The Midcentury Makeover project was a whole house remodel and energy upgrade.

The existing house was a midcentury bungalow originally built in 1951. The existing building had low overhangs that restricted the view, access to light and solar heating, yet there were no overhangs on the gable ends which, over the years, led to premature deterioration of the building envelope.

The size of the house was adequate for the owners and the decision was made to work within the existing building footprint. The house was extremely compartmentalized with numerous small rooms. The design opened the floor plan allowing for a large public space that included the kitchen, dining, living and media spaces. The public space created the center of the house with the private spaces, bedrooms and office, flanking. All spaces were opened to the 180 degree views over Bellingham Bay, downtown Fairhaven and the Canadian Rockies.

As the building was only built with 2×4 walls and shiplap sheathing, the envelope was under-insulated, poorly air sealed and susceptible to earthquake damage. The design added plywood to the interior of the existing walls that both updated the building to current seismic code but was also used as the air barrier. All seams, nail holes and penetrations were air sealed at the Plywood bringing the air tightness to near Passive House levels.

To bring the building up to contemporary insulation levels, a second 2×4 wall was installed to the interior of the plywood, used as a service cavity and filled with insulation. This additional wall also allowed for deep interior window sills which were requested by the clients. Originally, the plan was to retain the existing stucco siding, however, after some demolition, extensive rot was discovered and all the stucco removed. This allowed for a new water resistive barrier, extensive air sealing and corrugated metal siding.

The existing house also had very low ceilings and eaves that restricted views and sunlight to many of the interior spaces. Rather than using the exiting flat ceiling attic framing, a new roof was applied on top of the existing roof. This lifted the eaves 12″ for more light, allowed for vaulted ceilings and all mechanicals to be housed within the conditioned building envelope. Adding the new roof also allowed the building to have overhangs on all sides to protect the walls from the rainy Pacific Northwest weather.

As a final touch the owners installed a large PV array to bring the project to net-zero energy.