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.


  1. Everything looks great Chris!

    We obviously went in a totally different direction - hope we aren't driving you crazy with it...


  2. Looks so wonderful...What paint colors did you use? Our dark grey keeps looking too bluish for me. Thanks

  3. KnoxKnitter, I do not have the color handy, but will try to get the color values for you so you can try to match.