Steven updates his 1957 Alcoa Aluminum House

mid-century-modern-living-room

Steven, Michael and the little guy is Bobby.

Steven, Michael and the pup is Bobby.

Rochester Steven has completed some drop dead gorgeous updates to his 1957 Alcoa Aluminum house, and shares the details and images. This is the third story on these late-1950s “demonstration” houses. We first featured a time capsule for sale in Wisconsin. I think that’s how Steven found this blog, and we featured his house in New York state, along with the home’s original brochure, just a few weeks later. There were only 23 of these houses built — and Steven, Michael and Bobby are amazing caretakers. This house will knock you off your chair — it’s worthy of Architectural Digest.

Steven  writes:
Pam, There are three areas that we have addressed in the past several months:
1. Restored the house back to the original color of purple (the front anyway, have to work on the back next spring). It was painted brown some years ago, most likely due to the unsightly fading over the years of the purple that we have seen on a couple other Alcoa houses. We removed one of the aluminum panel pieces from the garage and retrieved the color from the un-weathered side of it.
restored-kitchen-area

2. Partially restored the kitchen. When the kitchen was gutted and remodeled years ago the upper metal cabinets were installed in the storage area of the garage. We had them painted the light blue that you see now at an auto shop and reinstalled them. I think that the Auto Body painting worked out great. Especially when it is metal. It was a bit of a pain to cart them all over there!!! Since we only had the original upper cabinets we went with some simple black faced cabinets to complete the lower ones with white Corian for for the counter.  We also reconfigured the layout of the kitchen to more reflect the original kitchen in the brochure. The bottom cabinets are made out of wood with black lacquer paint and aluminum pulls… they were purchased at IKEA and are quite inexpensive. The tiles are new tiles with a vintage feel and were purchased locally. We selected the color of both the back splash tiles and the cabinets so that they relate nicely to the multi-colored [“Mondrian”-style] cabinets [shown just below] that face the family room

mondrian-kitchen
(The “Mondrian” cabinets are original to the house. I believe that all of the Aloca houses that were built had these unless another option was specified. They are wood with Formica facing.)
purple-sofa-and-starburst-mirror
3. Family Room/lounge area has been furnished with many great finds from local shops and online. Still somewhat of a work in progress……….
dining room

We were able to see another Alcoa house that was located in Pittsburgh this fall when we went down to see Fallingwater. We got out of the car and were looking at it and the owner saw us, greeted us and invited us in for a tour, What a treat!!!!!! It was so interesting to see the subtle differences between our home and his.

Woah. Thank you, Steven. This is fantastic. Understatement. What a marvelous place you have created. And a purple house! Who woulda thunk it. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I am for sure coming to visit next summer. Perhaps you can adopt me.

Readers, to get to more of Steven’s photos, available on his flickr stream, click on any of the photos in this post.

Be-Safe-graphic2.3

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Comments

  1. Steven says

    Believe it or not but all of the windows are double pane!!!!! The overall utilities are not much more than the house that we moved from that is smaller and 30yrs newer. What helps is the way that the house was designed we seldom need to use the air conditioning.

  2. Alice says

    Steven, I never tire of looking at your photos for inspiration. What’s even better is that my husband, a slow to be MCM fan, likes your home too. In particular, he is coveting your Starburst Mirror. Is it vintage or is that something you found new?

  3. Steve says

    Hi Alice
    He has got a good eye liking 1 of the 2 items(pottery barn lamp on right) in that room that is not vintage……we found it online.

    Exposure to MCM will win him over eventually, some of our friends were reluctant at the start too. Michael and I often say when the time comes how will be able to live in a non MCM place 🙂

  4. Alice says

    Steven – the answer to my query cracked me up this morning!! I clearly have my work cut out for me with my husband/fellow MCM retrorenovator! Thanks for the time for the answer.

    Again, love you place and the excellent work and choices!

  5. alan says

    I love it ! I was born in ’64. And, I think this is about the style of that time. I want to build something like this on the mountain lot I bought last year. I am living on the other side of the globe, by the way!

  6. Joe Felice says

    What does “Mondrian” mean? Who would have thought PURPLE???? When I think ’50s, purple doesn’t come to mind, but it is beautiful. (Purple is actually my favorite color.) Here in the Denver area, it was quite common for people to have metal cabinets and appliances re-painted professionally by Denver Buick, in its body shop. It was actually a big part of the business, and they even picked up and delivered. I remember when the folks had our pink refigerator painted coppertone, and a friend had her pink refrigerator painted turquoise. And, in 1964, my parents bought a GE “Gold Medallion” home. I wonder how-many of those there were and where they are. Ours was actually the model that we bought from the builder, because my parents didn’t want to wait for one to be built, and I don’t recall whether he built any more in that subdivision or not.

    • pam kueber says

      Joe, Mondrian was an artist. Put the word into my Search box – before I started talking about them, I did a post…

  7. Charlene Kahn says

    I love seeing all that color!! Looks so liveable for today, too. If you haven’t contacted Atomic Ranch (magazine) yet, you should. This is the best example of mid-century — and fun — I’ve seen!

  8. Barb says

    I grew up in Brighton and remember the house when it was purple during my childhood. Every time we drove by my Mom would point out to me, “That house is made entirely of aluminum.” I am curious how you came up with the compass for the floor bathroom. Was that in the original who is it something you came up with? It’s very cool. Congratulations on all you efforts. It is looking quite handsome.

    • Steve says

      We have a friend who is an interior designer and he came up with the floor design and it was not original to the house….ends up being one of my favorites!!!!! Pam posted a story here at the site if you want to read more about it.

      Do you still live in Rochester?

      • Barb says

        Steve, I am coming back to Rochester for a 40th high school reunion in Fall 2014. I will be sure to drive by the house to see the purple that I remember so fondly from childhood. You have made some great improvements. Glad you liked Fallingwater. Did you get to Kentuck Knob too? I’ve been a member of the Frank Lloyd Wright Conservancy for at least 20 years.

  9. lynn Valentino says

    Hi I am dismantling my Alcoa home. Do you know anyone who may be interested exterior and interior walls,windows and kitchen. I live in North Eastern Ohio. I can also be reached on facebook.

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