1958 Home Gets a Modern Renovation

This is a home in North Vancouver that was originally built in 1958.  The owners, architect Jim Paul and landscape architect Nancy Paul, acquired the home and invested in a significant overhaul that salvaged or retained 75-80% of the original fabric and materials.  The result is a post and beam style, Pacific Northwest modern home that’s also a nice case study for renovating an aged structure.

First and foremost, the Pauls wanted the exposed post and beam look, but they didn’t necessarily want to use something precious or scarce like Douglas Fir.  With James Paul also acting as architect and builder, they used common spruce and pine where new framing material was added.

589 Lucerne Place was reconfigured to include two offices and bedrooms for a family of five.  The upper level is the “adult” zone with the offices, a master bedroom, family room and principal living spaces, while the lower level is the “kid” zone with three bedrooms, a bathroom, and a recreation/sun room.

In order to conserve energy, 589 Lucerne has increased envelope insulation, a high-efficiency gas furnace and water heater, low E window glazing, large windows and skylights for natural illumination, thoughtful overhangs, CFLs and LEDs, and lighting on dimmers and timers.  Natural gas usage related to space heating and hot water was reduced by 49%.

The remodeled wall has several layers for a total R value of 21.5, which exceeds code by 50%, according to James Paul.  Specifically, below the horizontal cedar siding, there’s vertical strapping, two layers of building paper, and 3/4″ polystyrene insulation that shrouds the existing cedar siding composed of building paper, fir sheathing, wood studs, and R14 mineral fiber insulation batts.

To facilitate groundwater recharge, hidden rain gutters direct water through gravel drainage swales that surround the home.  The entire renovation was completed in 2008 for about $125 per square foot Canadian.

Some of the specific products used include Velux skylights, Benjamin Moore Natura paint, Lennox HRV, Rheem hot water heater, Flextherm radiant heating, Roxul insulation, Dow extruded polystyrene, Lutron lighting controls, and DalTile flooring.

[+] More about this Lucerne Place case study at James Paul Architect.

Photo credits: James Paul.


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  • Charles Lee
  • http://www.MidCenturyModernPS.com Paul Kaplan

    I appreciate the remodel, but have to admit I’m a fan of Mid-Century design- and personally I appreciate the original facade better the new one.

  • http://profiles.google.com/msdarby Darby Strong

    I’m interested to better understand how the issue of (what seems like) very little, if any at all, ceiling/roof insulation was addressed. While tightening the walls is a great first step, doesn’t the lack of ceiling insulation merely create a funnel for conditioned air (specifically heated air in the Fall/Winter/Spring months) to ostensibly escape up through the roof?

    My husband and I live in a mid-century in outer Portland, OR, which was also built in 1958. It has the post and beam ceiling, with no room for insulation there. I love the look, but am riddled with answering the need for total envelope efficiency and would love more insight on this specific issue. Not to mention that ours is a single-level home – no basement, either, so all of the pipes and duct work is located in open-air/unconditioned “crawl” space underneath the house – accessed from the outside only, too.

    • http://www.jetsongreen.com Preston

      I’m not sure if this answers your question but the roof for this home is 26-gauge prefinished galvanized steel on roofing felt on polyiso insulation on 1×6 tongue and groove pine decking.

    • http://insituarchitecture.net Jeff Stern

      @ Darby – As Preston mentioned, it looks like they used polyisocyanurate rigid insulation on top of the decking to insulate the roof.  This is the typical solution with a post and beam ceiling.  You are correct; it’s very difficult to insulate these houses but it’s critical that it’s done thoroughly to really have an impact.  The insulation needs to be continuous and air sealing is just as important.

      • Hauslogic

        Rigid insulation over roof decking can be much more efficient than tradional insulation as you can eliminate thermal bridging

  • Dennis Duce

    Great case study in doing a remodel right. I grew up in North Van but my house was not this cool…or energy efficient.

  • dbull

    I like it, but an awful lot of glass to call it well insulated. 

  • Caroleor

    Gorgeous!

  • http://www.allied.edu/ College Degree Online

    Amazing from old design replace with new great architecture.

  • http://www.allied.edu/ College Degree Online

    Whew! Amazing remodel!

  • Mr Singh

    awesome job on ur home… gorgeous interior.. i love ur door bell :-) could you provide me some info on door bell.. where did u get it? thanx

  • Mr Singh

    awesome job on ur home… gorgeous interior.. i love ur door bell :-) could you provide me some info on door bell.. where did u get it? thanx

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