Sunday, April 26, 2015
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

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Davis team wins world robotics championship

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

     
     
     
    Nepal quake death toll exceeds 1,800

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    At the Pond: Plenty of pleasures in our bioregion

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A3 | Gallery

    Pioneering organic chef presents her memoir Monday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Suspect in UCD assault arrested

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

    Dog park marks anniversary with cleanup

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Rail-safety bill passes Senate committee

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Free Family Bike Clinic set Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Watch them in action

    By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5

    Stocks rise on tech earnings; Nasdaq adds to record

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

     
    Dodd speaks as part of public policy series

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    We did it (together)!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

     
    $2.72 million judgment ordered against Dollar Tree Stores

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Fly Fishers to hear about advanced streamer tactics on Tuesday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Bicycle activist will speak Monday at Hall of Fame

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    UCD hosts bike auction Saturday, May 2

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    Those texts still linger

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

     
    New ways of giving locally and beyond

    By Marion Franck | From Page: B6

     
    Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    Water, water everywhere?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

     
    Mayor’s Corner: A spirit of renewal permeates Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

    More work to do for a safe Picnic Day

    By Our View | From Page: A12

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

    Poker proceeds help youths

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

     
    Invest in water of the future

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

     
    Anaheim, where The Force is with you

    By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A13 | Gallery

    .

    Sports

    Davis gets two baseball wins in two days

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

     
    Grizzlies dominate young Blue Devils on Senior Night

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Energy, fan-friendly happenings highlight UCD spring football game

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Blue Devil golfers capture CAL Invitational title

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD roundup: Aggies reach water polo semifinals

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

     
    Blue Devil swimmers are up to the challenge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Babich brings the heat as DHS girls stick it to Oak Ridge

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

     
    DHS softball struggles continue against Sheldon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    History comes alive in ‘The Sacramento Picture’

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Big Italian food, sports bar to fill Little Prague

    By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A7

    Davis Roots hires new general manager

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Comcast announces speed upgrade

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, April 26, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8