“We can’t take our enormous heating bills” and “the leaking glazing is causing mold problems” were the motivating statements to begin the remodel of this mid century modern ranch. Design savvy clients knew that they were living in a modern treasure that needed some shining.
This house is part of a collection of mid century houses built throughout the Portland suburbs known as “Rummers”. The nickname is derived from the last name of builder Robert Rummer who built about 750 of these modern homes in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The Rummer homes are sought after and admired for their clean mid century modern spaces and details, not to mention their undeniable resemblance to the Joseph Eichler homes of Southern California. For more information about Rummer homes go here…
Our client's Rummer was originally built in 1968, but had undergone at least one unpleasant remodel in the last 40 years. An unsightly series of “sunroom” type glazing units were added to the rear of the house, compromising the original roof lines and design. A deteriorating odd shaped deck had become a safety hazard. The original tongue and groove roof had no insulation. Coupled with the inefficient glazing, this forced enormous heat loss, and an unfair utility bill.
It was important to the clients that the home’s modern design be respected while bringing it into the 21st century. After a site visit and client interviews, it was apparent that the home’s original design also needed some attention. Mid century modern homes are known for their expanse of glazing and connection between indoor and outdoor spaces. Unfortunately, the Rummer model home that was chosen for this wide/shallow lot, and the close proximity to a neighbor, meant the indoor living spaces did not connect well to the adjacent south yard.
Due to the extent of the planned remodel, it was also necessary to design and manage the overall construction over a period of time while living in the home. m.o.daby design developed a master plan that reintroduced and expanded on the home’s original design. The master plan was designed to allow the remodel to proceed in a series of phases as budget and time allowed.
Phase 1 of construction addressed the items most urgent to the clients.
The roof was insulated with high density rigid foam insulation on top of the decking to ensure the tongue and groove ceiling was retained as a design feature. The type and amount of the insulation was carefully chosen to allow maximum insulated value while providing an overall roof thickness appropriate to the modern design. Because the gabled portion of the roof is visible when approaching the house, standing seam metal in a modern gray color was installed as a design element. The flat portions were re-roofed with a membrane system. The original roof overhangs and supporting beams were reborn.
In order to develop a new relationship between the interior living spaces and the south yard, as well as introduce south and east sunlight into the home, interior walls were removed between the living room/dining room and south façade. The leaking glazing on the east and south facades was removed and replaced with walls of efficient fiberglass frame windows and patio doors. These new spaces set the stage for the future the kitchen/dining room and future master bedroom suite. From the living room, direct site lines are now achieved to the south yard.
To further the home’s connection to the outdoors, a new ipe deck was built accessible from the master suite with a planned space for the owner’s sauna. The deteriorating main deck was replaced with a new ipe deck. Built around an existing maple tree, it provides ample outdoor living, and a transitional space between the house and south yard. An east neighbor’s close proximity is screened with a cedar privacy fence at the deck edge, and acts as the visual extends of the living space. The two new decks are divided by, and have direct access to, a landscaped court.
The design considers the owner’s dogs, which are an important part of their lives. As part of phase 1, a fenced patio space for the dogs was constructed with connection to the house, yard, and deck. A drain was installed on the patio to collect water after a hose down. A dog door lets the family friends roam freely between outdoors and the future mudroom.
Walls and structural elements with a relationship to the new roof were moved as part of phase 1 so as to not undo any construction during the proceeding phases.
During Phase 2, the addition to the east at the dining room space was finished into a kitchen/dining room. The new kitchen was designed for open plan living with direct relationship to the living room and dining room and positioned to survey the south/east yard and deck.
After the removal of the existing kitchen, interior walls of bedroom wing were rearranged to include a mudroom/laundry room with direct access to the yard, and gets the owner’s washer and dryer out of the garage. The rearrangement converted the family room into a bedroom, allowing floor area for a larger office. A folding, dividing partition divides the space into his and hers offices when needed.
Finally, all of the interior and exterior finishes and casework were refined and refreshed to unify the modern design and promote future admiration throughout the 21st century.
A future phase will complete the master suite. The existing suite includes an awkward, long bedroom with wasted floor space, and an outdated, dark bathroom with no windows. The redesign introduces more natural light to a larger bathroom and larger walk in closet.
Design: Matthew O. Daby – M.O.Daby Design
Interior design: Absolute Interior Design
Structural engineer: Willamette Building Solutions
Photography: KLIK Concepts
Lake Oswego, OR