Magnolia Mid-Mod | Notes of Interest

This project, a whole-house interior renovation of a mid-century modern home, belongs to a family of three. It needed to be Universally-Designed, as the mother and daughter are wheelchair-users. It became evident as the daughter grew up that more room was needed in the kitchen for the family to cook together, and that the family needed an entertainment space in the house that could provide more privacy.

The homeowner’s first impulse was to add a second story to the house, but the idea was quickly met with several uncomfortable realities: losing the mid-century scale and charm of the exterior, having to use an elevator multiple times a day, and the price tag.

The solution was to find more square footage within the existing exterior walls, spending less overall while taking advantage of opportunities to create custom, innovative solutions.

As a result, the home is a laboratory for solutions that are both highly functional and universally-appealing, with the intent to inspire others to consider the investment potential, both financial and experiential, of planning for a broad range of mobility over a long period of time. The project boasts a long list of sustainability and universal-design solutions. On top of this, the space has reached a new aesthetic level, a beauty that no space should have to sacrifice in order to integrate universal-design solutions.

Additional Credits

  • Associate Architect: Studio Pacifica
  • Interior Designer: Lucy Johnson Interiors
  • Structural Engineer: Frossard Engineering
  • Photo Credit: © Kathryn Barnard, 2009-2010

Magnolia Mid-Mod

Jury Comments

This project shows how design can make all the difference, and not just through technology, as is often done. Opportunities are created: there is storage without imposing structures; accessibility to plumbing is still aesthetically pleasing. This is due to care to details. Practicality is found through nice, yet functional, details.

This is broadly replicable design for a universal conversion.

Such multi-sensorial delight—- anyone would love to live in this house!

2011 AIA/HUD Secretary's Awards Jury

  • Katherine Austin, AIA, Chair
  • Katherine Austin Architect
  • Sebastopol, Calif.
  • Luis F. Borray, Assoc. AIA
  • U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Claire Conroy
  • Residential Architecture Magazine
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Regina C. Gray, PhD
  • U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Mike Jackson, FAIA
  • Historical Preservation Agency
  • State of Illinois
  • Springfield, Ill.
  • Luis Jauregui, AIA
  • Jaurequi, Inc.
  • Austin, Tex.
  • Marilys Nepomechie, FAIA
  • Florida International University Miami
  • Coconut Grove, Fla.

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