"Lortondale built on the Eugene Lorton Estate, is an example of the very latest and finest in Contemporary Living. " -Lortondale Sales Brochure, 1954

Welcome to the website of the Lortondale Neighborhood. Lortondale is a mid-century modern neighborhood built between 1954-1956 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

100 Ways to Screw Up Your Mid-Century Modern Home

For a while now there has been a thread at Lotta Living describing the 100+ most unforgivable ways to screw up a mid-century modern home. Peruse the list below and see if there are any you recognize, agree with or disagree with...

1) Adding a steeper roof on top of your flat or shallow pitched roof.
2) Ornate front door. (Etched glass windows)
3) Adding a second story.
4) Putting in a country kitchen.
5) Installing a white metal colonial style garage door in place of the original redwood sided door
6) Adding vinyl double hung replacement windows
7) Heading to Home Depot/Lowes with home equity loan money in hand
8 ) Adding inappropriate window treatments i.e.-paned windows, decorative shutters, fancy storybook scrollwork/moldings.
9) Replacing your tar & gravel roof with Spanish tile.
10) Covering your tongue & groove ceiling and wood beams with sheetrock
11) Roof over the atrium and add desirable square footage
12) Putting a white picket OR Wrought Iron fence in the front yard (or ANYWHERE for that matter)
13) One word: Stucco
14) Two words: crown molding!
15) Three words: 70s wall paneling
16) Carriage lights
17) Slathering one color of paint over everything - double points if it's Peach, Pink or Yellow.
18 ) Painting over stone
19) replacing single pane glass in the glass end gables with double pain glass or plywood
20) vinyl siding
21) Installing gaudy brass light fixtures.
22) Covering up glass or painting over it. Exterior siding over what used to be glass under the two sets of windows in the J&J rooms. Inside paneling was installed over the glass
23) Replacing in slab ductwork with overhead ductwork
24) Enclosing the carport / Converting the garage into living space
25) Granite!!!!!!!!
26) Install over-sized "professional grade" appliances (Viking, Subzero) in small galley kitchen.
27) Covering poured terrazzo with Home-Depot ceramic tile
28 ) ANYTHING made out of bright, shiny brass
29) Tear it down to build a McMansion
30) tearing out the original flat panel, flush faced kitchen cabinets and replacing them with fancy, ornate routed ones
31) Replacing original wood framed windows with aluminum framed sliding glass doors:
32) Basin sinks / oversize tubs / Anything described as turning your bathroom into a "personal spa" or "retreat"
33) Installing inappropriately decorative house numbers.
34) selling off all the one of a kind, original architect designed furniture and light fixtures because it "doesn't fit in"
35) Putting in grid windows
36) Installing a ceiling fan in a vaulted, exposed beam and t&g ceiling
37) Using a pick axe or jackhammer to remove original 8x8 linoleum tiles so one can install Home Depot terra cotta pavers and pimpin' purple carpet. I only wish I had the pictures to prove it. You simply haven't lived until you've patched and leveled the entire slab on your hands and knees.
38 ) Installing hardwood floors over a radiant heated concrete slab
39) cutting down the fascia, removing original down spouts to install gutters.
40) whitewash the interior with white paint to make it feel larger
41) marble!!!
42) Stupid Door Handles
43) Visual overload
44) Big Greek / Italian /Mediterranean columns added to the front (or inside). Also, gaudy statues and fountains containing cherubs, angels, naked people, The Virgin Mary etc,
45) painting over unpainted exterior wood (instead of stain)
46) Collecting and displaying too many knick knacks in a 1200 sq ft MCM house:
47) Removing all signs of nature outside by putting concrete everywhere, thereby defeating the harmony between house and nature attitude of many modernists.
48 ) Sticking a mantle on a stone fireplace that isn't supposed to have one.
49) Putting a white lattice archway in the front yard walkway with flowers and vines growing all over it.
50) Plain ole' neglect...having a cool MCM home, and letting it go...chipping paint, rotted fascias, overgrown foliage etc...
51) paint a redwood tongue and groove ceiling
52) covering beautiful terrazzo floors with nylon fiber wall to wall carpet to "update the place"
53) Installing an aluminum patio (awning - editor)
54) Popcorn ceilings
55) Installing the cable box right outside the front door
56) Putting in one of those one-piece molded plastic mailboxes on a post.
57) Fake brick exterior siding (There's a bunch of these on the Neutra tract homes near the Burbank Airport).
58 ) Compromising your principles.
59) Misunderstanding/confusing "Ranch House" with "Ranch Style" house thus recreating the Little House on the Prairie
60) A sweet barn style shed. See pic;
61) Lace curtains (maybe this is just a Texas problem?)
62) Placing ANYTHING in or around the house from Hobby Lobby, Kirklands, or credited to either Thomas Kinkade or Mary Englebreit.
63) Smothering the interior with cheesy wallpaper.
64) Removing perfect mahogany paneling so that it can be replaced with drywall (this also includes just covering it with drywall).
65) Saltillo Tiles
66) Adding onto the back, after all, all that glass makes a great room divider!
67) Never throwing anything away.
68 ) Adding exposed conduit, wire mold, or worse, exposed wiring to beams and columns of you post and beam home.
69) Buying a mid-century modern home and then normalizing it to make it look like any other home.
70) Round top windows!
71) Raising up your slab on grade MCM home and adding a basement under it.
72) Replacing your vintage globe lights with too much cheesy low-voltage lighting.

74) Three or four masonry materials where one or two will do.
75) invite 100 scooterist over to your house, with a live punk band, and 5 kegs of PBR (no, I haven't done this... yet)
76) adding an addition not in the style and design of the home
77) allowing termites to gobble it all up
78 ) anything faux
79) hire an architect who doesn't understand Modernism
80) not participating on the Lotta Living bboard
81) Stained glass or beveled glass windows
82) tiling over original magnasite deck... extra points for bad colorful folk art tile
83) Placing a Pink Flamingo in your Garden/Yard
84) Describing MCM houses as "retro"
85) Placing an A/C unit on the top of your roof
86) Refacing an original fireplace, let alone with a thin flagstone laminate
87) Installing arches or rounded corners in a room opening or between rooms
88 ) Turning the master bedroom into a den
89) Replace your garage door with a brick fireplace
90) Inappropriate furnishings?? (see flowery couch with detailed, routed wood)
91) Adding brick driveway columns topped by gold stone lions
92) Building a circular turret on the front of the house (I'll take pics of these last two for you).
93) Adding lattice to the front to "improve the look and privacy"
94) Covering the metal columns with wood to make them look like more like classical columns.
95) Hanging seasonal flags (i.e. santa, the easter bunny) outside your entryway
96) French doors to patio
97) Sawing off the overhanging roof and beams (Most of the P&Ks in my neighborhood have fallen victim to this)
98 ) covering up exposed beams so the house look like other conventional framed homes
99) Adding turned pickets to all railing for that "country French" look!
100) Looking over an untouched, near-pristine P&K home and then declaring , "It has such potential!"
101) Painting over original polished aluminum Nutone range hood and splash shield.
102) Removing original skylark boomerang Formica countertops
103) tearing out original award winning landscaping to plant box woods.
104) planting boxwoods
105) planting bradford pears
106) yard ornamentation
107) turning your front yard into a playground full with play set
108) Inappropriate landscape lighting
109) Hanging towels up in place of curtains
110) non thoughtful placement of new thermostat
111) inappropriate storm doors
112) bad porch lights
113) horrible door knockers
114) fake stained glass inserts
115) painting your concrete porch green
116) satellite dishes
117) less than thoughtful placement of the ac unit
118) White plastic lattice screens!
119) Shutters!...
120) Screwing down additional insulation onto your t&g wood roof deck with screws that are too long and pierce through to the inside.
121) Painting over birch (or any other wood) closets/paneling.
122) let the realtor do it, so you don't have to
123) Installing a classical European wallpaper mural
124) Letting a real estate agent list a house as "a desirable lot" and not even showing pictures of the MCM house.
125) Hiring a realtor who just doesn't get it
126) Turn it into a barn (adding a gambrel roof - editor)
127) putting up an enchanted garden wall mural (in the interior - editor), complete with shutter murals
128) painted landscape rocks and wishing wells
129) Wall to wall carpet over hardwoods... so wrong!
130) those self-stick vinyl tile squares on a beautiful hardwood floor!!
131) Adding "bay-windows" in the living area and those ugly "bump out" windows in the kitchen.
132) Eliminating the eaves by pushing out exterior walls in search for more square footage.

61 comments:

  1. All good. For L-dale, we know how terrible the vinyl sidings and windows look.

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  2. 100 wats? Here's 150, at least...
    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/5341-E-26th-Pl-Tulsa-OK-74114/22137095_zpid/

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  3. So many of these ring true - what a great list from LL!

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  5. Avoid these certain factors to maintain your mid-century modern home. Thanks for that list.

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  6. Wow! Great list! I am about to embark on a MCM remodel in Dallas. We purchased the home to preserve the neigborhood. We didn't want a McMansion going in next door to us and our 1960's soft contemporary.The homes biggest problem is a biggie!! It's an addition over the garage which looks horrible but, it's not economically feasible to take it down.
    Thank goodness huge trees buffer it. The original windows are aluminum and I think I am going back with that unless you bloggers out there have another recommendation.Dark bronze is quite the trend out here right now.Thanks!!

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  7. Now why would anyone add inappropriate window treatments? If you want to add shutters for home security, surely you'll be able to find other ways.

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  8. Great Stuff. We bought a 1962 Track Ranch in a quiet little neighborhood but have been trying a redress all the terrible "Sell This House" BS the previous owner heaped upon the house in an effort to sell it (it was on the market for almost 3 years). Some of the worst include removing all the great vintage tile from the kitchen and bathroom in favor of cheap drywall, replacing the cool old GE cooktop and wall oven with a cheap stand alone stove, painting over all the wood work and replacing the round ranch style door trims with cheap "Colonial" style trim, removing all the window sills so as to fit in cheap double hung windows, refinishing the old kitchen cabinets in an ugly dark, muddy color (they were originally a honey color), and putting in a cheap 80"s style grey countertop, to mention adding ceiling fans in all the rooms (mid you, we have low 8 ft ceilings!), and of course, painting the main part of the house in a "monotone Peach color. On the plus side, I have lots of "Retrovating" to do, and I will do it!

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    Replies
    1. I believe we need to produce "Unflip This House." I know full well how these TV whackjob "designers" are, and hope they finally get canceled before their influence grows any further. Read my post below-- we both share 1962s!

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    2. another 1962 er here that is def. unflipping our house-we'll likely never get the $ back, but who cares, it looks and feels great!

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    3. I seriously think that would be a really great show and many people would watch it. LOVE IT! "Unflip This House". If I had the capital, I'd do it.

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    4. Anytime I see the word "updated" in the real estate verbiage for a vintage home, I automatically substitute the adjective "ruined" in my mind.

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  9. Wait a minute-- did I write this article? I live in a Los Angeles tract from 1962, where great floor plans were built with charming exteriors. Unfortunately, our wonderful brothers from the south of Russia have descended upon our little neighborhood, invoking most of the above DON'Ts. It is indeed revolting to see these adorable homes get The Treatment as these people view Saddam Hussein as an interior designer. I hope I live to see the day when they once again find loving owners who give D. The destruction is truly sickening.

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  10. One no-no you should have added-- the 150 watt CLEAR BULBS inside the polished BRASS carriage lights on BRICK COLUMNS popping up on border walls along the front of the yard and driveway. Those same hideous clear bulbs are typically sucking out guests' eyes in a carriage light next to the front door.

    And we also love single rows of criss-crossing brick the homeowner recessed into his concrete driveway. Or for extra credit, replacing the original driveway with concrete multi-color pavers. Never cracks you know!

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  11. Who would want to ruin such a nice home design? Whatever you put in your home must be appropriate in it so you would always want to see them whenever you go home. Also, you must choose materials and furniture that are of high-quality so they won't be damaged easily. roller shutters perth

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  12. Maybe this comment should be saved for a less rabid MCM site, but I think all of the items on the above list are a mistake--for ANY style of home! Each homeowner needs to balance their love for their home with the demands of its history and the demands of their pocketbook. I am considering the purchase of a 1965 home that has most of its character intact, but it doesn't have all the earmarks of MCM. My tentative plan is to preserve the lovely things that do remain--the footprint, the floor plan and the beautiful honey-brown hardwood floors--and gently and thoughtfully coax away the things that were a mistake--the bright red paint on the exterior, the too-narrow entry steps, etc. I think that MCM is a very good mix with clean contemporary and results in a bright, crisp living space with personality. I think that slavish adherence to ANY style is a mistake in general, and slavish adherence to MCM in particular results in a sad, dark museum piece. Don't want to live in one of THOSE! Thoughtful, educated, caring work on any home is a homeowner's right and the home's good fortune. I'm sure that the rabid MCM proponents on this site will come crashing down on my opinions, especially the ones who are all bluster and no action. Many probably don't own an MCM gem or have even ever really seen one close up. Crash away. To those who love their homes and want to make them suit their familes and their lifestyles, who don't want to live in sad museums, and who love the style and personality of the mid century era but don't feel that good ideas stopped there, here is my encouraging word.

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  13. I would venture to guess that 98% of what you see above wouldn't fall in the category of "good ideas" when applied to a MCM home. I also take issue with the idea that the home becomes a "sad, dark museum piece", I would argue that based on my house and those that I have seen restored they become anything but a "sad, dark museum piece". They are often times flooded with light, are allowed to breathe, are simplified and become more spacious. All the opposite of sad and dark.

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  14. As I said, none of the items on the above list should be applied to ANY home. They are not what I referred to when I mentioned subsequent good ideas. As for the sad, dark museum pieces, eye of the beholder is all I want to say.

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  15. I think that you should always maintain the cleanliness of your fireplace especially if you regularly use it.
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  16. Great write-up, I'll definitely share this with my engineer friends. I'm pretty sure that they'll love this.

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  17. Great list! We have stayed 99% true to our MCM Streng home, but had to break rule #6. With two kids under the age of 3, our single-pane, non-tempered floor-to-ceiling windows were a horror movie scene waiting to happen. (I actually watched a kid run through one of these when I was little and I guess I'm a little traumatized!) We found the slimmest double-pane design available and requested the windows be installed INSIDE the old aluminum frame - an option not many people know about, which eliminates the need for a thick outer molding. The week after they were installed, a friend's son ran full steam straight into the window, bounced off, landed on his back and was fine. Does the designer in me wish I had the original windows? Yes. But every other part of me is glad we switched them.

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  18. You can know the 100 ways to screw your mid century modern home.

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  19. LuluRoo...

    I'm considering replacing/upgrading the aluminum frames to aluminum double pane for just the kids bedrooms. What brand did you go with?

    We kept our giant single pane glass and had 3M safety film installed to keep it together should it break. (Also had a friend's kid run smack in to it only to walk away pretending he did it on purpose... awe...)

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  20. HAHAHAHAHA! You have nailed every one of my pet peeves. I think. Maybe I have some that aren't on the list. Absolutely brilliant collection of things that morons do to ruin MCM homes. We are just buying one that have wood cathedral ceilings that someone had painted white. I found you list by searching for info on the difficulty of stripping the soaring ceilings of a Mid Century Modern home. I am pinning this list immediately.

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  21. Well done! This is an amazing list.

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  22. This little cheapie '50's house with flat roof (little pitch) with overhang (tilting up) at frt door (3 lites) which I tossed; put in 6-lite replacement windows (I remember the '50's) so wanted to forget it (now I want to replace the 3 lite door (nostalgia) but can't afford new windows. I know you are puritans; I respect you and your houses,but will the door & wndows work?what else can I do (maybe hang a lite at frt dr) pls stop laughing. geri

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  23. Very nicely written post it contains useful information for me.Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept. Thank you for the post.

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  24. Will in Durham NCApril 18, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Why can't you do double-hung windows with no grid lines? How is that so much different than casement or awning windows? I'm seriously asking.

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  26. Our 1964 raised ranch is probably ranch style rather than a true ranch, and it had so many pedestrian elements that it drove me crazy. It was built with both double hung and awning windows, so I can't see how replacing the hideous awning windows with double hung was such a travesty. Yes, they're vinyl, because that's what we could afford. All the wonderful vintage (green) tile was literally falling off the walls in the bathroom, along with numerous other problems, so we gutted the bathroom and put in one that we love, visitors love, and people say is not out of character with the house. We're currently remodeling the kitchen and replacing that terrific old 8" linoleum (brown--so attractive) with a hardwood floor. And (gasp!) I'm putting in shaker style cabinets, simple, clean-lined carrera marble counters, subway tile, and a French stove (Lacanche). We're turning the living room into a dining room (wide doorway to the kitchen), removed back-to-back closets that forced traffic flow through the kitchen to get to the den in back, and are expanding the den to become our new living room. (The house had no dining room, and frankly it's not much fun trying to squeeze a dining table into the living room so you can have dinner parties.) We are making the house more livable and suited to us, and to heck with the resale value--we plan to stay until we're carried out.

    A lot of the items on the list simply represent execrable taste, which there is plenty of in home decorating, but you can't blame people for not wanting to live in a period cave.

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  33. My 1956 "box" is no great example of mid-century architecture or design, nor are any of the light fixtures, doors, cabinet hardware etc.-- Just the generic stuff that did actually exist in the 50's. "Form follows function" and these old casement windows aren't functioning -- the replacements cost 5 times as much as dbl hung/sash types, so I'll go ahead and hold my nose while I carry on with the cheaper home improvements.

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  36. This list is spot on. An additional item: Absolutely NO CFL or LED light bulbs that give off that horrendous bluish white hue. It destroys all inviting warmth of what should be home.

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  50. I am so allergic to crown molding, but I would likely paint everything white and plant a plastic flamingo somewhere in the yard. I would also love to find someone who would sell ME their original mid-century furniture, lamps, etc.!

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