A years-long search for the perfect Midcentury Modern property to renovate finally paid-off for a family of three and their dog. Hidden in the woods near the Williams Creek neighborhood in Indianapolis, this 1956 original designed by a respected local architectural firm remained virtually unchanged except for minor renovations in 1967. Undoubtedly, this was an ideal canvas to help our Midcentury -enthusiast clients carefully re-imagine a home to embrace an updated modern lifestyle.
In its 2015 condition, the existing house needed everything. The wooded site and location in the city were excellent, but the house was over 60 years old with mostly original finishes and fixtures and an overgrown landscape. Our clients had been planning something like this for years, and they had a thoughtful list of goals and priorities. Their primary desire was to achieve a calm, serene, organic space, bringing the outdoors in and indoors out. Maintaining privacy was important, as was the goal to respect and embrace the original architecture.
On the outside, pruned trees and cleared underbrush allow more natural light to the site and interior. New modern hardscape + landscaping extend the indoors outward, helping to enhance and articulate the indoor-outdoor connections. Main entry encloses the pre-existing covered breezeway space and introduces an architectural wall that frames the entry garden. From there the entry wall extends further outward to frame a moss garden around the bedrooms. This horizontal, smooth cedar wall helps with privacy and security while maintaining a view and access to south light.
On the backside, a refined fascia extends further to cover the screened porch addition. New membrane roof and extra deep roof overhangs channel stormwater to new rain-chains flanking screened porch for a sensory experience during storms. All exterior sidings and fascia trims utilize a painted fly-ash composite. This screened porch addition helps frame the new terrace accessible and visible from the porch, family room, kitchen, and dining.
On the interior, the new entry gallery is sized and positioned to greet both visitors and residents with adjacency to front door, mudroom, and garage. Mudroom, aka “Everything Room”, includes space for coats, laundry, dog, and crafting. Dog run for “Otis” is just outside, detailed to match moss garden privacy wall. The inside-out entry wall transitions to form the interior custom walnut cabinetry inside, both at entry gallery and kitchen. Newly-positioned skylights help achieve balanced interior daylighting throughout, much like the original. Original brick masonry fireplace with refinished cantilevered concrete hearth remains, anchoring the opened-concept living spaces against the panoramic window wall. The south portion of the plan includes modestly-sized bedrooms, bathrooms, a family room, and the screened porch, each modified or added to meet new requirements.
Interior finishes include a mix of slate + wide-plank oak flooring on an original concrete slab. Slate tile floors adorn the entry including the front walk just outside the entry door. All new millwork is custom walnut veneer. A live-edge walnut table anchors the dining room, with complimentary reupholstered Eames shell chairs. The bathroom utilizes simple neutral glazed ceramic tile, with solid surface tops. Other furnishings include a combination of reconditioned reupholstered sofas and chairs and other period and modern accessories and light fixtures to achieve a re-imagined interior respectful of the homes roots and reflective of the owners’ aesthetic and lifestyle. Every inch of the space has been redone, including new driveway, windows, roofing, siding, landscaping, and all new interiors including new plumbing, electrical, and HVAC.
Sustainable features include embodied energy from reclaimed structural elements (original slab-on-grade, wood structure, and fireplace). We replaced original direct-glazed inefficient windows with new double-glazed low-E floor-to-ceiling windows for high-efficiency daylighting. New unvented roof system integrating closed-cell board insulation over deck + fiberglass under (R-45 or better) replaced outdated flat roof/insulation + damaged decking. We replaced and added new skylights for enhanced natural interior daylighting. We replaced original small south-facing windows with full-height, high-efficiency windows to allow passive solar rays to heat interior spaces in winter. New high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, HVAC systems, and LED light fixtures further contribute to project sustainability. Light-colored roofing reduces heat-island effect. Resilient , low-maintenance materials (fly-ash siding and trims) clad the exterior. Exterior and interior natural materials include Walnut cabinetry, oak flooring, and Cedar privacy/entry wall.
- Design Studio Vriesman
- A2 Design