An Unexpected Maryland Mid Century Home

An Unexpected Maryland Mid Century Home

A couple new to Mid-Century Modern design embraces their home’s mid-century roots in this Maryland renovation.

Sometimes, you don’t find your preferred design style until later in life … and it can take an unexpected turn.

When a couple reached out to architect Charles Warren, principal of design at Teass/Warren Architects, to help them with a future project, they hadn’t yet purchased a home. In addition, they weren’t looking for something with mid-century architecture.

Preserving the original brick on the exterior was a priority, so architect Charles Warren added white cedar siding to break it up and add a more modern feel. “We picked it to complement the existing brick color,” he points out. The vertical brick walls are original, but the middle of the home was updated to accommodate an entryway, which leveled out the exterior when the entrance was originally farther back. New landscaping and a new front door elevate the home’s curb appeal.

The garden on the side of the house has bluestone pavers and fiberglass planters to create a nature-inspired path to the back of the home.

The foyer is a new addition that connects the two wings of the home and features a freestanding cabinet with frosted glass. “it’s a big coat closet that acts as a screen so that you can’t see all the way through the house,” Charles explains. The structural beam is a new piece of steel covered in wood. “we extended it, but it’s in the same place as the original beam.”

“They lived in a colonial house at the time, and they were looking for something with modern farmhouse style,” he says. “Then, they found this home, and I told them that if they weren’t going to buy it, I probably would.”

They decided to let the home they fell in love with determine their style and asked Charles to help them bring back its original mid-century appeal.

Part Preservation for the Mid-Century Maryland Home

This 1958 gem is found in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and although the original architect is unknown, there was no denying its mid-century structure.

“It hadn’t been updated much, but the kitchen looked like it was in the 1980s,” Charles says.

It also needed new plumbing and electrical; the original flooring was too far gone to salvage; the bedrooms were all too small; and the couple wanted to expand the kitchen.

The addition at the rear of the home opened up the living room area and made room for custom white oak shelves and a quartz fireplace with a white oak horizontal wrap. “This space became the heart of the home,” Charles says. “We opened it so that it connects to the kitchen and dining rooms.

“The couple was looking for single-level living, and the house already had a primary suite on the main floor. However, it didn’t have an open plan like they wanted. The structure was there, but we had to strip it down to make the necessary changes,” Charles explains.

This multifunctional space acts as an office, pantry, and mudroom and has a side entrance to the house. “It has some overflow kitchen items, such as another refrigerator, dishwasher and food storage,” Charles says. This space was originally where the carport was located, but an interior office was a more functional option for the homeowners. The custom cabinets are the same as in the kitchen, but the flooring is made of Brazilian black slate.

The homeowners wanted to preserve the overall feel of the home, so Charles kept the basic configuration of the house the same.

“We didn’t change the footprint of the home, and we kept the original roof line for the most part,” he says. “They liked the brick on the exterior, so all of that is still original.”

Maryland Mid Century Home’s Additional Changes

Despite keeping most of the home’s original footprint, the couple ended up building two small additions. The first was expanding the foyer to connect the original wings of the home: “The two vertical walls were existing. We just pulled the entryway forward to meet the rest of the house,” Charles points out.

Expanding the kitchen and ridding it of its 1980s makeover was a key part of the home’s renovation. With white oak flooring, red oak cabinets and Caesarstone quartz countertops, a mid-century feel was brought back to the space. Custom blue cabinets up to the ceiling were built to eliminate the need for dusting and also accentuate the architectural structure of the original slanted roof.

The second addition was at the back of the home.

“The living room wasn’t big enough, so we expanded it by 4 feet,” he says.

The window wall and glass door also open up the interior to the back deck and connect it to the surrounding scenery. These additions increased the livable space on the main floor, giving the homeowners room on the level below to have a family room, wood shop, gym, and guest bedrooms.

The biggest update in the dining room involved making the side window larger. “It was one of the few windows we changed, and we did it to bring in more natural light,” says Charles. They replaced the rest of the windows with new glass, but their original shape and location remained the same. The recessed lighting is new and acts as a supplement to the pendant lights hanging above the custom-made dining table.

Other renovations included installing recessed lighting, adding Mid-Century Modern-style pendant lights throughout the house, and replacing old windows.

“The original windows were leaking, so we had to replace them, but we kept most of the original locations,” says Charles.

Natural Finishes to the Maryland Mid Century Home

White oak was incorporated throughout the home in the form of ceiling beams, lower kitchen cabinets, stair railings, shelving and a bathroom vanity.

“All the white oak is natural stain with a clear coat,” Charles says. Its clean finish and light color are reminiscent of mid-century-style furnishings and give the home an MCM feel, despite the features being new.

The back of the home had a full renovation—a new deck, screened-in porch and patio. The stairs were relocated to allow for a larger deck space. Although most of the area was redone, the original brick siding was kept in order to balance the old with the new.

Most of the home follows a neutral color palette, but the kitchen, office and primary bathroom have deep-blue features that play to one of the homeowner’s preferences. “The client loves blue, so we wanted to incorporate it where we could,” Charles says.

Respecting the Past

Whenever Charles and his team approach a renovation, their goal is to always respect the home’s origins.

“We try to understand what the original architect was thinking, and that informs how we approach the renovation. We use the lines of the house to give us clues about how they handled things. It allows us to make interventions that are sensitive to the original design decisions, even if we stray from the design,” he explains.

The addition at the back of the home comprises an expansive wall of windows that connects the interior to the exterior, providing beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. The new deck is made of ipé hardwood and extends the living area outdoors.

Because they don’t know who the original architect was, Charles studied Eichler case study houses and other local mid-century homes for inspiration.

“There is a fair amount of mid-century homes in Washington, D.C., if you look hard enough,” he says. “We showed our clients some homes in the area to help inform some of their decisions.”

The staircase transformed from just a means of transportation into a sculptural piece. The stairs were originally enclosed by walls on either side, so Charles knocked down one wall to open up the space. “Screens helped divide spaces in mid-century work,” he says. “We spaced the vertical wood slats so they would perfectly meet the railing on the main floor.”

Blue tile with a glass-like finish gives the Primary bathroom a calming atmosphere. Although this space was completely redone, it maintained its mid-century feel via the custom white oak vanity, modern lighting and clean lines.

Charles maintained the original features of the home wherever he could, and this part of the primary bedroom suite is one such example. “We made one of the windows into a door that leads to a private deck. other than that, the window configuration is original,” he says.

If you’re thinking of working on your own renovation, Charles advises planning ahead and being prepared: “It’s always going to take longer than you think—and cost more,” he says.

But, if you’re up to the challenge, you can live in comfort in a home that respects its past and is perfect for the present.

The back of the home was open, but some of the materials had seen better days. They replaced the deck with ipé hardwood, moved the stairs for efficiency and built a screened-in porch on the ground level.



Originally published in Atomic Ranch
Text by Kristin Dowding
Photos by Hoachlander Davis Photography

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