Here’s my South Park project modeled in 3Ds-Max with V-Ray. Refreshingly modern and comfortably traditional all at the same time. Exploded views of the upstairs and downstairs floor plans coming soon!
We just went through some major building plan revisions for the South Park Modern/Craftsman house that we are building this summer here in San Diego. I could have already had building permits and started construction but after sitting with the City and having to compromise I just wasn’t going to be happy with the end product, so I opted to go back to the drawing board and with the help of my great designer we came up with something we both felt is way better. There’s so much to learn on new construction and what the City of San Diego will and will not allow, I’m chalking this one up to builder school and moving on. It only takes 8 business days to get your plans routed through Developmental Services downtown, then they give you a list of changes for your plans, luckily they are now hiring more staff after years of cut backs and lay offs.
The newly revised design, now close to 1900 s.f., is larger than neighborhood standards. Downstairs the kitchen, living and dining rooms are linked to create an open and continuous public space where guests can roam freely and have easy access to bathroom facilities under the staircase and enjoy fluid movement between indoor and outdoor living spaces via the bi-folding rear patio doors. This new design also makes more room for outdoor living space with 13′ of yard before the cantilever deck on the canyon. Light and vertical space make any room feel larger so with the 10′ ceilings downstairs and abundance of morning and afternoon light, the space should feel very comfortable. The facade is a sophisticated blend of traditional Craftsman style with a Modern influence. The bubble framing for the staircase windows on the driveway side creates a fun and whimsical touch for this hip and eclectic neighborhood.
The 2-car garage is now over-sized and attached to the house with an adjoining mud room/utility room with full size connections and the HVAC closet. I pulled it 4′ off the side property line to give the City required side set back since its an attached garage now, detached garages can sit right on the property line in my area believe it or not. All private spaces are nicely separated upstairs with an open gallery at the top of the staircase, 2 secondary gracious sized bedrooms and shared hall bath. The large master suite above the garage has a bonus sitting area and secondary set of stacked washer/dryer connections and then steps down into the bedroom to allow higher vaulted bedroom ceilings. Our East-facing master retreat will get great morning light and has a walk-in closet and really cool master bath with dual vanities, water closet and a wet room feature which includes the stand-up shower and spa tub not separated by a divider wall, behind frame-less glass doors and with casement windows looking down into the canyon. The wet room design is really en vogue right now in bathroom design and works great in small spaces.
After just 3 days on the market I sold the MCM project. We strategically rushed to put the home in MLS on Thursday, knowing that it would generate enough attention before advertised Saturday and Sunday Open Houses. My real estate agent Jim Klinge of Klinge Realty did a phenomenal job at taking the photos and marketing. Each day we got way over 100 visitors through the Open House, mostly home buyers and agents but we had other investors and blog followers from both Bubbleinfo.com and my site stopping by to check out the project and meet us as well.
The project got rave reviews from everyone, we didn’t hear even one comment that it was over priced. People were really excited about our Mid-Century Modern renovation and we even had some modern house fans that came through after the project was promoted on the local site Modernsandiego.com. The original owners of the house also stopped by to see the transformation, not disappointed and very appreciative of our respect for the original design. I heard a lot of comments from home buyers saying they were so tired of seeing all the typical rehabs, same materials and predictable style. While the MCM thing is hot right now with the “in” crowd, the masses probably aren’t ready for it. By the end of the weekend we had received 3 offers, 2 of which went to highest and best and Monday afternoon we picked one. Its always hard to choose when the buyers are so nice, great young families and frustrated with finding a house in this crazy market.
Jim Klinge was so ethical that because he was representing one of the buyers, he had the other agent send their highest and best offer directly to me so he couldn’t advise his client what to write and automatically win the bidding war. How many agents do you know that would do that and be willing to lose the commission from the buying side? All in all, it was a great project and I am looking for more. If you have a house to sell We Buy Houses in San Diego give me a call or send an email here to this site. Especially if its a Mid Century Ranch house!
My Mid-Century Modern renovation is done and truly is out of this world! 2 days ahead of the construction schedule and it came out just as nice as my conceptual design. This extensive rehab took just over 11 weeks to complete and went as smooth as Astro butter. You can see I added the final modern features out front like the frosted front door and horizontal wood panel with the house numbers illuminated by the up/down cylinder sconce. A matching stainless steel mailbox and doorbell finished it off and tied everything together with the full-view Amarr garage door. Here are the after photos of our “1962 Leonard Drogin” Mid-Century Modern San Diego ranch house in all its glory. Hope you enjoyed the project, its now listed for sale MLS# 120016356 for $599,000 and ready for a new buyer to bring in some Eames chairs, put on some Sinatra and roll over the drink cart for some Martinis. Open House this weekend Saturday and Sunday from 12-3. 4841 Sparks Avenue San Diego, CA 92110. Buyers without agent representation call Green Button Homes LLC @ (619) 565-7475 for a showing.
My 1962 Leonard Drogin MCM is coming together.
Since my last blog post we totally transformed the outside of our Atomic Ranch House/Mid Century Modern project. I built a modern horizontal wood fence for the first time, it was way more labor intensive because the boards were all custom cut and had to be pre-drilled and screwed rather than using a nail gun. I used 1″x8″ cedar for the fence boards and 2″x2″ ledgers on my posts to secure them. I didn’t use pressure treated posts because I wanted to stain them to match the boards so the ends had to be treated before we set them. When I set the posts I also kept the span under 7 feet so the span wasn’t too long which would let the boards warp out. I sprayed a Behr semi-transparent fence stain in Natural color to seal the wood. Its looks great, kind of a modern style privacy screen rather than a fence and because the yard isn’t that big it provides privacy while still not making you feel boxed in. The fence is classy and sleek, the horizontal lines totally compliment the architecture I feel. After building the fence I had the stucco guy come back and do the retaining wall along the driveway to match the house as it was sticking out like a sore thumb after everything else looked so great.
Out front I had to terrace the yard a little because of the challenging hill we had to deal with. My favorite look with modern house design is the river rock combo with the Horse Tail plants. These are the reed type that I planted along the front of the garage and house. I added just one obligatory Queen Palm on an island to give a tad of privacy between the street and the front door. Here’s another sizzle feature, check out this cool satellite shower head I put in both bathrooms. The spacey design looks like it belongs in orbit with my other light fixtures and I felt totally goes well with the MCM design.
I’m down to this final punch list of items that actually fit on one page so we are getting there. I should be close to on track for a March 30 completion as we are in week 10 right now for this rehab. There are still more fun things I’m adding so stay tuned, a couple more weeks and you’ll see all the bells and whistles. See the final finished pictures here.
Ok I admit it, this is the fun part. Well, its actually all fun but once you get past walls and floors you get to put the small details that really bring your design together. I am proud to say that I haven’t bought any of the fixtures, plumbing or electrical, for our Mid-Century Modern renovation from the big box stores. With the exception of the tub and 2 Kohler toilets everything I researched and bought online. You can find great deals and usually get free shipping as well. At the end of the project I’ll do a list of where all the fixtures came from and how much they cost for future reference. You can see the brushed aluminum mid century hourglass shaped wall sconces in the kitchen, the 12″ white globe and of course the Sputnik pendant light. The kitchen cabinets are Abstrakt from Ikea, once the side panels and doors arrive these plain white boxes will transform into a futuristic flat panel high-gloss dark grey masterpiece. My new kitchen lay out is fabulous, it worked out to 24′ of linear counter top space plus a 7′ bar top and a stand up food pantry to boot. The sink wall itself is a 13′ straight shot of open counter.
Furthermore, the bedrooms received modern style brushed aluminum frosted glass closet doors. Not only do these tie into the frosted glass and aluminum outside but they are just plain cool. Accent lights inside the closet would have been keen but maybe we’ll do that on the next project. These doors were special order from Home Depot. I also got all the tile finished and set the Godmorgan high gloss grey floating vanities. On top I went with Kohler Vox square vessel sinks. I’ll do the Pure White Caesarstone counters that will contrast those dark cabinets well at the same time the kitchen counters get done.
One of the main features on my design to get the Mid-Century Modern look was this Amarr full view frosted glass and aluminum garage door. Cant you picture it softly lit up at night from inside the garage when you are having guests over? My electrician told me that it make the house look like a Ferrari should be parked in the garage. A very cool item for sure that I got a great hook up on from my neighbor who owns a garage door company. I also put a key pad outside so when you go bike riding or jogging you don’t have to bring your keys with you. You’ll notice that when we did the new stucco I added a 1″ wide horizontal aluminum channel that now ties in on the front of the garage.
The San Diego real estate market is hot right now. There’s virtually a shortage of good homes and all time low interest rates. You cant find a Mid Century Modern renovation anywhere like this for sale, so its safe to say I’m in a good position. Many home buyers will of course like the house but not even get the whole concept. The smaller, educated group who follow design trends and know how hot MCM is right now will certainly be willing to pay a premium for something like this already completely done. Stay tuned as we move into landscaping and more modern touches outside.
Here are the plans for the custom house we’re building for ourselves in South Park. It’s a Clean Modern Craftsman 2-story design, 3 bedroom, 2.5 baths with a detached 2 car garage at around 1900 s.f. For the bungalow feel we did nice 2×8 barge rafters at the gable ends with an a-typical edge detail and bold yet simple 4×4 brackets over 6″ corner trim. Porch columns front and rear will be 8×8 in smooth Cedar, just sealed. You can see the first floor is wide open and expansive with 10′ ceilings, the entry leads you into the dining area that opens right across to the kitchen. In the island kitchen we have a walk in pantry and a peninsula for casual eating. There is a powder room under the stairs and then the whole back of the house is the great room also off the kitchen for entertaining with direct access to the back yard complete with covered porch and decking on the canyon. Indoor utility room is also just inside the rear door.
All the bedrooms are upstairs, gracious closet spaces, full master suite with sit down spa tub as well as stand up shower. Dual vanities in both upstairs bathrooms. Normally we try and put the master suite downstairs but we dont mind stairs so it worked better putting all bedrooms up. I’m doing exposed galvanized metal roofing on the open porch framing and aluminum Milgard casement windows as well to give the urban mod feel. The back porch also provides a perfect breezeway to the detached 2 car garage. Check out the balloon framing in action on the side elevation/staircase windows, this is definitely some out of the box home design that’s going to make a huge impact in South Park. Estimated completion December 2012. Thanks Morgan for the help!
It was time to give the exterior of our MCM project some love this week to catch it up to the inside. We spent a day prepping the wood trim and then I sprayed it with primer and finally 2 shades of grey paint. Most of the house is stucco except for the t&g eaves and wood trim around the front windows and garage, its nice to see all of the old colors go away. I wanted to paint everything first before the stucco color coat so there would be no possibility of over spraying it and minimize taping stuff off. This house was in really good shape and with all the wood we replaced it really was a breeze to prep for paint.
The stucco guys came on Friday right behind us and color coated the whole house. I decided against the white stucco and want to stay with modern shades of grey so I picked Cloud Grey stucco color. After it dried, it ended up being a little too close to the rest of my trim colors so I think next week we’ll go back with a darker grey to accent the beams and rafter tails which will give me more dimension. Since we are painting ourselves its really no big deal to make changes on the fly, its sometimes really hard to get it right without putting colors up to see how they look together. I had big plans on getting the kitchen put together now then jumping outside and doing the fence while we waited for our countertops to get fabricated, but Ikea is having a 20% off sale that starts Friday so I’ll be saving $1,000 by waiting until Friday morning to buy the cabinets. It looks like now we’ll stay outside all week and do the fence, weather permitting. The garage door gets installed Tuesday and we’ll probably put the front door on right after that too, to get the full new frosted affect. My electrician is also coming back this week to put in all the fixtures and trim everything out. A little change in the order of doing things but as long as we keep busy knocking out big stuff we’ll get there soon.
Finally some fun stuff is going in the house. To stay in the Mid Century Modern theme I did mosaic in the master shower, but an updated spin on what was there originally. Glass mosaic tile is really hot right now for MCM house design and there are fun new retro patterns available if you search. After looking around at my local tile stores nothing really fit the bill because I wanted this new trendy, spacey-looking random pattern. You definitely wont see these materials in any other rehabs locally. I found this glass mosaic in LA for $5.99/sf so I drove up and bought everything this week. I’m using another new product for grout on the glass called Star Glass, its actually recycled crushed glass in a urethane base. It’s a flexible, non-cement, non-porous grout and wont ever fade or stain. It’s real expensive and was primarily reserved for commercial applications until recently discovered by interior designers. Its translucent and reflective and seems to disappear when applied to glass tiles instead of contrasting heavily like even a normal white grout would do. Using glass tile like this is great, what I don’t like anymore is seeing when just a glass mosaic 4″ strip is used as a shower or tub surround accent liner. Look at some of my older bathroom remodels if you don’t know what I’m referring to!
In the hall bath above I went with a frosted 3×6 glass tile but set it in a stacked pattern which looks more modern than subway pattern. I ran it all the way up to my new vaulted ceiling lid for a more expansive feel in what is really a modest bathroom size. I also laid a 12×24 charcoal grey porcelain tile for both bathroom floors which is very popular in modern bathroom design right now. This grey will go with anything and basically just disappear when the bathrooms are done and all the chrome hardware goes in. I set the floors butt-joint also to look cleaner and eliminate grout lines. The glass mosaic in the master also has grey in it so it tied in perfectly. The floating vanities you’ll see go in soon are also high gloss grey.
We also got started installing the hardwood floors. I wanted to go with Bamboo for this house for its durable nature and the fact that’s its 100% renewable and considered a Green building product by LEED standards. Bamboo is harvested every 5-6 years while normal trees in a forest take 40-60 years to mature. This product is also of the newer version of Bamboos that has been stranded and carbonized. You don’t see the old cheap style bamboo pattern and there is no wear layer, its the same material all the way through. I bought it at Simple Floors for $3.15 s.f. and decided on paying a sub contractor another $2/sf to install it to speed up my project. This Bamboo requires glue down installation because its so hard that you will bend nails trying to nail it. The color I found is as close to my cedar ceilings as possible, and I laid it the long way to match the tongue and groove ceiling direction. The white walls are totally working now that I’ve obtained so much warmth and color from the surrounding natural materials.
For those of you guys who missed it, here’s my interview from tonight with Jim the Realtor on Blog Talk Radio. We ran a little over time, I think its about an hour and a half. Thanks to Jim and Richard for putting it together, and you guys who participated online and called in. Please share it or tweet it!
Right on track we are moving into the interior paint job on our Mid Century Modern renovation. Up top on the Cedar tongue and groove ceiling, I was at a crossroads this week with regards to what product I should use on it after all that work sandblasting it raw. Cedar is a soft wood with natural tannins in it, so any oil based poly or urethane would certainly make the wood darker which I didn’t want to do. There were many options such as linseed oil, wood wax, polyurethane, acrylic sealer, Danish oil, etc. Also some thick poly’s will yellow over time and darken the wood. I ended up using Satin Deft Acrylic Wood Finish from Home Depot. I sampled this product also in semi-gloss and gloss but it came out a little hazy for my liking. I couldn’t spray the Deft Finish and get enough penetration so it had to be applied thick with a roller and then back brushed in order to get into the open grains.
It came out really good, highlighting the natural color and grains and doesn’t look too plastic-like or shiny. The walls are also now in primer with Glidden PVA drywall primer. We are applying it with a 1/4″ nap roller and then sanding between coats in order to keep our smooth texture and not add roller stipple. On the walls I’m going with Decorator White by Behr this time in flat for the whole house, except I’ll switch the sheen to satin in the kitchen and bathrooms. With my wood ceilings and floors there’s no chance of the house looking too sterile with the white walls. Next up we’ll be spraying all the interior doors and trims with the color Sherwin Williams Snowbound in semi-gloss. The beams in the house now have the first coat of Behr Olive Leaf in satin on them as you can see. The dark green next to the natural reddish Cedar is really contrasting and looks dramatic and especially period correct.
My new stucco guy came this week to do all the patching around my aluminum windows and doors we put in as well as scratch and brown coat the front of the garage where we covered the existing paneling. After 2 days of showing up after 9 am by himself, he finally brought in a helper and they knocked it out. I look to hire sub contractors who are there at 7:30, bust ass all day like we do, and not drag it out. There are really 2 kinds of contractors out there, the hard working, taking care of business hungry guys and then the ones that seem to drag everything out and want to make small talk with you all day.
When he opened his air compressor line to bleed out the tank on my new driveway I almost lost it. You guys who have air compressors know that the air inside the tank is usually oily and rusty and will stain anything it drains out on. There is a job site etiquette that most guys follow but this guy clearly doesn’t see the big picture. When I called him out on it he mumbled something about it being a “flip” to one of my workers, as if that puts my job in a different category of service from him. Don’t get me wrong we have fun at work but I don’t think I’ll be using this guy again no matter how good the price or end product is. This year I am really concentrating at building the best team possible which will make my business run smoother for the future. It’s a continual battle, first you find sub contractors and then you start switching them out for better ones. Like anything else, the good sub contractors are always busy. The B grade ones will usually be the guys you find first.
Don’t forget to tune into my interview on Blog Talk Radio Monday night at 8 PM PST hosted by Jim The Realtor. You guys can actually call in to the show using the 1-800 number if you aren’t too shy or type me house flipping and design questions live. If you miss it we’ll have a podcast available after the show. Here’s a link to listen live tomorrow night:
I’m really excited about the Milgard aluminum windows I picked out for this house and have to say I’ve removed tons of aluminum windows but this is the first time I’ve ever put them In. They are a modern energy efficient version of what we took out. With my right hand man Barney, we got them all installed including the 6 foot and 8 foot patio doors in a day and a half. These are new construction windows meaning you have to break the stucco back to install them using nailing fins. Putting them in is easy but the most important part is getting new flashing behind the old felt paper and using Jiffy Seal around them for a good seal. When breaking out your old ones try not to damage the wire mesh or felt paper. There’s a lot of guys flipping houses in San Diego and throwing in retrofit or vinyl lip windows. Believe me, you don’t want to put in vinyl retrofit windows, they will not hold air and warp in less than 10 years. I know because I have them in my house!
For our Mid Century project I wanted to get the stream-lined modern minimalist look so the aluminum was a clear choice. I wanted to use a mixture of casement and awning windows on this project so the master bedroom window was a perfect candidate to replace the old huge slider with a fixed window and 2 casements on the sides. I was able to put together a custom front window also with an awning on the bottom and slider on the top as seen here. I almost went with a really cool look – triple awning on the front, but thought there might not be enough air flow on those hot San Diego summer nights with no A/C so I played it functionally safe and put sliders in the secondary bedrooms as well. Since we are re-stuccoing the whole house I also took this opportunity to break out and replace all the old crawl space vents as you can see at the bottom of the top picture.
After price shopping around at 4 places I ended up getting the best deal at Home Depot. These are special order windows and take 3-4 weeks to arrive so you want to order them as soon as possible so they don’t slow your project down. For orders over $2500 you can request special pricing from the Home Depot Bid Room. Just ask to do so at the Millworks or Contractors desk. In my case they knocked off another 14% and with no delivery charge I ended up paying about $3600 for all the windows including a 6 foot and 8 foot patio door. These windows are of course low E and dual pane. The patio doors were a little more tricky because the frames come in 4 pieces but easy for anyone to do and they installed like a dream. They shut so good it sounds like an airplane door.
I tried out a new drywall patching crew this time and am super happy with the results. They cut out everything square, patched all my Swiss cheese holes from running the mechanicals, and then skim coated the entire house with a new 90% smooth texture. They also had to redo some of the window and door returns from our install, so it was nice to have them there fixing stuff as we were putting in the windows. The inside is ready for paint now, everything is really going smooth with this house. I’m off to the recycle yard with the old aluminum windows now for a nice bonus check for helping the environment!
We are staying pretty much on track at the Mid Century Modern renovation, this week we updated and changed around the mechanicals of the house to fit our new design. After my old plumber didn’t show up, I moved on and hired a new guy which really handled business. To prep the exterior for the new stucco job we also had the house sand blasted. You cant put new stucco over paint. I always find it best to do this before you put your new windows in if possible so you don’t accidentally blast them too! Next up for this week is put the new windows and rear sliders in, patch all the drywall and then we’ll be ready for interior paint and tile. We’ve had several interested buyers already stopping by, just wait until they see the dramatic change that will soon take place!