The search is on for an amazing contractor that will help you make your dream midcentury home a reality. So, where do you start? As owners of H3K Design, Kevin Kemper and Howard Hawkes have the knowledge and experience to share their insight on what to look for in a contractor. “We specialize in whole-house renovations for second homes and vacation homes, and we have a passion for Midcentury Modern design,” they say. “Part of our job is helping our clients find contractors that will work with us to build their dream homes.” Here, they share their top questions and considerations when hunting for a MCM contractor.
1. Check their MCM experience.
Contractors are used to tearing things down and working with a fresh start. To ensure that your contractor shares your desire to preserve MCM features when possible, it’s best if they have experience with period homes. “Renovating MCM homes is more about restoration and keeping and improving upon the things that are already there,” says Kevin and Howard. “If you want to keep things that are valuable, you need someone who is experienced, so they can think outside the box and come up with solutions for problems that may arise.”
This is also relevant to materials used. “Let them know the aesthetic is just as important as the function,” they say. “They may want to choose the path of least resistance and go with travertine tiles when you want cork or linoleum, or they’ll suggest cheap vinyl windows when you want aluminum. Decide what you want to do with your restoration and stay true to those roots.”
Times of Sandiego (timesofsandiego.com) recently highlighted one of our recent projects. Here's wht they had to say:
1. The Ultimate Getaway
BEFORE: Though the pool in this somewhat dilapidated 1958 property was in decent shape, it needed a few upgrades and some landscaping.
AFTER: This view showcases the quintessential Palm Springs retreat, from the flamboyant poolside umbrellas to the midcentury modern home projecting into the clear desert sky beneath towering palm trees. “We really tried to give off the sense that this was an ultimate Palm Springs getaway,” says Kevin Kemper, who renovated this home with Howard Hawkes, his design partner and co-owner of H3K Design.
The designers added a hot tub and waterfall feature. A new sun shelf at the pool’s far end enables guests to pull umbrellas and chairs into the water. Artificial turf breaks up the hardscape without requiring excessive water or maintenance to stay green. A new flush fire pit makes for an inviting amenity when the desert cools off at night, but it doesn’t get in the way when not in use. “You can put a bar over it during a party or a dining table — when the fire is off, of course,” Kemper says.
There's a home improvement project taking place on a midcentury modern dwelling every day: A Rummer in Southwest Portland's Garden Home neighborhood or Beaverton's Oak Hills. A ranch-style house in Hillsdale or another version of the low-profile, high-style design in Milwaukie or Lake Oswego.
But nowhere in the world is restoring midcentury architecture taking place on a grander scale than in the Southern California's Coachella Valley, inarguable the greatest depository of 1960s swank.
From October through mid-April, members of the Palm Springs Historical Society escort visitors on walking tours of "Mad Men"-era architecture.
Oregonians attending Palm Springs Modernism Week, Feb. 16-26, will be able to go inside some of the rehabbed homes once owned by celebrities, tennis pros and golfers.
A decade ago, Howard Hawkes and his partner Kevin Kemper combined their diverse backgrounds, expertise, and talents to launch H3K Design, a Palm Springs-based design consultation and project management firm. Ten years later, the duo are at the top of their game, offering everything from large-scale renovations to whole-house remodels to upscale residential and commercial clients. By offering high-caliber designs and prioritizing form, function, and style, Hawkes and Kemper deliver every time. Learn more about the designers in our Q&A below.
On Sunday night, Modernism Week will take center stage in Rancho Mirage for the Swan House — a roomy, newly remodeled Thunderbird Heights estate with mysterious provenance. The estate features clean lines and clerestory windows in the international style, and inside, it’s riddled with accent wallpaper and tile.
Just three years ago, however, appraisers suggested tearing it down.
“I really think we saved this house,” said Howard Hawkes, one of the co-owners of H3K Design, which bought the house out of foreclosure in 2012 and started restoring it this spring. “When we were getting our financing, one of the appraisers who came here told us that the house wasn’t worth saving... But we saw its potential.”
New York couple Kermit E. Ferrer and John A. Criscuolo were excited to bring their 1958 William Krisel-designed vacation home in Palm Springs, California, back to its midcentury roots while also infusing it with the charms of their other favorite vacation destination: Guatemala. Criscuolo, with family ties to the Central American country, and his partner tasked the designers at H3K Design to incorporate the colors, textures and spirit of Guatemala within the midcentury lines of this classic Palm Springs home.
A la pareja neoyorquina formada por Kermit Ferrer y John Criscuolo le fascinaba la idea de devolver su magnífica residencia de vacaciones, diseñada por William Krisel en 1958 y ubicada en Palm Strings (California), a sus orígenes de mediados del siglo XX. Asimismo, querían impregnarla del encanto que tiene su destino de vacaciones por excelencia: Guatemala. Kermit, cuyos vínculos familiares se extienden hasta América Central, y su pareja encomendaron a los diseñadores de H3K Design la tarea de inspirarse en los colores, las texturas y el espíritu de Guatemala para su reforma, manteniendo a su vez las líneas clásicas de esta residencia de verano.
Everyone within a 50-mile radius talks about — and strives for — indoor-outdoor living. But this 1958 home that underwent a deep, top-to-bottom renovation by H3K Design takes it to an awesome extreme.
Beyond the zero-level fire pit that welcomes a bar to slide over the top when not in use and the new track lighting tucked into the original tongue-and-groove ceiling, the home’s designers employed an irresistible decorating approach.
H3K got some outstanding attention from Housely.com recently. Here's what they had to say about our work:
"Have you ever seen a home design so fabulous that you wondered who did it and how? Probably. Sure, there are plenty of people who would love to redecorate and redesign their homes, but they often find themselves stuck deciding where to start and what to do. Like any other form of art, designing a home requires a lot of thought, attention to detail, time, and dedication. In fact, many people view their homes as canvases waiting to be touched. Even for people who are able to come up with lots of amazing ideas, it can still be difficult to put them into action. Also, in many cases, there are budget, space, and other constraints that keep people from bringing their ideas to life.