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.

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

(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.)
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.

CategoriesSteel kitchens
  1. Elaine says:

    Just beautiful. I can remember when they built and featured those Alcoa houses. I don’t think there was one here (Detroit), but our neighborhood got a compeititor, a steel house. When I was little, we went to the open house on it, and everything was steel. Stainless appliances and fixtures in the bathroom, too. I drive buy it often and it still looks solid, though the siding has all been covered and made to look like the neighboring houses. It isn’t in a great area and a lot of vacant lots are in there now.

  2. Steven says:

    Elaine….You do have one in Detroit!!!!!!! If you look at the sales brochure(page 15) that I have posted you will see a list of locations where the models were built. 30761 Northgate Drive, Detroit Mi.
    Here is a google map address, you can identify the house easily by the cut-outs in the the roof for the courtyard: http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=30761+northgate+drive+detroit+michigan&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=50.291089,78.837891&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=30761+Northgate+Dr,+Lathrup+Village,+Oakland,+Michigan+48076&ll=42.515741,-83.22842&spn=0.002883,0.004812&t=h&z=18

  3. Lynn says:

    Cool! I’ve driven by the one we have here in the Minneapolis area – I hope someone fixes it up as nicely as you’ve done with yours… Great job!

  4. Sabrina says:

    I LOVE your kitchen. I know now what I want for mine, too… such a great modern yet cheerful, fun look. The rest of your house is amazing, too. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Sabrina says:

    I was wondering too about your windows… I assume they are single paned aluminum. That’s what we have, in Berkeley, CA, and I cannot imagine having them in a place that gets as cold as Rochester! How do you keep your heating bills from getting astronomical?

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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 🙂

  9. 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!

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