A Midcentury House Gets an Age-in-Place Update
Owners of a suburban home decline the "typical tear-down" and instead use the existing footprint to nearly double their space. See how these homeowners created a single-floor living area while keeping enough room for their grown children and extended family.
Situated on an ideal corner lot in a quiet, leafy suburb of Seattle, this 1960s home faced the typical conundrum that most owners of a midcentury home face: Tear it down or remodel? The owners had raised their children but desired a larger space for extended-family visits over the holidays, a larger master suite, more outdoor entertaining space, and a floor plan that allowed them to live on one level. While most homeowners would have considered simply tearing down the dated structure, the owners wanted something different.
"In a neighborhood where many homes are being torn down and replaced with new homes, this owner expressed a desire to keep the original home and work it into a substantial remodel and addition," says Nazim Nice, NCARB LEED AP, who is the principal architect at Motionspace Architecture + Design. "Because of its appearance on the exterior, this home was affectionately called the double wide, but on the interior the home suffered from what many homes from the 1960s suffer from. First, stairs were in the wrong location and second, an overly large fireplace blocked the best views from the home."
The 1,650-square-foot home needed a whole new living space and flow that would serve an "aging-in-place" lifestyle. This could have easily been just another tear-down-and-build project; however, the homeowners were keen to keep the original footprint and essence of the original dwelling. "I loved that our client was willing to work with the existing home rather than tearing down and replacing their house like many of their neighbors have done," added Nice.
Much rearranging was done to complete this remodel and 1,500-square-foot addition. Several new entrance points were added, including a sliding door on the lower floor for the lower living quarters. Additionally, the main entrance was made more prominent with an overhanging porch, new windows, and new siding material. Much of the landscape and yard features were left intact; keeping the sculptural rockery and mature plants help make this home look like it's been here all along. Although the $250,000 budget was substantial, a good portion of the existing home was kept in order to adhere to that budget.
The biggest change for this modest home was reversing the floor plan: The kitchen, living room, dining room, den, and master suite are situated on the upper floor of the home, allowing for a one-level style of living that is well suited to an aging-in-place home design. The new vaulted ceiling over the living room helps create a much larger sense of space and allows for more light, even on gray days.
The lower level of the home contains three bedrooms, a bathroom, and a new family room. Although their children are grown and don't live in the home, the house was designed to be family central when everyone gathers for holidays and events. "When the kids come to stay for the holidays, there is plenty of space downstairs for them, including their own separate living space."
Given the amazing Seattle summers, the homeowners wanted an outdoor living space that could be used for cooking, eating, entertaining, and enjoying the outdoors. "The owners also loved that they could live mostly on one level, with a great outdoor deck space over the garage," said Nice. Skylights over the covered sitting area mean the family can use this space even in inclement weather, essentially increasing the amount of square footage of living space. Plumbed gas means grilling, and entertaining, can happen all year long without fear of an empty tank.
Information and images courtesy of Motionspace Architecture + Design