Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mid Century Modern Curb Appeal Part 3

Breathing a small holiday sigh of relief, it's time to share some status on the ongoing MCM curb appeal progress. Having mixed in a little musical room nursery action during our poor weather bouts earlier this fall, we had been eager to acheive a completion point outside before the cold of winter fully sets in. The past several weekends have been abnormally mild and sunny allowing us to scramble together some major progress outside. All of this work relates to a master plan we came up with early after moving in, knowing all the pieces would eventually fall together to make the whole composition, we carry on in guerilla tactic form.

We finally settled on a very dark gray color and have painted the front of the house including the two studio windows. As can be seen in the first couple of photos, fall has been mostly cleaned up and the house now has a new mid century appropriate identity. We have applied two coats of primer and two coats of finish paint preempted by several weeks of prep work on the front wall. Having sanded, patched, glazed, and unloaded two tubes of silicone into sealing the front rectangle, I can say the prepwork is a necessary pain. We are very happy with the final color selection, the gray plays very well with the red of the brick. I will be eager to finish the roofline in dark gray next year.

The studio windows have been temporarily painted until there's time for a major overhaul and reglazing next spring. Removing the "Gene it up" special Sage Green color in it's entirety from the front facade has left us with nothing but satisfaction. The early 90's is behind us, hello 2010. Although the tan roofline remains for now, we have reduced the palette of colors & materials down to the brick, the concrete, the gray paint, and the existing tan roof.

The new concrete landscape walls poured during the course of the priming process are now cleaned up and weathering quickly to match the color of the porch slab poured last year. Extensions of the front porch slab, the orthagonal geometries of the landscape walls match the roofline and extend the integration of the house to the landscape. The new Neutra style house numbers were installed before the painting was completed leaving several other miscellaneous tasks.

I have mocked up the concrete block screen wall as can be seen in the third and fourth photos. If you look closely you can see the new double bullet lights hanging from the soffit. This block was sourced from the local big box home improvement store on the cheap. I hand selected all 56 blocks digging through an entire palette of blocks at the store to get the best quality units. Three station wagon loads later I have a rough loose stack mock up to get a sense of proportion and alignment to the house. I have a few solid blocks I intend to mix in randomly to the stack that I'd like to look at before finally setting the blocks. I'm digging the look of what we have currently have mocked up, opinions are welcome.

The fifth photo shows the new perimeter house walkway adjacent to the front door. I've expanded the walkway which consists of exposed aggregate pavers set in gravel with aluminum landscape edging. This matches the work I had already done along the long front landscape bed. The aluminum edging is a must for any MCM gravel scape, it can be set curvelinear or straight as we've done. The perimeter walkway pays off when taking the trash out on a rainy night and I remain under roof. All the aggregate pavers used along the front of the house were stacked out back when we bought the house. We utilized every single one thanks to the previous spacing layout done in AutoCAD.

While the long landscape bed may look bare, less should not decieve. We have the entire bed prepped for spring having tilled, cleaned and leveled out all the soil in the planting bed. Our sole resident currently is a small magnolia tree. Wendy and I have planted over 200 bulbs near the front
steps in the long landscape bed filling the full width of the bed and about 7' in length. We plan to divide the 28' long planting bed into 4 equal segments that correspond to the varying amount of sunlight the bed will receive.

With much progress made, we still have a bit to do before fully moving work to indoors. The downspouts all need painted as well as the dryer vent. I also need to set a level mortar bed before finally setting the block screen wall and anchoring it to the brick. We are also thinking we're going to paint the existing front concrete step dark gray. The existing walkway connection to the front porch is another job for next spring when we take out the existing curved walkway up to the house. Just when you feel like you've made some progress it's merely a good view of the next hill of tasks on the horizon to climb.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cincinnati Balluminaria 2009

Cincinnati's Balluminaria is an annual event that kicks off the holiday season in a momentous way. The event coincides with the Holiday Floral show taking place up the street at the Krohn Conservatory earlier in the day. Eleven hot air balloons tether themselves around the edge of Eden Park's Mirror Lake and sequentially light up the evening. We couldn't think of a better way to kick off the holidays. The event is completely free and quite a sight. Here's a sample of what we saw.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mid Century Modern Nursery

We were not sleeping well. At seven months, our newest modern arrival was way overdue for his own room. Most families have their baby nursery done a month before they are born, right? The problem is we have been playing musical rooms so we could remodel one space at a time. The difficulties in renovating a MCM and raising a family in parallel are cumbersome. One must approach strategically with guerilla tactics whether it be in late night or temporary displacement.

A few weeks ago, in the midst of painting the front of the house, we had a few rainy weekends, one of which included the older little one going to grandma's for an overnighter. Add on a pack-n-play for the baby to sleep in overnight in his sister's room and we had the recipe for a full day and late evening to swap rooms. First we had to consolidate and downsize the 'office' room enough to accommodate our king size bed and other bedroom furniture. Next, we could move the baby into and accessorize the nursery with the many collected items.

Having already refinished this room before using it for our own bedroom, most of the heavy lifting was done. Our theme for the room is zoo animals based on the Dwell Studio bedding set. The Eames rocker is a must for bedtime rocking. The Target crib and changing table are on their second term of duty with Ava already having used these as a baby. It pays to go modern white with the kid furniture if you plan on having more than one. The Ikea sofa has been in the household for awhile as well as the simple shaker style wood dresser and tall Ikea lamp. The end tables are Lane thrift shop finds.

New additions to the room include installing the new, 'Skojig', overhead light, another Ikea special. Also we installed the curtain wire hardware and hung the Dwell Studio curtains. We mounted the colorful storage pods on the wall and added some wall decals that matched the bedding. We also decided to leave the Charlie Harper 'Skipping School' print in the nursery, as it complements the wall color and every kid needs to have a Harper print. One thing to note, although all our bedrooms are on are lower level, each bedroom has the large southeastern facing window to help brighten the space. Ever since the nursery has been complete, we all have been sleeping much better, sometimes through the entire night even.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Modern House Numbers . . Installed

This past Friday I picked up our house numbers after a small delay in getting them powder coated in clear. A little more weekend rain proved a wet morning on Saturday, a perfect delay of painting intentions, yet allowing some house number installation. My intent was to fasten the numbers, weighing in at 9lbs, directly into the original redwood fascia board. Aligned with the brick edge of the house of the left side, they will anchor the long visual flat line of the roof, and also cast a contrasting shadow onto the brick wall.

Currently the original redwood fascia boards, painted the original MCM maroon, are covered up by a 'Gene it up' special of beige aluminum break metal. We plan on tackling the process of removing all this aluminum trim, which goes all the way around our flat roof, and repainting the original redwood next spring. I'm sure there's a reason they covered the original painted redwood up and since finding our flat roof leak in the studio demolition, we've had our fill of MCM discoveries for this year.

To begin the installation my first step was to cut out the aluminum trim to expose the bottom of the original redwood fascia to directly mount the numbers. Using some large snips, balance, and patience I was able to get a decently straight cut. I clamped the numbers to the roof and proceeded to very carefully drill the first pilot hole. I was able to avoid splitting the 3/4" wide redwood, and actually the area I was working in looking in fairly decent shape underneath the aluminum trim.

The numbers have 3 mounting holes spaced evenly along the mounting plate, all between the numbers. I put one 2" #10 screw in and it alone held the hefty numbers. Swinging the numbers away from the house I was able to cleanly drill the other two pilot holes thanks to my large wooden clamps. A couple screws later, viola, modern house numbers installed, looking nice with the brushed finish.

I should mention we've made some other progress on our curb appeal work. The form work for the concrete landscape walls has been pulled and we've graded the dirt within. We have since finished priming the front of the house and mocked up the block for our screen wall on the side of the house. Fall is definitely in full effect as the leaves have blanketed our Mid Century world. We have been trying to bust out some major progress before moving inside for the winter indoor work.

The rest of the photos are from various angles capturing a snapshot of where we currently are, starting to look a lot different than when we bought the place. Having dedicated areas for landscape is exciting. Today we are going to start applying the dark grey paint and getting some bulbs moved around in the new landscape trays. We probably ought to rake some leaves at some point as well. . . .