This California home, known as the Plummer House, offers a unique take on mid mod style.
Experts in Mid Century Modern style will tell you that MCM expresses itself differently depending on its location, architect or original owners. Just as characteristic breeze block adorns Palm Springs MCM homes, the Plummer House in The San Fernando Valley comes with its own distinguishing feature: a concrete block-and-beam design and finishing that is original to the home.
The Plummer House, A Hidden Gem
The neighborhood where the Plummer House resides has plenty of tract MCM home counterparts, but very few, if any, have exposed, original concrete block. “It was a very polarizing part of the design, but one that we leaned into,” says Anthony Herrera Bossley, whose professional name is Piney, short for Pineapple. Anthony owned the Plummer House for three years, but the home became a passion project and creative outlet for him and his husband during the COVID-19 pandemic, as interior design projects were slow at this time. He refurbished the home with the help of his interior design firm, Piney Interiors, where he is owner and lead interior designer.
Anthony and his husband purchased the house in June 2020, at a time when many were less eager to buy homes. “As incredible an architectural gem as it is, the home sat on the market for 90-days with no offers,” Anthony says. “Once we toured the house, we knew that it was the perfect house for us to refurbish and restore to its original mid-century roots.” Hence, the couple focused on exposing the original character and intent they believed the original owners had when initially building the house. The home was custom built in 1957 by Mr. J. S. Plummer, a local Northrup aerospace engineer whose background may explain the unique look of the home’s futuristic spaces. There are several spots in the home that harken to a stark futurism that feels almost brutalist in tone. In fact, as examples of the forward-looking style of the house, Anthony points to “the bulbous, Jetson-esque living room spot lighting” and an overall design approach that “focused on accentuating the brutal exposed concrete and magnificent beams in the house.” All these features, he says, allowed for a home that could enhance their existing collection of eclectic art. The result was a marriage of unique contrasts.
There was plenty to preserve in the house. Because the couple purchased this home from the second owners, who lived there in the late 1960s, their work on the home focused more on what not to touch rather than what to replace or remodel. “It took a lot of confidence on our part to leave much of the home as the Plummers originally intended,” Anthony says.
Thus, the walls and floor took center stage in the refurbishment process. The walls are completely original and made of reinforced rebar and exposed concrete block. “Much of the flooring throughout the house is white porcelain, which intentionally minimized any clashes with the concrete block—the real star of the show,” Anthony says. The floor provides a more neutral palette to lighten the space and minimize the general grayscale of most of the house.
Paired with the exposed concrete block, the original ceiling beams add to the home’s rarity. “While this home doesn’t have as many wood features as, say, a traditional post-and-beam MCM, we were passionate about bringing more rich tones into the home,” Anthony says. Therefore, they remodeled the bedroom floors using sustainable, unfinished white oak for the herringbone pattern. Then they worked with a custom colorist to stain the flooring to create a bridge between the red-hued richness of the exposed beams and the original, ochre-toned wood doors and paneling throughout. “The herringbone flooring throughout the bedrooms is one of my personal favorite design choices,” Anthony says.
Best in Design
Sticking with the home’s unique expression of MCM style was always the homeowners’ goal. “Sometimes a designer’s favorite design choice is the one the original architect and owner intended,” Anthony says. “We debated refurbishing the concrete block walls—going so far as to consider even painting them—but ultimately we decided they were too special, too unique and, frankly, you can’t undo it once it’s done.”
Want to see more MCM home renovations? Don’t miss A MCM Ryokan-Inspired Home in LA, and Finding and Renovating a Fullerton Forever Home. Get inspiration delivered right to your inbox, and sign up for the newsletter by visiting the bottom of this page. don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for more Atomic Ranch articles and ideas!