotta flair!
I'm gonna keep on the run... I'm gonna have me some fun if it costs me my very last dime.
If I wind up broke up, well, I'll always remember that I had a swingin' time

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Postby BOXOUTBM » Fri Jun 30, 2006 1:36 pm

Thanks for the pep talk

I think our remodel is getting to me.

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Postby moderns-r-us » Wed Jul 05, 2006 8:03 am

BOXOUTBM wrote:68 ) Adding exposed conduit, wire mold, or worse, exposed wiring to beams and columns of you post and beam home.

I was just re-reading this thread and was a bit bothered to see low profile wire mold as a problem. Living in a exposed T&G Ceiling, I do not know of any other way to run appropriate lighting wihout going on the roof and replacing it (Ours is in great shape)

We are redoing our home and in-order to add our track lighting we need to utilize wire mold. We have a great electrician, who is hiding as much as he can above the rafters, but some will show and we will paint it the same color as the ceiling trying to blend it in. I can't wait to finish our house and post the phots here as I believe we are doing a very good job and staying as true as we can to MCM Ideals while adding a bt more functionality to certain rooms. Yet after reading this I am a bit apprehensive.


BOXOUTBM:

This was added to the list by me after observing a local MCM owner proceeding to rewire his house immediately following the re-roofing and adding of insulation of his low pitch roof. I merely wanted to make the point that planning ahead on these houses is critical.

A few intelligently placed wires in wiremold are not going to ruin your house; Rewiring your entire house from below the T&G deck in a spaghetti of wiremold or conduit will ruin your house. As FG mentions their are good and bad examples of every line item on this list.

Keep up the good work!

MRU

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Postby BOXOUTBM » Wed Jul 05, 2006 8:13 am

Thanks, I think I was a bit sensitive that day, the remodel of my house is causing me some grief in areas.

We are only adding Track Lighting to our beams and the only way to run this properly is to do some wiremold. So far it looks great and once we paint the interior the Molding should disappear.

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Postby wyneken » Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:33 am

Well, speaking as a newbie, this gets my vote for Most Entertaining Thread.

A couple of thoughts from northern New England...

38 ) Installing hardwood floors over a radiant heated concrete slab-BOTTON LINE-BUT HOW DO THEY LET THE HEAT THRU?

I see the objection here, from an architectural standpoint. But in practice, this is something we do all the time up here, where we tend to prefer wood to concrete (in fact, to anything) as a flooring material. The important thing is that you insulate the slab on the underside, so the heat doesn't "wick off" into the ground. That done, where else is the heat going to go? It has to migrate, via radiation and direct conduction, upward through the wood planks. This feels really nice, and is somehow "softer" than the directly heated concrete. So this, to me, falls into the category of things that are only objectionable if they are done BADLY.

Also, the whole question of garage conversions, and how badly garages are needed in the first place... In Camden, Maine -- a postcard-ready example of the quaint coastal New England tourist town -- there was, until recently, an extremely fun little MCM house on a side street right in the middle of the village. The owners had painted the siding coral pink with white trim -- in the cool northern light, and the "Murder, She Wrote" setting, this is roughly the equivalent of flashing neon -- but otherwise showed great discipline in matters of landscaping and finish details.

These folks had a detached garage (stylistically consistent with the house, and probably built at the same time), but they did not seem to use it, at least not for all of their cars. Instead, they kept a pristine late-50s model auto (as I recall it was some kind of Plymouth, small and unassuming back in the day, like the house) prominently parked in the driveway. This, I thought, was quite a clever stroke, because it sent a clear signal to conservative, tradition-minded neighbors and passers-by: "Yes, we KNOW coral-pink houses with nearly flat roofs are not the usual thing here. We're doing this ON PURPOSE."

That's history. The house succumbed to two or three of the gravest offenses listed above -- a second story with a high-pitched roof was added, along with a porch and other finish details, so that now the house looks very much like everything else on the block.

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Postby moderns-r-us » Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:44 am

Welcome wyneken:

Good to have some far Northeast representation here!

I assume that the later offenses that you mentioned above were performed by a different owner than the one who painted it coral pink and drove a 50s Plymouth. Is the house now painted an "appropriate" New England color to match its inappropriate second floor addition?

I am glad that you liked this thread! It has proved to be a lively topic in times past. I would love to see it perk up again!

Why limit to 100 or 125 offenses!

MRU
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Postby Jerad » Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:18 pm

In reference to numero 1
http://lh4.google.com/image/jerad.foste ... CN0152.jpg


That sound you hear is Cliff May rolling over in his grave!

Jerad

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Postby Stephen » Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:54 pm

Jerad wrote:In reference to numero 1
http://lh4.google.com/image/jerad.foste ... CN0152.jpg?


That sound you hear is Cliff May rolling over in his grave!

Jerad


OMG....why? why? Was it for added insulation? They make sprayable foam... I like the vinyl everything windows. I swear, some people deserve to live only in houses with VIN numbers.
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http://www.OCModHomes.com
http://www.CliffMaySocal.com
and
Cliff May Homeowner

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Postby moderns-r-us » Thu Feb 22, 2007 6:51 pm

Sorry Jerad, I am getting a forbidden message:

Forbidden
Your client does not have permission to get URL /1.1 from this server
,

but I have a pretty good idea which house you are trying to show us!
"Better Living Through Modernism"

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Postby Jerad » Thu Feb 22, 2007 7:54 pm

I get the same message........I will fix it tomorrow.....its probably for the best its not in image I would recommend to anyone with a weak stomach.

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Postby ttblair » Thu Feb 22, 2007 8:55 pm

Remove the '?' at the end.

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Postby moderns-r-us » Thu Feb 22, 2007 9:23 pm

Image

Yessss..... THAT IS THE HOUSE!

I have wanted to post a picture of this house since I started this thread. It was part of the inspiration for me to start this thread.

I never seemed to have my camera when in that part of town.

Thanks
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Postby johnnyapollo » Fri Feb 23, 2007 5:43 am

There are a bunch of those in my neighborhood as well - I think most were done before ISO board insulation was available, so to increase insulation it was a viable option. Some are more extreme than the one pictured.

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Postby Stephen » Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:01 am

moderns-r-us wrote:Sorry Jerad, I am getting a forbidden message:

Forbidden
Your client does not have permission to get URL /1.1 from this server
,

but I have a pretty good idea which house you are trying to show us!


Take the question mark off the end.
Stephen Meade

SoCal Realtor - DRE 01378749

Pacific West Assoc. of Realtors President-Elect

http://www.OCModHomes.com

http://www.CliffMaySocal.com

and

Cliff May Homeowner

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Postby ePimp » Mon Mar 26, 2007 10:01 pm

126. Turn it into a barn

Image

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Postby moderns-r-us » Tue Mar 27, 2007 6:42 am

ePimp wrote:126. Turn it into a barn

Image


Good taste in cars..... bad taste in house modifications!

Maybe the cars belong to visitors!
______________________________________

Is this the street I have read about with all the bad Eichler modifications?




I love it. This is a great new addition to the 100 list!
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Postby ePimp » Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:53 am

It's apparently the street where they house mid-century modern livestock.

It's in Palo Alto, in a tract called Los Arboles. Not sure if it's the infamous street you mention, but just take a look at the neighbors pad.

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Postby drsiebling » Tue Mar 27, 2007 11:54 am

ePimp wrote:126. Turn it into a barn

Image


That made me throw up a little bit.

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Postby Sputnikmoss » Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:22 pm

Turn a sweet Rummer into a Romulan Bird of Prey...(thanks for the image Rummer&Coke!!!)


Image
Sputnik Housewares...Jetset furnishings from the Atomic Age!

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Postby PNWgal » Sun Apr 29, 2007 7:30 am

86) Refacing an original fireplace, let alone with a thin flagstone laminate

Does that include refacing this 1964 gem?
http://www.wisehawk.com/house/house_files/recroom.jpg
(white cinder/concrete block with brick surround). We drywalled over it and want to mosaic tile it. Are we committing a cardinal sin?


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