A 1960s midcentury modern home found abandoned, covered in kudzu vines and reduced to little more than a rusted skeleton has been renovated into a dramatic home with an eye-catching exterior spiral staircase. Tonic Design + Construction transformed the midcentury modern remains into a bright and open contemporary residence that retains the crisp simplicity of the original structure.
A couple discovered the bones of the home overlooking Crabtree Creek in Raleigh, North Carolina. While the house was in terrible shape, with rotted wood walls and floors, its potential was still evident in its steel frame. Those beams were painted white and filled with glass, wood, aluminum and rusted steel panels to create the new, modern 3500-square-foot home.
The steel frame remains the focus of the newly renovated home, the interior spaces built inside of it to enable the creation of exterior walkways and balconies. A steel and ipe wood bridge connects the driveway to the front door, just above a private walled garden.
A spiraling white exterior staircase breaks up the rectilinear geometry of the residence, leading from the second floor to a rooftop garden envisioned by owner Molly Chiles as a large-scale “table not op of the house” for hosting social events.
The hillside location combined with indoor/outdoor spaces and lots of glass gives the bright interiors a sense of connection to the woods outside.
More from the architects
“The modern 3500-square-foot house was designed and built for art collectors John and Molly Chiles. It was constructed on the bones of an old modern, steel-framed and wood-paneled house overlooking Crabtree Creek in Raleigh, NC, that was abandoned in the 1960s.The original house was in terrible shape: Its wood walls and floors, camouflaged by kudzu and ivy, had rotted. Yet the bones were still strong in concept, and the couple saw through the clutter. They were confidant that the neglected remains could form the basis for a dramatic new house that would pay homage to mid-20th century modern design.”
“In form and plan, the new house provides both open perches and quiet retreats on its wooded hill site. Rusted steel panels, white painted steel beams, wood, aluminum, and glass frame views of the landscape and the clients’ extensive art collection. The main level’s modern, open floor plan creates loft-like spaces in which low walls, area rugs, and mid-century modern furnishings loosely define boundaries between living room, dining room, office, kitchen, and breakfast area. “