NEW Mid Mod home - Is it possible?

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

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tikiriviera
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NEW Mid Mod home - Is it possible?

Postby tikiriviera » Sun Apr 29, 2007 9:06 pm

I live in Seattle in a great late 50's ranch, but I have always wanted to
build a new house similar to an Eichler or Alexnader. Recently I was approved for a construction loan in the amount of $420,000. This
would have to cover the cost of land and home. The biggest obstacle
so far is finding existing home plans that fit my taste. One would think
that plans from the 50's and 60's would still exist, but to date my search has turned up nothing. I'm curious if anyone on this site has custom built
a mid century house and what were the ballpark costs? Any feedback
would be greatly appreciated.

~title slightly altered by futura on 5-1-07

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scowsa
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Postby scowsa » Mon Apr 30, 2007 5:10 pm

There have been many questions about MCM plans so it's worth doing a search on this topic.

My recall of the main points is that are few plans out there and that many of the past MCM styles would now not pass code in some states.

One design, with purchaseable plans, that recently caught my eye was Greg La Vardera's new one at


You could at least use these to get a ballpark figure from a potential builder.

Michelle Kaufman's prefabricated Breezehouse is in the MCM spirit and to quote from her site at :

"For example, an 1,830 square foot, two bedroom, two bath version with large Breezespace, Nanawall doors in the Breezespace and upgraded interior finish package would run about $170 per square foot or roughly $310,000. Additional construction costs include all work done on site, and vary according to location, topography, and site condition etc, etc"

Both these homes may be bigger than you want but as another guideline, a lot of the blogs out there seem to have fixed $150 per square foot as the minimum you can build at today, so a 1500 sq ft house would be at least $225,000 plus the land cost.

Good luck.

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Postby valery » Tue May 01, 2007 7:41 am

I found this one and it seemed promising:
http://www.modernistmodularhomes.com/branch_house.php

There are a lot of different plans on their site:
http://www.modernistmodularhomes.com/

I sent the company an email asking about more details on the [b]ranch-house and pricing a year ago and have never heard back from them.

My father knows a builder who will build for $52 a square foot, so if you look around, I'm sure you could find some others out there.

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Postby Futura Girl » Tue May 01, 2007 1:04 pm

this is a great topic for discussion - i altered the title - so other folks won't miss out on it.

does anyone have a list of other related discussions on this topic here - so we can gather the info in one place?

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Postby tallrick » Tue May 01, 2007 2:03 pm

I built mine in 1990, and it can still be done. Just have to find an area where the zoning isn't written by communists. maybe if we would work together a list of sources for modern finishing materials can be compiled and we can make it happen.
Make modern your own, don't trust others to- it's our future.

tikiriviera
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Postby tikiriviera » Tue May 01, 2007 2:58 pm

Thanks to all that have posted information so far. And to tallrick, I live in Seattle, and I do believe the zoning laws were written by communists!

Iv'e done considerable research on pre-fab, and for many reasons
it just doesn't fit my objectives. Recently I visited several new "Modern"
homes and condo's being built in Palm Springs, but I must admit I wasn't impressed. They were nice, but too modern, or today if you will. That's
the crux of the problem, I want to build a new house that looks as if it
was built in 1957. Each day my search continues for period correct plans/information. I will be sure to update with anything I find. Thanks
again for all of the input! ***

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Postby tallrick » Tue May 01, 2007 5:07 pm

The secret to getting the 1957 look is to use 1957 finishes. Terrazzo floors, mosaic tiles, natural finishes, and if stucco is used (sparingly) it must be smooth, not rough. If you use pored concrete for the floors and roof, and make it flat, you will get the authentic modern look. Also make sure you don't isolate your windows but arrange them in groups. I even added a bathroom recently and used 1957 fixtures, as well as smooth plaster and a salvaged louvered window. If you get the original finishing touches it will look authentic! Why don't we arrange a group to connect with homes and buildings to be demolished, and strip out the pieces we need. This way the space age desigh is close to home, safe from the greedy real estate investors!
Make modern your own, don't trust others to- it's our future.

tikiriviera
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Postby tikiriviera » Wed May 02, 2007 6:53 am


tallrick
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Postby tallrick » Thu May 03, 2007 12:33 pm

I had some construction pics, but they are at my parent's home. My home has been a mess because I am trying to lower the property value, so it's not photogenic now. I will try and find the pics this weekend.
Make modern your own, don't trust others to- it's our future.

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Postby Futura Girl » Thu May 03, 2007 2:08 pm


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scottkaycee
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Postby scottkaycee » Thu May 03, 2007 2:23 pm

Futura Girl is right about the details re:PS retro homes. Although some upscale 50's houses had terrazzo counters, At modern living spaces we seriously considered Formica but customer research never resulted in enough of a favorable response to go forward with it, despite it's aesthetic compatability. In fact "updated" contemporary kitchens were the biggest selling point of the new PS mods overall and that in itself prevents you largely from achieving that period look.

Regarding the eaves/ rooflines; alot of the newer stuff omits the overhangs, for several reasons none of which contribute to a period design. One of the biggest hurdles to recreating the MCM/Vintage look is the thinness of the roof membrane (It can be done and you get a sense of it on the recently created Maxxx Livingstone/Krisel house, probably at considerable expense), Post and Beam with Tongue And groove ceilings don't typically accomodate energy codes or current structural codes, which is why the rooflines change so much and prevent a clean MCM roof detail on the new homes.

These can be overcome provided you spend the money on unconventional construction techniques
How about a career in Architecture? www.scottkirkcueto.blogspot.com

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Postby cadman » Thu May 03, 2007 2:36 pm

I'll throw my $.02 in as I've been going through something similar the past couple years. Your MMV of course :)

If you want a true 1957 house you have to really limit the compromises that tend to creep into the design.

Double-pane windows are a good example. Sure, they're quite energy efficient and don't sweat in cold climates but when you step into a post and beam with thermopane windows, you know it. The vibe is all wrong. Unfortunately a lot of building codes won't allow single pane lites.

New Euro appliances may look sleek, but they aren't 1957. And 1957 kitchen apps can be found and reconditioned in almost any brand or color you want if you search long enough.

A lot of folks go with the sleek look for baths or mix old and new and get something that looks like an ad in Dwell. If you want period bath fixtures, you can find them. Occasionally as NOS too!

Details like grounded outlets start to stick out like sore thumbs. Non-grounded receptacles are still sold and are not inherently unsafe so long as you're not clipping the ground prong off your apps and jamming it into the wall. Either way those outlets are nylon, not ivory bakelite. Originals can be found.... Same for light switches. And plate styles. And on and on.

Insulation, stud spacing, limitations on glass size and location, egresses, and all sorts of nitty-gritty details have changed as technology has changed. If you want 1957 you can do it, but odds are good you'll need to build in a code-exempt area and do your homework if inspections are required. Most inspectors are pretty clueless if you're place is unconventional. I'm not advocating doing anything that's not inherently safe (like installing asbestos or aluminum wire) but just because it doesn't meet today's "code" doesn't mean your new place is structurally unsound.

Surf the net, check the classifieds, hit the estate sales, visit old hardware stores and with enough time and patience, it can be yours!

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Postby Futura Girl » Thu May 03, 2007 3:03 pm



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