Blogs > Pat Gaylor > December 2009

A Vision for the future, a reverence for the past

“What Lies Beneath”

Lance Gonzalez and his crew have been peeling away layers of drywall and insulation and removing the exterior siding, revealing the skeleton of the original house. I love looking at houses this way. Seeing years of past remodels getting stripped away and revealing the house’s true intent is akin to a good detective novel in my mind. Or maybe even an autopsy. You can’t deny what’s really going on when you get down to the bare bones.

Sometime during the last 15 or so years, there was a fire in the house caused by a faulty television set, according to the owners. Once the underside of some of the eaves was uncovered, traces of smoke damage still remained. Luckily, the damage was minor. The REAL damage was the 90’s style remodel. It wasn’t bad, it was just BORING. Beige tile everywhere, white ‘stucco’ walls, skimpy trims and moldings and cheap hardware and windows turned this little mid-century gem into just another mundane looking tract home.

I’d like to try to balance what was originally designed for the house with new products and materials that will not only pay homage to its past but allow it to grow into the future gracefully, and more importantly, sustainably. Now I’m not saying that the original design of this house was perfect. But there are certain things about it that are unmistakably mid-century and whimsical, like the tapered fireplace chimney in the living room, or the cool square block pattern on the outside walls. Those were signature items of the architect, some of which remain on a lot of the houses on the street. So how can I balance my love of this simple yet arguably funky house style with what’s out there in home design right now? Are families today any different from the families of 50 years ago? Maybe so, but I think we all still want the same things- a safe, comfortable haven that with nurture us for many years to come.

One of the things that have never changed is the idea that the kitchen is the heart of the home. This still rings true today. Most of our activities are centered on the kitchen, even though our current lifestyle is much faster paced than those before us.

The original plan of the house had a solid wall in between the kitchen and living room. By breaking through and cutting a 6 foot wide opening over the sink, it’s created a whole new look and feel. Now the kitchen area doesn’t feel isolated from the rest of the home, and people can mingle about the space and still feel connected. And yet people still need private or ‘quiet’ spaces. By adding a wall in between the dining area and family room, it creates a much needed quiet zone from the rest of the house for reading or watching television. So once again, it’s all about the balance - the balance between the old and the new, with a reverence for the past and a vision for the future.

Posted By Pat Gaylor

Posted: 12/8/2009 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments

About Me

Patricia Gaylor has practiced as an interior designer in the Northeast for more than two decades. Here, an abundance of older homes in need of complete renovations requiring the removal of everything, from dated appliances to cabinetry, prompted Pat to ponder the question: “What happens to all this stuff after it’s ripped out?” Pat’s passion for green design continues to be fueled by this question.



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