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New Mid-Century Modern Project

Here we go again, I picked up this killer house right in our neighborhood of Bay Park this week. It’s a 1962 4 bedroom, 2 bath 1650 s.f. with attached 2 car garage. It’s literally less than a mile from my house and untouched nor updated, the architecture is perfect for a Mid-Century Modern renovation. M.C.M. is becoming very popular and you don’t see many people doing them, so its going to be fun as well breaking out from our normal material choices and trying a whole new look for this project. The house is in a great area and on a culdesac, the only negative is that there is a huge private school & play ground right over the rear fence. I’m just going to have to find that buyer who works all day and loves the house so much they look past it.

Some of the ideas I have so far are all new aluminum windows and rear sliders from Milgard, they actually look real modern and I’ll use a mix of casement and awning windows where egress permits. Kinda funny, this will be the first time I actually put aluminum windows in, and don’t take them out. The front door will be frosted glass and the main facade feature will be an Amarr aluminum commercial style garage door with frosted glass panels as well. Both bathrooms will get fully gutted and have floating vanities. In the all new kitchen I’ll be opening the wall with a peninsula between the living room, for a long bar top and the new sink and dishwasher location.  That back wall where the sink is now, will be a clean wall of sleek euro style cabinets with a gas range in the middle and stainless vent hood, with no visible microwave. I’m seeing the frosted glass backslash looking killer here as well, as much as I dislike glass accent tile. Besides opening the wall up between the kitchen and living room and taking off a few interior doors, there’s not really any big floor plan changes as I want to also stay in period and these gems have wide open spaces and great flow anyway. I’m thinking an under mount sink, possibly something other than granite for the counters, and bamboo floors throughout the whole house with no carpet. I’ll probably keep the walls white inside and do another dark warm color on the beams, really similar to how it currently looks. Outside I’m thinking of sophisticated shades of gray with a light body color. I’m doing all of this on a pretty tight budget so I cant get too crazy. The kitchen will be flipped from my usual style, with warm wood cabinets and light counter tops.

The architecture of mid-century modern is marked by discipline. The house has such killer style, I’ll play off the original architectural theme of continuous planes of materials and keep everything clean and minimalist. The wide open spaces, big overhangs, exposed beams and tongue and groove ceilings are really going to look neat once its got all new cosmetics. The driveway and garage floor have severe cracks from the nearby Pepper tree so I’ll have to cut it down and re-pour the entire garage floor and part of the driveway and it’s also time for a new roof as well. Escrow closes before New Years so stay tuned for some fun Mid-Century Modern fun!

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  1. 32 Comment(s)

  2. By Cubed on Dec 18, 2011 | Reply

    We had a friend do one of these in Calgary, and it turned out AMAZING, it’s actually going to be our next redo if we can get our hands on one. They did alot of what your talking about, however use reclaimed wood on the floor to take away the sterile look that modern design can create. They also installed pot lights instead of hangers for a minimalist look and drywalled between th ceiling beams. My God it looked good.

    I love the architecture of these, there is so many ways you can take the project and they are all unique. Plus people eat them up.

  3. By Tom on Dec 18, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Cubed, thanks for the ideas. I was thinking of the recessed lighting too, mainly because I didn’t want any surface mount fixtures to actually become part of the architecture. In the end I really want to leave the tongue and groove visible that’s up there now between the beams and its going to help me keep my budget down as well. The reclaimed wood on the floor sounds incredible, I really wish this home had original hardwoods that were savable but it was just carpet over plywood subfloor. There are tons of ideas online, I’ve been searching MCM and finding great resources, its definitely the up and coming thing. Thanks again for the feedback!

  4. By Glenn Smith on Dec 18, 2011 | Reply

    Nice Tom! This will be a fun one to watch happen.

  5. By Jeffrey L. Koenig on Dec 18, 2011 | Reply

    House looks really cool. I love MCM. American Standard used to make a really cool faucet that my grandma has in her house. I will take a picture and send it to you.

  6. By Tom on Dec 18, 2011 | Reply

    Yea, I want to see that faucet. I’m thinking more modern chrome minimalist. This house has tub valves above the bathroom sinks mounted on the wall above the back splash, very original but maybe too crazy to come back with? Jim the Realtor has a little walk through video that shows the original faucets if you haven’t seen it.

  7. By Danny Johnson on Dec 18, 2011 | Reply

    This one ought to be cool. I can’t wait to see what you do with it.

  8. By Jeff Carruthers Jr. on Dec 19, 2011 | Reply

    I have been looking forward to you doing a MCM for a while…I think it fits perfect with your design style…The reclaimed wood floors sound like a great idea…Just keep it warm & inviting…Sometimes MCM can come off as very cold & sanitary to the general population…Cant wait to see the progress…

  9. By Henri Albert on Dec 19, 2011 | Reply

    This is going to be GREAT, Tom.

    The Houzz website has a nice way to sort for style and application and lots of great inspiration pictures in case anyone’s interested.

    Sure would be nifty to change the garage entrance so that it faced the street and then create an outdoor private space with a screen. Are wall-mounted faucets or carrier tanks possible if you’re gutting the bathroom? (Ask me if you need more ways to spend your money!)

    Can’t wait for this to unfold!

  10. By Chris Bedgood on Dec 19, 2011 | Reply

    Hi Tom. Just did one like this (similar) in Point Loma. Look up 3661 Leland, 92106 for ideas! We blew out the small master bath into the unused portion of the living room. Nobody knew. And it made the master look much bigger and fit dual sinks, which are a must have in any remodel nowadays for top dollar on re-sale! Have fun!

  11. By Tom on Dec 19, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks Jeff, its going to be fun. I’m not gutting the whole house nor do I have anywhere near my normal budget so its going to be challenging to spend the money in the right places and pick the right finishes. I’m excited though, cant wait to get started. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  12. By Tom on Dec 19, 2011 | Reply

    Henry, you have some great ideas. I’m planning on some stained wood screen somewhere because I like the way the dark stained Cedar looks with modern. Unfortunately the garage orientation has to stay due to my budget. I like your idea though because it would provide a cool front courtyard. Maybe on the next one! Thanks for the ideas and I’ll check that site.

  13. By Tom on Dec 19, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Chris..the master bath isn’t super small. I’m going to do a big stand up shower only, no tub. I think I barely have room for 2 sinks on the vanity. There’s an opportunity to take the laundry room next door for a huge master bath and put the new connections in the garage but I’m leaning towards not doing all that, its pretty nice to have full size washer and dryer right next to the master bedroom. There’s really a lot I could do with this but its all about the budget too. Merry Christmas!

  14. By halbert on Dec 20, 2011 | Reply

    Tom, least you think I’m a total spendthrift: for inexpensive overhead fixtures, we used West Elm pendant conversion kits ($15) and IKEA paper lanterns in the bedrooms of our MCM. It might be a good look for those vaulted ceilings.

  15. By Tom on Dec 20, 2011 | Reply

    That’s a great tip Halbert and it fits my budget; ) That’s the look I’m going for. I’m thinking there are no fixtures currently overhead in the bedrooms so I might have to have the electrician pull the wires when the roof comes off. As you know there is no space between the T & G and the roof decking. Figuring out the lighting is going to be challenging on this one, I really wanted to achieve light, with no visible fixtures and I cant do recessed either.

  16. By Joseph on Dec 20, 2011 | Reply

    such a great amount of info in the post and comments! i’ve been thinking about flipping a house, and now i just might do it!

  17. By halbert on Dec 20, 2011 | Reply

    Howdy, Tom.
    On the topic of thrifty fixes: we got a good result using IKEA butcher block counters sealed with Waterlox. People who don’t shop at IKEA can’t believe how inexpensive they were. I’ve heard Ticor brand sinks from Galaxy Tool Supply are a great buy, but maybe not for a quick flip.

    We’re trying to reduce our dump fees (we have a lot to “un-do”). We’re thinking about cutting some of our old concrete (which doesn’t have rebar) into shapes that can be used in the landscape (modernish– rectangles) and, don’t laugh, kitchen cabinets as chicken coops. I think whimsical chicken coops in that backyard would be a neat bonus and might distract buyers from thinking so much about the school yard. (JTR can present the new homeowners with a pair of chickens as a housewarming gift.)

  18. By Danny Day on Dec 20, 2011 | Reply

    Looks good Tom. Can’t wait to see the progress. Always enjoy your work.

  19. By Tom on Dec 21, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks for the props Danny, have a nice Texas Christmas for us!

  20. By Matt K on Dec 21, 2011 | Reply

    Looks like another awesome project Tom. I love the look of this modern house.

  21. By Jenn on Dec 21, 2011 | Reply

    Nice Tom! I have my own MCM project going on and I just picked out my furniture. Can’t wait until I complete this and show everyone!


  22. By Tom on Dec 21, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks Jenn and Matt Kearney! I’m so excited to do this one, been waiting for the shot at this style. Jenn, I want to see what you are working on, send it my way when you’re done and maybe I’ll showcase it. Merry Christmas!

  23. By jbirdfunk on Dec 22, 2011 | Reply

    Nice!!! I’m way jealous.

  24. By Tom on Dec 22, 2011 | Reply

    Thanks Jason, you really helped me with all that MCM info too! I finally found the Amarr garage door locally for $3500 installed, I’m stoked. We are working on a rendering now which I’ll post soon. Merry Christmas to you guys!

  25. By Jackie on Dec 25, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Tom,

    Love your blog! I’ve been following it for a couple years. Do you mind sharing how you found this house? Was it listed? What is your financial projection?

    I flipped my first condo in Seattle in 08 (while I lived in it for a year) and made close to $40K. I recently settled in Chico, CA. I’m looking to do another flip! I have a real estate license so I’ve been checking the MLS, but I’m wondering if you have any tips that have worked for you for finding properties that aren’t listed?

    Thanks again – keep flipping – you’re great!


  26. By Tom on Dec 26, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Jackie, thanks for following for 2 years! Time flies doesn’t it?

    This house we bought right out of MLS when it first hit the market. Here locally, there are so many REO’s and short sales that its not a question about deals being in MLS, it’s just becomes how are you going to beat all the other investors to the punch. I would imagine Chico is the same. There are other marketing techniques, that if put in place, would yield you non-MLS leads. These would be probate, non-owner occupieds, code violations, divorces, fsbo’s, evictions and driving for dollars. All of these methods would involve you putting a system in place to get these lists/leads and then do a direct mail marketing program. Contacting your local title company and getting a list of seasoned mortgage properties would also be a great bang for your buck. Of course being an agent, you’ll have to disclose it on all your mailings which might make it look like a listing solicitation. It also gets a little risky having a license and trying to steal a house from a private seller. Many full time investors don’t have an active license for this reason. Good luck, Merry Christmas and thanks for following!

  27. By kyoung on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Buy large container eugenia hedges close together; the new buyers will be able to visualize that in months they wont even see the school, just an attractive green wall. I have used these bushes many times to successfully screen out eyesores, or just to give yourself a privacy wall from the neighbors.

  28. By Tom on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    I like that idea. I checked out the eugenia and its looks great, too bad I cant plant it in full grown already. JtR suggested bamboo too. My architectural rendering is almost done, stay tuned to see what I envision the project looking like. Thanks for the tips!

  29. By Bilgefisher on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply


    Looking forward to following your next project. I showed my whole family (extended as well) your video on the Victorian house. Amazed is the best way to describe them. Your houses really improve the reputation of rehabbers.


  30. By Tom on Dec 27, 2011 | Reply

    Oh man, Jason, thank a lot for the compliment. Luckily I’ve been able to have bigger budgets to work with which enables me to really go all the way. That Victorian redo was quite challenging but rewarding as well. This new Mid Century Modern project has only half of my normal budget but then again it doesn’t need a full gut to studs. This one is going to be really cool, stay tuned for my 3D rendering of the new modern spin I’m puttin’ on this house. Merry Christmas Bilge and have a great 2012!

  31. By LuvHawaii on Jan 18, 2012 | Reply

    Hi Tom..Your project looks amazing. Is this house by any chance in PB? I own a mid century modern. There is a house 3 doors down from me that is a mid century fixer that is for sale. It just needs your flair, touch, and expertise. Let me know if you want any more details. I love your videos! Happy New Year too!

  32. By Tom on Jan 19, 2012 | Reply

    It’s close, Bay Park. Up on the hill overlooking Mission Bay.. Wish it was in PB but Bay Park is cool too. More quiet and family oriented. Thanks for following and taking the time to comment! Send me that info on that house. I can find the owner if you just give me the address. Thanks and Happy New Year!

    ps. PB is my old stompin’ ground

  33. By Lili Garnache on Aug 21, 2012 | Reply

    Some really nice stuff on this web site, I enjoy it.

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