Sunday, September 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Ask the Expert: MAK Design + Build

By Ken Kirsch
MAK DESIGN + BUILD

I’m thinking of remodeling my Streng home — How do I make the most of my investment?

As a remodeler in Davis, it is with great respect and careful consideration that MAK approaches any project in an iconic Streng brothers home. The builders Bill and Jim Streng — in partnership with architect Carter Sparks — created affordable, thoughtfully designed homes in the Central Valley. At the time when the university was becoming a fully realized university and academic life began to exert greater influence on local culture, these modernist homes brought visionary architecture to our rural community.

When considering any improvement to these homes, maintaining the architectural integrity should be the first concern. These homes were intentionally simple, but not casually designed. Reason replaced ornament as the esthetic focus. From a remodeling standpoint, there is little room for error within this carefully balanced program. Without thoughtful design, it is easy to make changes that undermine the original intentions and provide little added value to the home. On a less abstract level, there are performance issues that need to be addressed to make the most of your investment. New materials and technologies can add immediate value to these mid-century modern homes. Here are three of the most common areas that can benefit from newer technology and building science:

1. The roof structure
The typical Streng home has a flat roof. When these homes were built, tar and gravel was the most commonly installed flat-roof material. This material breaks down quickly and requires frequent maintenance. New Foam roofs and single-ply membranes are advanced materials that last much longer—and require much less maintenance — than the tar and gravel systems. As part of pragmatic beauty of the flat-roof structure, exposed Douglas fir beams travel across the interior of the home and extend past the eaves on the exterior. The ends of these structural beams are vulnerable to damage by rain and sun. It is often only a thin film of paint that protects the wood from rotting. In this particular instance, a simple metal flashing can be installed to the top surface of the beam for more durable protection against the elements. Beams that are already damaged can often be repaired with epoxy wood fillers.

2. Plumbing
The original construction method was to install copper pipes below the concrete slab and bring these pipes up through the slab into the walls of the bathrooms and kitchens. Pipes embedded in slabs are at greater risk for developing leaks. When leaks do occur, the fix is often urgent and does not allow for a properly planned solution. In addition, access to the pipes for locating or repairing leaks is tricky at best. In anticipation of this potential costly mechanical failure, an overhead system can be incorporated into the scope of any bathroom or kitchen remodel. Streng homes do not have much in the way of attic space, so copper pipes installed overhead can be noisy. PEX piping—made of high-density polyethylene — is a good alternative to copper in this situation. It is less noisy than copper and is often easier to install. A manifold can also be installed in an accessible area to allow a separate shut-off for each fixture.

3. Building performance
The iconic architectural glass of the Streng homes is part of the original passive solar heating system. The climate in the Central Valley often makes keeping houses cool in the summer more difficult than keeping them warm in the winter. The effectiveness of the passive-solar design depends on how each individual home is situated in relation to the sun’s path. Streng homes built on a north/south axis benefit from the warmth of the winter sun while staying cool in the summer. Homes built on an east/west axis tend to overheat from the late afternoon summer sun and stay chilled in the winter due to very little direct solar heat gain. These homes were also built with drafty single-pane windows – the best available at the time but poor performers by today’s window standards. The insulating value of the architectural glass can be improved by retrofitting the windows and patio doors with double-pane glass. This can be done while maintaining the low profile frames that are the signature style elements for these homes.

Carter Sparks’ modernist vision still shines through the airy interiors that the Streng brothers constructed decades ago. Making the most of your remodeling investment will help maintain this vision for decades to come.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

.

News

Elementary school counselors: necessary, but poorly funded

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Bet Haverim hosts High Holy Day services

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

 
Teams assess damage as wildfire burns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Driver arrested for DUI after Saturday morning crash

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Help raise funds for juvenile diabetes cure

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Jewelry, art for sale at Senior Center

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Davis Community Meals needs cooks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Hawk Hill trip planned Sept. 30

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
UC campus chancellors granted hefty pay raises

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Send kids to camp!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Da Vinci awarded $38,000 for restorative justice program

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

Outdoor yoga marathon celebrates community

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Wise words

By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

Awareness is key to this fight

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
We’re living in the Golden State of emergency

By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A6

Options for protection come with flu season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Are we there yet? Not enough hours in the day to goof off

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

Paso Fino project is flawed

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Paso Fino — it’s not worth it

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Archer will get my vote

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
It’s time for Davis Scouts to stand up for what is right

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Mike Keefe cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

 
Building something at schools’ HQ

By Our View | From Page: A10

Don’t sell city greenbelt

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Speak out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Maybe David can beat Goliath again

By Lynne Nittler | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Sports

DHS gets on its Morse to beat Edison

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
JV Blue Devils drop low-scoring affair

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B2

 
Republic FC’s fairy tale season continues

By Evan Ream | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Wire briefs: Giants rally falls short in San Diego

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Four local swimmers qualify for Olympic Trials

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

‘We’re a way better team’ than record, says UCD’s Shaffer

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
UCD roundup: Aggie men pound Pomona-Pitzer in the pool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4

Davis 15-year-old making a splash in European F4 series

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

‘Ladies Foursome’ adds shows

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
.

Business

MBI hires VP of marketing

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
UCD grad’s startup earns kudos at TechCrunch event

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Styles on target for November debut

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7

 
Taylor Morrison unveils new Woodland community next weekend

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Rob White: What is an ‘innovation center’?

By Rob White | From Page: A9

 
.

Obituaries

Carol L. Walsh

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, September 21, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8