Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This (our) old modern house

I'm ready (or at least as ready as I'll ever be) to show you pictures of our new mid century modern home.  It is going to be a labor of love and I plan to record any renovation, projects, and general maintenance that we do on this beloved beast (named as such with much love).  I already began showing you what we've done to what we call the courtyard.

Chris and I have always wanted a house we called "architectural significant."  That's a pretty general term that certainly could encompass traditional historic homes.  But our dream was to own a modern home with an open floor plan, clean lines, and unique features.  When we saw this house, there was no question, it was ours.  (click on images for larger view & to see notes)

 I know I misspelled the word "stone" but wasn't about to re-edit the photo.  Sorry.


Built in 1968, by architect Peter Wilday, this mid to late century home sits on 2.5 acres of land and includes a barn (eventually guest house) that matches the house.  It boasts unique features such as a massive two sided stone fireplace that separates living room from family room/kitchen and custom (a.k.a. dated and expensive windows to replace) glass walls/windows.  Part of the house has finished concrete floors while other parts of the house have original stone tile.  Although the house is sprawling, at just under 5,000 sq. ft., it has only 3 bedrooms. 


The bedrooms were designed to get the least amount of Reno sun (for optimal sleeping and cool temperatures).  The back of the house, as well as the bedrooms, are subterranean to provide temperature control throughout the year.  When you look out the back windows, you are standing beneath ground level (just chest height). 

With all of it's defining features, it does have one universal aspect that is shared with most older homes.  It needs work.  Lots and lots of work.  Work that will have to be done in many phases over many years. 

I'm both excited and overwhelmed.  Chris and I are disagreeing on how to proceed with the house.  He is at the stage where he is finished with DIY renovation.  Our first home was a bungalow built in the 1920's.  He did a lot of work on that house himself.  He wants to wait and hire as we can afford.  I, on the other hand, am eager to get started and do it myself.  I like the idea of learning how to do some of the major projects on my own.  Of course, I'm thinking it will save us money.  We all know that can go horribly wrong and end up costing even more.  But, I'm willing to give it a go for the benefit of having done it on my own, sooner rather than later.

We both agree that we don't know where to begin.  However, the first project has actually landed in our laps unexpectedly.  We had a large stone fall off the facade of the backside of the fireplace, crashing through a skylight.  Luckily no one was hurt, but now we have a gaping 2'  hole in a 1968 skylight on our roof.  Luckily, it doesn't rain much here.  Chris was able to easily get on top the roof (benefit to low, flat roofs) and temporarily secure the hole.  But now comes the estimates on repairs of an uber custom glass skylight.  Ka-ching!  Let the expenses begin.

Anyway, I'm going to start a new feature/category here on my blog called This Old Modern House.  I'll share with you the good, bad, beautiful, ugly, easy, and difficult projects as we go along.  Some will be successes and others epic fails.  I'd love your feedback, experienced suggestions, and general encouragement.  Please keep the "that was a stupid idea" and "I told you so's" to yourself. 

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