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100 Ways to Improve Your MCM Home (Almost)

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jan 04, 2012 04:14 AM
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by Brandy last modified Nov 17, 2011

Okay, okay. Just to prove I am not a total negative Nancy, there was also a list on Lotta Living that was ’100 Ways to Improve Your MCM Home’. However, not to be an ‘I-told-you-so’ but there were only 25 on the … Continue reading →



Okay, okay. Just to prove I am not a total negative Nancy, there was also a list on Lotta Living that was ’100 Ways to Improve Your MCM Home’. However, not to be an ‘I-told-you-so’ but there were only 25 on the list. Restoration is hard work! Apparently harder than screwing up, which really should be a metaphor for life. I rely on, in fact recruit you dear reader, to add your other 75 ideas in comments.  Come on now, give it a go. Old Joe College try. What must one do to improve their MCM home 60 some-odd-years later? (Italicized parenthetical commentary applies.  Always.)

1. Buy one. Buy two if you can. Buy a really dilapidated/remodeled one for restoration & preservation.

2. Replacing large single pane glass with double pane units in colder climates by setting new insulated units into the existing wood window wall and adding new wood stops of the same profile. (Umm, wasn’t this a no-no in the 100 Ways to Screw Up your MCM Home?)

3. Ripping off those cheap asphalt shingles and putting down a nice new modified bitumen. Replace all your decking while at it .

4. Rip out those cheesy suburban foundation plantings and replace them with a cool modern landscape.

5. Remove very cute, but unfortunately inappropriate, daisy crystal chandeliers and replace with streamlined round glass Eichler globes.

6. Strip gaudy metallic gold red flocked wallpaper and replace with vintage grasscloth. (We saw a house recently where the grasscloth had been dry-walled over. Yes, dry-walled. The horror!)

7. Tear off wall to wall vinyl flooring with floral pattern circa 1984 and install new Armstrong VCT floor.  (Word!)

8. Tear out the ugly black wrought iron fence, and put in a nice modern looking grapestake slat one made of redwood or cedar.

9. For those on a concrete slab…remove the carpet or vinyl tile and polish the cement.

10. Rather than paint the existing sheetrock walls, put in some birch or lauan paneling and give it a nice stained finish. Believe it or not, it actually makes the room feel bigger.

11. Take out the bad tile countertop in the kitchen or bathroom (the one with all the grout lines to collect dirt and bacteria)and replace it with a nice formica or terrazzo one.

12. Replace the bad front doors with some nice flat panel ones, and while you’re at it…get rid of those brass doorknobs and put in some nice modern Schalge stainless steel ones.

13. Tear out the creeping vines growing all over everything surrounding the house.

14. Add some nice Nelson Bubble lamps in appropriate places. They instantly give your house a modern feel.

15. Remove the garden gnomes and cute angels and put a few tikis in their place.

16. Replace the white vinyl grid windows with some nice aluminum Milgard ones.

17. Take out the roses in the front yard (the ones that makes it look like an 80 year old woman lives there) and put in some nice horsetail reed or fountaingrass.

18. Go meet your neighbors and get them on the bandwagon too.

19. Embrace your atrium and make it the center of your house by installing a Koi pond/fountain. The sound of running water is better than Yoga.

20. Replace the colonial looking coach light on the front of the house with an appropriate MCM original or a simple geometric one if you can’t find an original.

21. Glass, glass, and more glass (especially if it opens to the outside world)

22. Resist the urge to paint everything WHITE. If ceiling beams are painted outside, use paint to match them up with interior ones. Do a wall or two in a bright accent color. Look at vintage photos (not contemporary ones) to see that people weren’t afraid of color when these houses were built.

23. Hack off that lousy stucco that the previous owner slathered on top of your ribbed Eichler style wooden siding! Restore the siding and give it a nice coat of some pretty color like Necco Wafer pastel lime!

24. Strip any nasty paint off the fireplace.

25. Get the neighbors involved. Try to get everyone into the revitalization of the neighborhood.

Filed under: Architecutre, DIY Tagged: Mercer Island, mid-century modern, mid-century modern blog, mid-century modern home blog




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