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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

help! we just bought the ugliest house in an awesome neighborhood and have no idea how to fix it!!

jenpeaDecember 18, 2012
the main problem is clearly the garage. we need to renovate the entire exterior and would like a 3 car garage. we also want to get rid of the flat roof and the weird slanted roof connecting the home and garage. it's a disaster. we've rehabbed homes before but are at a total loss with this one. any and all suggestions are welcome! and any links to existing rehabbed homes that have similar characteristics would be great! thank you!!
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Just go all out mid-century modern! Lots of good links and ideabooks here to inspire you.
La Canada Residence · More Info

Contemporary Patio · More Info

Ana Williamson · More Info

5606 Jeff Davis Street · More Info

Edgewood · More Info
9 Likes    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 6:56PM
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Can you add a picture with a view from the back so we can see more of the layout? I believe it is completely salvageable. Absolutely build over the garage. It is an open page ready to be written on. I would also change out the windows and siding to traditional and play up a Colonial look maybe. You could have a lot of fun with this house.
    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 6:56PM
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Since it looks like the garage may have been added later can you detach it in some way from the house and build a separate standing three car garage?
    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 7:03PM
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thanks!! i love mid-century modern! i've been looking on here for a while for a layout that mimics mine and haven't found anything... all these mcm homes are lots of squares and right angles, which i love (and wish i had), but, this house has that weird 120 degree angle that just juts out... we don't want to spend more than 20k on the exterior because the entire interior needs to be gutted.

and we'll definitely be changing the siding and windows... this house needs a facelift! i'll have to post more photos...
    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 7:08PM
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I can't figure out which way the driveway runs. For the garage, could you put the door(s) on the part where the window is now. Then extend it out the back as deep as you need to accommodate vehicles and storage. It looks like you may be able to fit 2 cars by extending it just a little to the side. Get some very MCM-looking garage doors, which will help with the overall look.

20K seems like a small budget for what I'm proposing, or any construction at all, unless you can do a lot of the labor yourselves.

It's hard to tell without a floor plan, but since you're gutting the inside anyway, maybe put your entrance in that weird section between the garage and the rest of the house, and play up the angle of the roof. I find that, strangely, if you focus on the sore spots and fix them up, they become the highlights.
    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 7:38PM
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that's a good idea @orangecamera. so, the first window closest to the garage door is in the garage, the second (with the weird roof above) is actually the kitchen. it's weird, i know. and when i say gut, i mean cosmetically... we're only opening up one wall at the entrance, and the rest is all cosmetic. like new kitchen cabinets, new flooring-- the rest of the structure is good (and open concept) so we're just updating.
    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 7:48PM
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I'm no expert but I actually really like the house. I would agree about moving the front door to under the quirky angled roof. Have you got room to add an angled roof on the garage that angles downwards from the house to the drive? So same as the current angle but at a different angle (steeper) so they're not in parallel? I like the flat roof - some of the MCM houses have flat roof garages. I would put much bigger windows in throughout. So the top floor facing us...I'd make that just floor to ceiling windows with vertical sections. I'd put similar but with horizontal on the bottom floor. I agree with others. You have to embrace the awkward shapes - otherwise you'll be ripping it down and starting from scratch.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 7:48PM
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If you like the mid-century look get rid of the gable roof at the 2-story portion of the house (lower & upper) you could slant these or have the upper sloped and the lower eave flat (depending on if you keep the garage flat or sloped). I think the window trim is too thick and the windows too small. Change out the windows and and don't have trim. Lose the shutters.
I like anthip's suggestion of moving the front door to under the quirky angle, and maybe even extend it to emphasize that shape.
    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 8:10PM
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I would agree that you should embrace your home's midcentury modern style. The shutters don't work at all. Removing them would be first on my list of things to do. If the siding is in good shape and you don't want to spend the money in replacing it, then I would definatel paint. Go with a much lighter color scheme and add that signature orange, electric green, tomato red or tealy blue door. And put some of your budget into landscaping. Huge colorful ceramic planters, large house numbers, simple cement paver stones. I would do the top half of the home a shade lighter than the rest of the home. The simplest rule always applies- embrace what you can not
change. Love the unique angles and have fun with it.
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 8:13PM
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What if you painted the different sections different colors or different shades of the same color? I like the house and all the angles. Maybe make the entry the focal point with color. Then make the garage section a color that recedes. Then the kitchen section a color with a little more emphasis, and then the second story a different shade. Maybe browns and tans or grays with a burgundy entry. I don't think the shutters add anything. Landscaping along the foundation of the garage would add some distraction from it. Some tall landscaping that slopes smaller on the side opposite side of the garage would add some balance.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 8:23PM
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This could be a great house when you're finished.

It will cost a little bit, but I'd seriously considering hiring an architect on this. Especially since you're talking about redoing the roof line.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 8:24PM
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Artful Design Interiors
I second what sandkshouse said. It would be worth every penny to consult a good architect. But this home could become the neighborhood gem with the right architectural advice.
    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 8:34PM
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Lake Washington Residence · More Info
Mid-Century Modern Atlanta · More Info
1 Like    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 8:36PM
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You will want to invest a few hours of expertise of a residential architect. You will get a look you will be happy with, you need to find a contractor in your price range, and you will want to be sure you are doing everything to code and structurally sound. It appears you will basically be building a "new" house so the money and time you invest in a great design strategy from a professional will be necessary. Good luck
1 Like    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:24PM
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thank you all for your kind words and suggestions! i'm excited for this project and you've given me a lot to think about! this is a work in progress, and i'll definitely be posting in the before and after section!
    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:56PM
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I think you should work from the inside out. "Form follows function." What needs to change inside the house? Is it cosmetic or are you going to rearrange the spaces?

Board and batten can look good:
Spacious Addition · More Info

I would not call this a mid-century design, a contemporary suburban home. When was it built and who built it. Was it a prefab? I had a Deck OR Teck built home that had the same low pitch roof. I don't think that the lower roof serves any function and might be causing problems. I would remove it. Here is one house I found that has the "double roof" - I'm not sure what ot call it.
Contemporary Exterior · More Info
Another with a hip roof, whcih you could do if you add the garage to the sied of the house:
Hill Country Contemporary · More Info
Hill Country Contemporary · More Info

I would not spend money changing the roof of the garage. If you have the land, I would build a new garage to the side more to the back and take this addition down.
1 Like    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 10:01PM
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This has sort of "The house that Jack built" quality to it, possibly starting out as a one-story. then a two-story and then with a garage, moved garage and expanded kitchen. I would really get a thorough structural analysis of it before you make any major changes, especially checking the loads on the foundation and such.

Siding and windows alone can cost you most of the $20,000. I would repair the windows and upgrade the storms if you need to and work with the siding if you can for now. Color blocking could be interesting.

Do you have room to rotate the garage and put the doors on the right side toward the big lawn (is that yours or the neighbor's)? Then the garage would be less dominant. That could give you the option of expanding it on that side of the house for all three garages, or perhaps one or two could be in a separate garage? How about a carport instead for one?

Do you have a circular drive?
1 Like    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 12:55AM
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Saw this on another site and thought it could serve as inspiration:

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 9:09AM
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Artful Design Interiors
@sandkshouse - you are spot on with the link you just posted. I would search for that very look in the portfolios of architects in your area.
    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 9:14AM
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creations landscape designs
I would suggest that you kill the lawn. It will not only reduce your energy bills but will significantly increase your property value. I have lots of photos on my profile of lawn less garden that can give you ideas. You can see some here: http://www.houzz.com/projects/53151/Sustainable-Front-Yard-in-Tustin--CA
    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 10:44AM
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J.T. Design
I designed a remodel to a house almost just like yours. It was a daylight basement instead of two story, but the angle of the garage was just as problematic. All kinds of junk and shrubs block the front view from the street, and we opened it all up. The before picture shows how UGLY it was, the AFTER picture speaks for itself. They did some interior remodeling and expanded the kitchen, but the real problem was this angle right at the entryway. I solved it by creating an actual entryway porch to give the front some more drama. This could also be done on your home.
2 Likes    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 11:48AM
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MacCracken Architects
As long as the property has good bones, there's loads you can do with it. The typical details of that era are also what let the house down in its current iteration.

Low window/door head heights combined with high sills that restrict the view and daylight and cheaper 4x8 scored vertical plywood as siding. The only odd aesthetic consideration is the link between the garage and the house. If you could clean the transition up to look as if it belongs, and revise the exterior materials and openings, I think you'll have a great house with much more of a connection to the outside rather than being shut off from it.

Here's a project we did that reminds me a little of your house. This may be the extreme case, but it shows what can be done. Only 500 SF was added to the house. Enjoy!
1 Like    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 12:06PM
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actually i kinda like the house!
1. could you extend the garage to make it the width of 3 cars, and then put the 3 garage doors in the back?
2. could you extend the roof angle above the kitchen all the way to the end of the garage?
3. I would put in almost all new windows (without shutters ;) : 3 vertical on the top left; 3 vertical on the garage right; and 1 large horizontal to left of front door.
4. I would like to see the front entrance have more presence, with an extension, and landscaping.
5. and, I think just putting some taller, fuller shrubs under the kitchen window would help; and removing the large evergreen that's in front.
Looks like fun!
    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 12:50PM
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Interiors International, Inc.
I don't know where your house is located but I guess it really doesn't matter that much. I would suggest using an Architect to do the plans. I work with one that I like a lot. He is also a fan of mcm. I think you should send him an email and talk to him. His fee's are more than reasonable and he is a genius in my opinion. He is based in Minneapolis but has done projects all over the US. The company name is PAF Architecture his name is Patrick Freet. Email address is pfreet@loq-kit.com. He designed my new home that is currently under construction. We had a lot of constraints due to the site and that it is on a lake. It also was being built on the same foundation as my old house that burned down and it could not be made larger. The new place is amazing and very creative. I have worked with many Architects in my design career and he has impressed me the most. Good luck I think you have a wonderful opportunity to have a very amazing home.
    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 1:54PM
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