Mid-Century Modern

By Gretchen Eichenberg

Bringing sustainability while preserving history

Pictured: by Breanne Johnson, breannejohnsonphotography.com

Built in 1961, this classic mid-century modern brick home in Cameron Park has only housed two owners. Architects Robert S. Braswell and William P. Davis designed the 2,100 square foot one-story, three bedroom, two bath home on a raised .64-acre lot. With its flat planes, large windows and views of the outdoors, the home is known as one of the only true mid-century homes in the neighborhood.

The current owners, who consider themselves preservationists, chose to modernize the home while honoring its classic and historic mid-century architecture. In January 2020, it was gutted to the studs and was mostly completed that July.

The ceilings were raised in the family and living rooms to a pitch, more in keeping with a traditional mid-century home — and then covered in tongue and groove cedar. Part of a brick wall that separated the family and living rooms was removed to create a more open traffic pattern.

The galley kitchen was reconfigured and a pantry space was created in the garage. A set of large windows was added at the end of the kitchen to match the windows in the front of the home. Another set of windows in the primary bedroom was installed to bring more light into the room, as well as to match a similar set in the office. A new window was also added in the primary bathroom.

The homeowners also made certain choices to lessen the environmental impact of the residence with a vision of sustainability at the forefront of the plans.

Inside, all the single-pane windows were replaced with energy efficient, aluminum clad wood windows and an aluminum sliding door was swapped with French doors to the patio. Energy-efficient gas HVAC systems and foam insulation were installed throughout the house.

Cabinets were reconfigured into such things as new, wall-hung bathroom vanities and repurposed kitchen/pantry cabinets. Pocket doors and bi-fold doors were reused, as well as original Lucite knobs.

LED can lights were added throughout the house and a light-colored metal roof was installed to reduce heat gain. Original mahogany wall paneling was reused. The existing terrazzo flooring was ground and polished, while large format terrazzo tiles and hardwood flooring were added throughout.

Outside, the goal was to make the space more environmentally appropriate for Texas heat. To that end, one half-acre of lawn was ripped out to reduce water use and cost. The landscape was redesigned to include drought-tolerant plants, a steel retaining wall to reduce runoff, gravel areas for permeable space, native grasses and a drip irrigation system.

In all, this home remodel was executed with historic preservation in mind, modernizing both the interior and exterior while celebrating the classic mid-century architecture.