Text provided by Seibert Architects
This unique mid-century modern house originally designed by the office of Ralph Twitchell had suffered years of insensitive modifications and neglect making the house uninhabitable.
Some of the doors and windows between the interior and exterior had been removed along with the interior doors and door frames between rooms, including the bathrooms.
The original carport had been closed in with sliding glass doors and an awkward storage area had been added behind the master bedroom.
A patchwork of different floor materials occurred throughout the house and the floor of the main space had been coated with an opaque black stain continuing out onto the pool deck, now contiguous with the interior floor due to the removal of the original sliding glass doors.
Some of the original stack-bond block walls inside and outside were covered with other finishes while other areas of block were still exposed.
Essentially, the house had become a patchwork of incompatible materials and unfinished ideas, both interesting and ill advised. Fortunately, the unique roof structure made of Pickett panels in a “V” formation, was still present and was in reasonable condition.
Ultimately, the goals developed for the renovations to this house included bringing into focus the unique and interesting aspects of the original mid-century design, increasing functionality and livability, and bringing a cohesive aesthetic to the house, along with air-conditioning, still lacking after the many years of modifications to the house.
To this end, new hurricane resistant windows and exterior doors were installed where missing, and as replacements for others so that all would match.
The dilapidated pool cage, previously added to the house, was replaced with a new, taller cage aligned with the side walls of the main interior space.
Extraneous interior and exterior elements were removed, and new exterior hardscape added to enhance the relationship between inside and outside
Bathrooms were reconfigured, updated, and skylights placed above the new showers to introduce natural light into these small dark rooms.
With a low flat roof structure at each side of the main space and no attic space, strategies for air-conditioning the house were integrated into the solutions for the house.
Hallway ceilings were dropped 12 inches along with a couple of other areas carefully worked into the design in order to provide pathways for air distribution. Casework is integral to the air-distribution strategy with pathways concealed at the top and behind where needed and return air through toe-kick areas in some places.
Plumbing and electrical systems were also reworked and updated.
To achieve a consistent aesthetic inside and outside the house, wall finishes were replaced or added as needed. The patchwork of dissimilar flooring materials and substrates were covered with an integrally colored thin concrete topping.
Interior doors and door jambs were added, and others replaced, to achieve a consistent interior aesthetic.
While not true to the original design in every material and detail, the renovation work to this house recaptures the spirit of the original design, speaks clearly of the period to which the house belongs and takes full advantage of the elements that made the original house unique.
Photos by Ryan Gamma Photography