Tag Archives: modern

Modern Flooring

Although not meant to detail every modernist floor system, this article will examine a few that I have personal experience with.

One of the most admirable features of modernist interiors, in my opinion, is the flooring pervasive during the period of the mid-century.

Terrazzo Flooring. (Photo from Atomic Ranch.)
Terrazzo Flooring. (Photo from Atomic Ranch.)

Although one would suppose by many of the current ideas about mid-century styling that the period was dominated by bright whites and pastel or bright colors, stained wood became an important part of the mid-century interior. Tongue and groove ceilings, wood wall paneling, and wood floors were very important in many interiors. Today, the rustic or variable tones of wood would not have been of influence back then. Instead, mid-century architects and interior designers preferred a more even, consistent look. Of course, one must also realize that even back then there was a difference in style between what is called “organic”, International design and other trends. As far as the bulk of American residential styles, those of large-scale developers such as Eichler and Haver, the surfaces tended to conform to a consistent standard that favored the use of manufactured or engineered surfaces not much different from the International style but in terms of wood flooring laminates and composite materials had not yet held sway.

One must remember that materials today considered on the higher end of price were more readily available on a mass scale. For instance, cabinets made of composite materials today might have been made then with joined woods or a fine grade of plywood maybe even covered with a veneer of high quality.

mid-century-modern-wood-floor-after-glowing-hardwood-floors-original-tongue-and-groove-ceiling-1

Some of the types of wood favored during the mid-century include teak in various colors, rosewood, mahogany, walnut, beech, and oak. Naturally, teak was mainly used for furniture but could be emulated for paneling or other wood details. Rosewood also was mainly used for furniture even though it could be found in cabinets and other specialty applications.

In an attempt to maintain the integrity of a modernist home, some trends of today would not be suitable such as bamboo. However, this does not mean engineered surfaces such as laminates might not be too out of place, especially if one considers the current price of materials.

This is a question I get all the time which is really a conundrum. In maintaining a building from a particular period, how far does one go in staying with original materials when something cannot be restored or repaired? The problem with the modernists is their philosophy, creativity, and love of the new would certainly suggest that they not only would accept contemporary materials but also advocate for them. What I think they would object to is the current inclination for conformity and uniformity, especially in residential interiors. The overuse of neutrals such as white and blacks and various shades of grey would have been entirely too restrictive.

Contemporary Modern Living Room Design contemporary-living-room

It goes without saying that these rustic grayish stained laminates would not work very well. In fact, if one wishes to play it safe, keeping with a range of color from medium to light is better. Another thing to remember, for small spaces, dark colors tend to shrink the look of the size of the room, light colors can open things up because they reflect more light in a broader spectrum.

Cork Flooring. (Photo from https://www.homestratosphere.com/cork-flooring-pro.)
Cork Flooring. (Photo from https://www.homestratosphere.com/cork-flooring-pro.)

One of my favorites and the one I grew up with is stained and polished concrete. Growing up in the southwestern US, most houses had foundations of a concrete slab with no need for basements or elevations above the ground. So the use of the concrete as the floor certainly made cost savings and a beautiful modern surface. Generally, the concrete was stained in a rusty red or a yellowish brown, at least in my neighborhood. Unfortunately, as time passed and tastes changed, many of the floors were covered up with carpeting, or linoleum.

Concrete Floor. (Photo from Dickoatts.com.)
Concrete Floor. (Photo from Dickoatts.com.)

Obviously, concrete flooring has many advantages, in particular with the resins and epoxies that can be applied at this time. The actual staining of concrete today produces some incredible effects and is remarkably inexpensive, relatively speaking. It is also something a DIYer can do with a little education in the matter.

Umber Stained Concrete. (Photo from http://mvlconcrete.com/blog/tag/stained-concrete/.)
Umber Stained Concrete. (Photo from http://mvlconcrete.com/blog/tag/stained-concrete/.)

Photo by Marc Mueller on Pexels.com.
Photo by Marc Mueller on Pexels.com.

Concrete floors can be stained with remarkable patterns and intense colors such as deep blues and reds.

One of my true favorites is Linoleum. Not only does it come in an unending amount of patterns but it can be applied in such a way as to create amazing designs. Indeed, from residential to commercial applications Linoleum was laid down with contrasting borders and elaborately carved graphics.

Linoleum Pattern Using Tiles. (Photo from https://www.armstrongflooring.com/commercial/en-us
Linoleum Pattern Using Tiles. (Photo from https://www.armstrongflooring.com.)
Congoleum Gold Seal Linoleum Flooring, Life Magazine, 14 Feb 1955.
Congoleum Gold Seal Linoleum Flooring, Life Magazine, 14 Feb 1955.
Marmoleum in a Pattern.
Marmoleum in a Pattern.
Tile and Sheet Linoleum. (Photo from https://www.armstrongflooring.com/commercial/en-us/products/linoleum/linoart-colorette-sheet.html).
Tile and Sheet Linoleum. (Photo from https://www.armstrongflooring.com/commercial/en-us/products/linoleum/linoart-colorette-sheet.html.)

I have in my own house an elaborate Linoleum pattern from tiles installed in my living room.

Laying down Linoleum tiles in a pattern is remarkably easy and surprisingly inexpensive. Perfect for the DIYer, the tiles do not require arcane tools or any sort of fancy equipment to install. Also, once you get the idea of how to apply inlays, even that sort of application seems rather easy.

The last floor that I will mention and which is probably my favorite of them all is terrazzo.

Terrazzo is an ancient flooring going back to the Egyptians. It consists of a cement or binder with chips of material thrown in for the pattern. Due to the frequency of cracking in large sheets, the practice of separating sections by brass or metal strips came about and if anyone has been in an old bank building with terrazzo on the floor, he or she probably remembers the shiny brass lines separating areas of a pattern or sections of the floor.

As one can see from above, terrazzo floors stretch one’s energy and time to create such beautiful surfaces. However, forsaking the traditional methods epoxy can make the job a lot easier, simpler, and much less expensive.

These are a few of the types of floors prevalent in the mid-century with terrazzo and Linoleum some of the most common materials used in commercial buildings. Linoleum probably dominated all the others and even, to the shock of people restoring buildings,  came to cover up all sorts of floors including hardwood surfaces.

HBosler

Self-Portrait in Red.
Self-Portrait in Red.

My Tiny Modern Luxury

Upcoming in the next three months, I have a wonderful project to build a tiny space. As part of a larger building, one might consider this as a self-contained suite or apartment. Nevertheless, the suite will have a footprint of 453 square feet.

When the building begins, I will document the various stages until the final result and post the ongoing developments. Although, not in the current plans, another patio may be considered on the bathroom side.

The Footprint of the Tiny Suite.
The Footprint of the Tiny Suite.

Obviously, since this is attached to a larger structure, the footprint is such that it could be made entirely free standing.

The following shows first the main space and then the patio and at the last the bathroom area.

This is a View of the Entry Door from the Kitchenette.
This is a View of the Entry Door from the Kitchenette.
Another View from the Kitchenette.
Another View from the Kitchenette.

On the same side as the entry door, a bank of cabinets provides an incredible amount of storage as well as a good size work surface and entertainment platform. It is possible that instead of one of the base cabinets an empty space below the surface will work as a desk.

Looking Back Toward the Kitchenette.
Looking Back Toward the Kitchenette.

In the above illustration, we see not only the kitchenette but also the small dining area and to the very right the armoire that supplies closet space to the sleeping area. The kitchenette will have a convection oven, induction stove top, and microwave. The chairs are of my design and can be found on diymodernfurniture.com.

It should be noted that this suite derives a large influence from mid-century modern design. Also, notice the use of the primary colors as a decorating scheme.

Looking from the Entrance.
Looking from the Entrance.



The above view shows a good deal of the space, on the left, the armoire, to the right, the bank of storage, and straight ahead the bed and relaxation areas.

Looking from the Bed.
Looking from the Bed.

Even though a large amount of storage is packed into a small place, the room looks spacious and comfortable.

A View of the Bedroom Area with My Artwork.
A View of the Bedroom Area with My Artwork.

The bed is a full-size bed. This space has room for a bedside table. Large windows provide plenty of natural light.

Looking Toward the French Doors that Lead to the Patio.
Looking Toward the French Doors that Lead to the Patio.

A private sitting area for reading makes for a pleasant ambiance. The French doors lead to the semi-circular patio.

We Look Back Toward the Entry Door.
We Look Back Toward the Entry Door.
Seeing Out Through the French Patio Doors.
Seeing Out Through the French Patio Doors.
The Patio.
The Patio.
The Patio.
The Patio.
The Gate to the Patio.
The Gate to the Patio.
The Door to the Bathroom.
The Door to the Bathroom.

As one will see, the bathroom has plenty of space for storage.

The Storage Space Available.
The Storage Space Available.

To the left, barely visible is the door to the outside where another patio may take shape.

The Shower Cabinet.
The Shower Cabinet.
The Shower Cabinet, Toilet, and Vanity.
The Shower Cabinet, Toilet, and Vanity.
A Good Size Window on the Right.
A Good Size Window on the Right.
The Exterior Door.
The Exterior Door.



Well, this project is in the planning stage. After the searing heat in this part of the country abates somewhat and new solar panels go up on the roof, then the tearing down and rebuilding begins.

As you can see, a complete living environment can be made without consuming a lot of space. One of the main strategies to achieve this is by providing an open flow, placing furniture and builtins to the sides of the spaces and not breaking up spaces into uncomfortable severity. Once done, I think this tiny suite will furnish a complete and satisfying habitat.

HBosler

Self-Portrait in Red.
Self-Portrait in Red.

6 Container Houses, Very Nice, Very Modern

EcoWatch has 6 container houses that are quite remarkable in style. The problem is in choosing the best of the bunch. Take a look at: EcoWatch.

New Zealand Beach House
New Zealand Beach House

If you would like to look into even more container houses take a peek at these:

http://www.containerhomeplans.org/2015/04/what-i-wish-id-known-before-building-my-shipping-container-home/

http://freshome.com/shipping-container-homes/

rad interior

poteet container huest house

https://www.offgridworld.com/10-prefab-shipping-container-homes-from-24k/

Video on container houses:

http://videos.hgtv.com/video/modern-shipping-container-home-0200750

Mute or ignore the music in this one, but the ideas are nice:

And here is some book suggestions:

Container Atlas: Practical Guide to Container Architecture