Creating an MCM exterior with curb appeal is a lot like conducting an orchestra: You need many elements, all finely tuned and working in harmony, to make truly beautiful music.
“Everything really has to work together—the slope of the roof, the thickness of the trim,” explains Kevin Witt, project architect at First Lamp Architecture in Seattle, Washington. “Managing all these details is kind of like running a soundboard at a recording studio: You’re turning each of those little knobs, and then you just have to step back and take a look at what you have.”
Starting Over for a Standing Ovation-Worthy MCM Exterior
The elements of this renovated mid-century home in Seattle’s Madison Park neighborhood are definitely “in tune.” The windows were upgraded and adjusted to be more symmetrical. And when it came to the rooflines on both the house and the garage, First Lamp provided the opportunity to start over. The garage was previously an open carport that was out of sync with the rest of the structure. The homeowners wanted the area closed in, and that provided the opportunity to rebuild and match the garage roofline to that of the main home.
The front door is a standout custom feature. Designed to be taller than an average door in order to align with the windows to the right, it’s decorated with slot windows and is made of solid alder.
Interestingly, First Lamp chose different, but complementary, woods for the façade. The soffits are cedar, while a long storage bench was built to the right of the door with an ipé wood top and cedar base. The bench’s sleek lines are carefully mid-century, yet it hides myriad children’s toys.
“Curb appeal is about keeping an eye on all the details,” Kevin points out. “It feels a lot like you’re drawing a portrait: If the eyebrow is a little off, or any feature isn’t quite aligned, the eye immediately recognizes it.”
Architectural Terms You Should Know
Soffit—The underside of any construction element, whether interior or exterior, such as the underside of beams, eaves or overhangs.
Fascia—The vertical board or band under a roof edge or along a cornice that covers the gap or joint between the roof and the wall.