Text by Forward Design \ Architecture
This project is a full interior and exterior renovation and addition to a 1950s ranch in Mission Hills, Kansas, initially designed by William Wurster (1895-1973) as a spec house for Better Homes and Gardens. As a spec house, the material palette was dated and the plan needed to be updated to fulfill the client’s needs.
Despite the outdated finishes, the house is still architecturally significant and it was the intention of Forward Design | Architecture to follow the language of the existing structure, while improving the spaces and updating quality of materials used.
The existing plan was an L-shape with the public spaces (kitchen, living and dining) oriented along the East/West axis and the private spaces (bedrooms and bathrooms) oriented along the North/South axis with circulation running in both directions.
In order to create an addition that appears to have always been a part of the project, we extruded the volume along the East/West axis to extend the massing, expanded the existing carport into a full two-car garage and created an exterior courtyard in the space between the two volumes.
We reorganized the plan to allow for more generous living and dining spaces, a larger kitchen and a true master suite. To maintain the continuity between existing spaces and the addition, all of the walls on the main East/West axis are cased the same.
This serves to create modern interior spaces by connecting the separate rooms along the axis with an open, symmetrical corridor, while masking the transition between the existing and new spaces.
Photos by Bob Greenspan