Little fact about me: when I get interested in something, I get kind of obsessed. Since this move and remodel has completely taken over my life, I’ve been doing a deep dive into contemporary home design to learn as much as I can about the space that we’re going to call home for the next however many years.
It was exciting to learn about some of the hallmarks of the contemporary style, especially those built in the 60s and 70s when these homes were being produced in higher numbers. I’ve outlined some of these classic features below as well as pointing out which ones I’ve found in Myrtle herself.
A clerestory (pronounced “clear-story”) is a high wall with windows above eye-level, often placed in groups in order to maximize the admittance of natural light. Clerestory windows are seen in contemporary homes to strengthen the home’s connection with nature.
Myrtle has clerestory windows in the family room, breakfast room, and master suite. The house gets eastern exposure through these windows, so we’ll have morning light in the earlier hours and more diffuse light in the evening.
Use of irregular-shaped windows – especially trapezoids – in contemporary homes help accent the interesting architectural lines of the designs.
Myrtle features four trapezoid windows in the upper level of the breakfast area that can be seen from the upstairs open loft.
A major hallmark of contemporary design is the use of open floor plans with minimal walls and doors. Open riser stairs are also common.
Myrtle features open walkways, an open loft, and several two-story rooms. She also has open-riser stairs. During our renovation, we will be opening her up even more by removing the wall between the family room and the kitchen – something I’ve always wanted and the part of the remodel I’m most excited about.
Unique Roof Lines
Instead of the triangular roof lines seen on most other styles of homes, contemporary design features… everything else! Anything from varying roof levels, flat roofs, severely steeped roofs and overhangs can be found in this style of home.
One of my favorite parts of Myrtle’s asymmetrical roof is the massive section on the right side of the house that has the steepest pitch I’ve ever seen on a roof. This photo doesn’t really show it, but it’s enough to make you do a double take. Can’t wait to see how long the snow manages to hang onto that thing. There are two wing walls that support the lower edge of that part of the roof, creating a shaded overhang.
Bare, undressed windows and a lack of crown moulding or frilly decorative trims are other hallmarks of contemporary design.
Honestly, I’m jazzed that I don’t have to dress a million windows in this house. Save for repainting the trim white – I don’t care for the wood color – I’m leaving all of the windows bare, with the eventual addition of some unobtrusive solar shades during the more intense hours of the day (and for privacy).
I’ve already mentioned that harmony with nature is a big focus for contemporary style homes, and the use of natural or organic building materials – stone, wood, metal, concrete, and brick (yup, brick is natural) – is prominent. Use of these materials on the inside of the home – stone countertops, exposed beams, and use of brick, is also very common.
Myrtle’s exterior is a mixture of cedar siding and brick. The inside features solid wood doors, baseboards, trim, and railings with two exposed brick fireplaces. There are beautiful exposed wood beams in the ceilings throughout the house.
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