Having worked with this client on their previous mid-mod renovation project in 2011, we were excited about the prospect of working with them again on something more comprehensive. In late 2015, they sold their previous property to purchase an original 1956 Midcentury home in a prime location hidden in the woods – ripe to create the complete Midcentury Modern home of their dreams.
This original home had remained virtually unchanged except for minor renovations in 1967 by the original owner, who lived in the home until 2013. Bill Wright of Vonnegut, Wright, Porteous, was the original architect.
The surrounding area of this project in Indianapolis is known for the presence of a few excellent examples of Midcentury Modern residential architecture completed in the 1950’ and 1960’s. A few years earlier, the client had left a note expressing an interest in purchasing the property if it became available. And a few years later, the call and opportunity finally arose.
As evidenced by the before photos, this house needed everything. The wooded site and location in the city was excellent, but the house was 60 years old with mostly original finishes and fixtures, including original cork floors, and excellent example of custom wood built-ins that didn’t fit the new vision for refurbishment. On the exterior original redwood siding had suffered from woodpeckers and insect damage. And as one would imagine, the flat roofs needed a lot of work also. The lush, isolated site was overgrown, but as with the house, it was a great canvas with incredible potential.
Our clients had been planning something like this for years, and they had a thoughtful list of goals and priorities. They communicated important details about their lifestyles and how they wanted the house to feel. The initial planning process included the owner, architect, and interior designer in a process that included several design options for consideration. Original ideas were refined and scaled to allow high quality execution and finish.
Trees and underbrush were strategically cleared to allow more natural light to the site and interior while modern hard scaping + landscaping helped articulate the indoor-outdoor connections. Flat roof overhangs were maintained and enhanced, while the use of skylights helped achieve balanced daylight inside. Main entrance was re-imagined with inside-out entry wall framing entry sequence and garden, then continuing outside around the bedroom wing to achieve privacy and security while maintaining natural light to bedrooms and private views to a new moss garden. To left of entry, we added “Everything Room”, which includes mudroom, dog area, laundry, and craft area. Dog run for “Otis” is just outside. Entry/garden and dog run walls are horizontal smooth cedar in ebony stain, with all other exterior siding and trims a smooth painted vertical-groove fly-ash composite. New membrane roof and extra deep roof overhangs channel storm water to new rain-chains flanking screened porch.
The entry wall anchors the entry inside and wraps to form the interior custom Walnut cabinetry inside, both at the entry gallery, but also the kitchen. Slate tile floors adorn the entry including the front walk just outside the entry door. From there, we transition to the main open-concept living space with original brick fireplace with raised cantilevered concrete hearth. Fireplace wall visually sides to the outdoors visible through the vertical slot window opening. A mix of period and more modern furnishings pair nicely with the interior finishes, lighting, and fixtures to achieve a re-imagined interior respectful of the homes roots and reflective of the owners’ aesthetic and lifestyle. Every inch of the space has been redone.
The project’s initial planning, scoping, and design process lasted 5 months, with construction beginning in summer 2016 and substantially-complete in summer 2017. The construction team faced a number of challenges in executing the transformation. Like many mid-century homes in the area, it suffered from a number of structural and mechanical defects. In the end, the home was completely rebuilt inside and out.
From the Owner:
“We are loving how it feels to live here, appreciating everything about the design. We can’t believe we I live in this beautiful home! Thank you all!”