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What Happens After the Master Plan?

21 min read We created the Mid-Century Master Plan Package to get you from “I want to remodel” to “let’s call up contractors.” But what if you have a question after the master plan? Here’s how that works.

Our mid-century Master Plan package helps you bridge that crucial gap between, “hey, I think I want to remodel, what do I do next?” and confident calls to contractors to get quotes and start scheduling.

Our master plan process includes a clear scope of work for a fixed fee, so you don’t have to worry about hidden costs or how many hours it takes or what you’ll get out of it. 

In a lot of cases, a master plan is all that’s needed to connect with a competent contractor, share your vision and make your remodel happen. But sometimes, folks need a little something more.

If you think a master plan is for you, the first step is to reach out to us!  We have form on our website with a few short questions about your project and what kind of design help you need. Once we get your form, we’ll meet for a quick chat about your project to make sure we’re a fit.

Then we dig right in! 

First: What’s in a Mid-Century Master Plan Package?

Did you ever wonder how it works? Our Mid-Century Master Plan package take you through an entire schematic design process step by step. Explore your options and Clarify your vision. And it all comes for a fixed fee so you know exactly what you’re getting into from the start.

Here’s how it works.

Your design “homework” …. the pre-Design Details

The process starts with a little homework for you. Don’t worry! We provide easy to follow forms and coach you through gathering all the information we’ll need about your house. 

You can tell us what matters most to you about the way you want to live in your house. Share your ideal home!

We need documentation of what’s going on with your house now – plans, photos and other background info about our jumping off point.

And we establish YOUR mid-century style.

Mid-Century Solutions galore

Next, we take the reigns. We come up with multiple options for each part of the house that you have said is important to you.

Our design team spends time designing solutions for your social spaces, your private spaces (like an owner’s suite)and any other areas you identified as priorities.

We think about how your bedrooms and bathrooms flow together, how social spaces seem separate or connected, how a basement den might flow up and connect to the upper house or out into the yard if it’s a daylight basement. And definitely how the spaces around the house, your outdoor rooms connect to the inside spaces for that great mid-century modern flow between inside and out!

We present our ideas about what’s possible for your home to you in what we call a Mid-Century Solutions Package, filled with multiples of three options for all of those different spaces.

Plus, we assemble a Style Guide for you – sharing examples design ideas for different areas and the materials you might choose for your house. 

Pull it all together into an easy to share document!

Then, we meet again to figure out which of the multiples of three options work best for you. Finally, we pull together a set of schematic drawings, which includes perspective sketches and plans that you can use to visualize and demonstrate what you want to do in your house to the contractors who will help you make it all happen.

For many of our Mid-Century Masterplan clients … this package is exactly what they need. They are ready to get down to great DIY or find just the right contractor to make their dreams come true.

But what if you need more help after the Master Plan stage?

What if you start your kitchen renovation and your contractor can’t quite “see” how the skylight fits in or which shade of stain for the new vaulted, wood ceiling will work with the cabinets? That is where additional services come in!

What happens after the master plan?

Once we’ve completed the fixed-fee Master Plan service, we’re still available to help by creating sketches, answering the this or that questions that come up and/or exploring additional design areas for an hourly fee.  

There are a few recent projects that are great examples of the variety of ways we support clients beyond the master plan.

Details for a Design build Team!

The first project was a whole house renovation of a solid, creatively built, generously sized ranch house with three bedrooms, an existing modest owner suite and a daylight walkout basement on a beautiful property. This client opted to access additional services on an hourly basis, as needed. As their remodel has progress over the course of the last year, we’ve helped them a great deal in a bunch of different ways – visualization, additional sketches, consults on finishes.

A few After the Master Plan questions we answered:

  • Bigger questions like how to detail the railing and structure of their new deck so it felt more mid-century than a classic sort of Home Depot special Midwestern standard.
  • We also helped them decide how much of the basement wall paneling to preserve and how much to remove as we installed as they installed the new built in bar in the basement.
  • We did a whole bunch of this-versus-that questions regarding tile selection, stain color choices, and individual products like light fixtures, just to help the homeowner narrow down their decisions, weigh pros and cons of one versus another.

Taking the project in phases

Another client – with a lovely house just outside of Madison here in Wisconsin. that had once belonged to a local doctor and was built with every fine feature that was available in the early 1960s, if your tastes still ran a little traditional – has come back a few times, with slightly different ongoing design needs.

They’ve been tackling their house in phases. Their kitchen is done and they’re currently underway on an amazing project in their living room where…guess what! They are elevating the living room ceiling, up closer to match the roofline and adding in some skylights.

For these clients, additional services included:

  • Detailed drawings to show how they can convert the unnecessarily large front entry closet into a simpler, slightly more shallow bench and peg coat hook area more practical for the homeowners coming home and hanging up their own things. The backside of it could be stolen to create a recessed niche to put a TV out of a prominent space on the living room side. This is such a fun way to help a simple space do double duty, but it was a little hard to visualize when I simply described it. So we were able to throw together another sketch and demonstrate exactly what I meant for them and for the builder.
  • Last year, we came back and actually did a mini Master Plan approach to the last area of their house, one that they hadn’t been ready to think about when we did their original master plan. We took our classic Master Plan approach and created three schemes to transform an overly large and poorly organized owner’s suite into a more comfortable space with lots of functional storage.

Supplier Question Follow up details

Just last week we had another client ask for help on an exterior project. They have a super solid mid-century brick home with dramatically shaped high window openings. So far, so good. We basically proposed no changes to the shape during the master plan process.

Now they’re in the works on their window replacement project. They told us the company they’re working with and the line they’re looking at, and then they asked if we had any extra insight. I love this kind of question! It gives me a chance to pontificate in a helpful manner.

I reminded them of course, that they don’t have to replace their windows just in case they were looking for an out. Then I provided some guidance on material options, then I shared some of my thoughts on the best size and shape for replacement windows. I also provided some of my favorite finish recommendations for a home like theirs. Black if you want to ride the edge of the current trend or a metallic bronze or brown. Either is going to look super snazzy with this home’s existing cream brick!

I really enjoy these ongoing contacts with our master plan clients, but some of our clients don’t feel like this level of support is necessary. Or they are on an extended timeline without a specific sense of when they might need more from us…but they still want support and some way to get once-in-a-while questions answered. These folks are a great fit for our Ready to Remodel program! They enroll at a discount and get ongoing support from our homeowner community, all the tools and guides in the course and a monthly opportunity to ask any questions that come up in their remodeling process. 

In Today’s Episode You’ll Hear:

  • What it’s like to work with us through our master plan process. 
  • How Mid Mod Midwest can support you post-master plan as your remodel progresses. 
  • Why Ready to Remodel is sometimes a great fit…even if we’ve created your master plan. 

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Read the Full Episode Transcript

We’ve created our mid-century Master Plan package with care to help you bridge that crucial gap between, hey, I think I want to remodel, what do I do next, and confidently calling up contractors to get quotes and start scheduling. We have a clear scope of design work for a fixed fee, so that you know upfront, you don’t have to worry about hidden costs, how many hours it takes, or what you’ll get out of it. In a lot of cases, that’s all that’s needed to connect with a competent contractor share your vision and make it happen.

But what happens when you need a little more support after the master plan? This week, last week and next week are all about the kinds of questions that I as an architect regularly answer. So today, how we follow up with some of our past Master Plan clients to make sure they’ve got all their outstanding issues addressed is our topic. What comes up as our clients go from master plan to construction process?

Hey there, welcome back to mid mod remodel. This is the show about updating MCM homes, helping you match a mid-century home to your modern life. I’m your host Della Hansmann architect and mid-century ranch enthusiast, you’re listening to Episode 1207.

Before we get into the follow up questions, I’ve answered for some of our after the master plan clients, the sequels to a master plan, if you will, let’s talk about the prequel. In other words, what are the pressing questions on your mind right now?

If you’ve ever wished you could just ask an architect a question about your home now is your time. Go to the link in the show notes page and submit your question by the end of Sunday May 7 So I can answer it on next week’s Ask Me Anything episode. You’ll find the Ask Me Anything question form as well as show notes with links to the references I make and a transcript of today’s episode on my website at mid mod dash midwest.com/ 1207.

If you listen to the episode today and you find yourself just wanting to get started on a whole mid-century master plan of your own, then the easiest way to make that happen is to schedule a one to one chat with me on Zoom. You can reach out to us by answering a few short questions about your project and what kind of design help you need at midmod-midwest.com/services. Seriously, it’s actually pretty easy to get me on a zoom that way.

If you’re one of those, I need to know exactly what I’ll be asked before I click on the Apply to work with us button. Well, then here’s what I’ll ask your name, your partner’s name, if you’ve got one, your email, your address, so we can pick at your house on Zillow. Who will be the point person for your decisions, how you heard about us what kind of help you’re looking for. And if that question freaks you out, one of the answers is not sure. So far, so good.

Then we want to know a little about your house. What do you know about its history, when it was built? And what’s been changed or updated about it since the original owner? What are you looking to change about your home right now? And what mid-century elements are you most fired up about or excited to add to or improve on?

We want to know if you’ve remodeled before and if you’ve worked with an architect before, because that changes the nature of our chat. And when you hope to build your timeline, your general budget again, this is not a quiz. It’s a question and your tradeoffs between timeline budget and scope. So we know what’s most important to you. What questions do you have for us about the process of working with mid Midwest? This is not a test; you will not be graded on your answers.

So it feels like you actually know what you’d say and respond to those questions. You know, when your house was built, you know what you love about it? You know what you’d like to change? And you need some help? Well fill in the form. And let’s chat about it. This has been questions I’ll ask you if you want to get me on Zoom. Let’s turn the mic back around and focus on the questions I regularly answer after the master plan for my clients.

So the questions I tend to answer after the Master Plan run the gamut from a simple, “I can’t decide between two light fixtures” to mediating a quick disagreement or concern between two halves of a couple. Answering a question that was posed by a contractor through the client or taking on additional scopes of work that hadn’t been considered as part of the original design brief because something came up in demolition that we didn’t discover, or the homeowners decided to tackle an area of the house that hadn’t been as important to them the first assessment.

Before we get into that, here’s what’s contained within a master plan. What you do before we do a master plan is some design thinking and we walk you through every step of this process. Basically, we want to do your dream, discover and distill phases of the master plan method. We want you to dream and we’ll give you some design homework to ask you: What’s most important to you? What’s the kind of life you hope to live in your house? And is it working for you or not working for you? In what ways?

Then we’ll know a little bit about the house. So we’ll want to know its basic dimensions so we can draw a floor plans. And we’ll want to know what it looks like. So we can imagine being there. Even if we never make a trip to your house in some faraway part of the country, not in the Midwest. We have a simple process for documenting houses that we walk you through remotely.

And we want to know what’s your mid-century style? If you don’t know the answer that question well, then you should go take the style quiz at mid mod dash midwest.com/style quiz right now. No, seriously, go do that right now.

Okay, so that’s what you do. What we do then is meet with you to get a little more information even than I’ve just discovered, and then brainstorm. We come up with multiple options for each part of the house that’s important to you. Thinking about solutions for your social spaces, your private spaces like an Owner’s Suite, or how your kids’ bedrooms and bathrooms flow together, and seem separate or connected to yours. How a basement den might flow up and connect to the upper house or out into the yard if it’s a daylight basement. And definitely how the spaces around the house, your outdoor rooms connect to the inside spaces for that great Mid Century Modern flow between inside and out.

We put together what we call a mid-century solutions package, filled with multiples of three options for all of those different spaces. And we assemble a style guide for you. To get you the examples for design ideas for different areas, and the materiality that you might personally choose and develop for your house. We meet again to figure out which of the multiples of three options work best for you, and pull together a set of final schematic drawings, which have perspective sketches, and plans that you can use to visualize and demonstrate what you want to do in your house to the contractors who will be part of your team to make it happen.

This process is so helpful to anyone who wants to make sure they keep the midcentury style alive in their house. And to really fast track the remodel design process. The benefit is that you get our input our insight into everything that’s going on in the house. And also you get the process of going from dream what you wish the house could be to practicality as quickly as possible, following the steps of the master plan method.

So there is a place at which the Master Plan stops, we have to have a boundary because we charge a fixed fee for it. We can’t just charge you a fixed amount of money and then work on house forever. So once we come up with our three plans, and we’ve pulled them together into a final version, some clients don’t need anything else. Others choose to just enroll into the ready to remodel system. They can get ongoing support from the community and for me, and some of our clients come back to us after the master plan to ask for a little bit of additional design services.

I think the easiest way to explain that is to talk about a couple of recent projects where we’ve done that. Here’s one that forms a great example because we help them a great deal in a bunch of different ways over the course of the last year. The master plan originally was for a couple relocating from California back to Central Indiana to be close to extended family. They found a solid, and for its time, creatively built generously sized ranch house with three bedrooms, an existing modest owner suite and a daylight walkout basement on a beautiful property.

But the layout was very vintage 1950s with a cut off kitchen. The house felt dark all day despite its beautiful surroundings. And this couple dreamed of bringing their California modernism back to a modest Midwestern ranch. They contacted me because they’ve been able to find a very talented and qualified building team in Indiana that consider themselves a design build firm but had no experience with or knowledge of mid-century design.

So we provided them with our classic Master Plan package multiple options to modify the layout and better connections to the beautiful outdoor spaces plus the mid-century details to give the entire house a complete style overhaul. Now we were taking on a journey from mid-century vintage time capsule to a home suited for someone with a mid-mod fusion or even a modern mid-century taste. And at the end after the master plan package was completed, the local build team started to do their lovely job of pulling together all the details and putting our plan into action.

They also had follow up questions. So both the owner and the owner via their contractor got in the habit of reaching out once or twice a month, sometimes multiple times a week with follow up questions often prompted by the questions that came from the builder.

Here are some of the things we helped them out with. Bigger questions like how to detail the railing and structure of their new deck so it felt more midcentury than a classic sort of Home Depot special Midwestern standard. Provided additional sketches and answered some questions for them verbally and provided them with other photo examples so they could share with their builder it should look like this, not this. Offered guidance on the type of wood they were going to use and the style of the railing for both code safety and mid-century style.

We also helped them decide how much of the basement wall paneling to preserve and how much to remove as we installed as they installed the new built in bar in the basement. By the way, the detailing of this building by the local team is stunning. We’ll have photos up eventually. But we’ve been getting to peek into it ourselves as the design team. We stay up with their photos. And it’s just been an absolute delight.

But we wanted to think about do we want the room to feel entirely wood with the wood built-ins and the wood wall? How would the two spaces work together and would the original knotty pine siding feel natural with a slightly more sleek grain of walnut cabinets? And the end we decided after several visualizations we did sketches with Photoshop materiality applied to them that they would actually have the original paneling end and then a drywall back at the area of the new built-ins.

We did a whole bunch of this-versus-that questions regarding tile selection, stain color choices, and individual products like light fixtures, just to help the homeowner narrow down their decisions, weigh pros and cons of one versus another. I love answering these questions. And it’s a fun chance to get into peek into how their process is coming along.

Now, some customers come up organically once demolition has begun. Once you really start to know what’s behind the walls, where there’s masonry for chimney, for example, or where it’s just a box style built in, it’s possible to come up with some really creative new design solutions. But we can’t know that until we’ve gotten into the construction process.

In this house, we had proposed raising the ceiling in the living areas from the existing flat ceiling at eight feet to something a little closer to the existing 4/12 exterior roofline. This is such an exciting change. And in this the kitchen, the living area, the dining room, a sort of an L shaped space with an elevated ceiling were an L around a little block of an office also having an elevated ceiling that was separated off. So the walls between the kitchen and the office between the living room and the office both had the potential to be extended up.

And to get some new interior clerestory windows to share the light from the skylights in the living room. We played with some sketch options for this after the Master Plan process. And we did design work to detail the perfect combination of an expanded beautiful modern fireplace and how the windows above it would relate to it in a design sense. I’ll put some sketches that we had originally shared with them onto the blog post for this. So check out the show notes page if you want to see the development of that space over time, based on our suggestions and the excellent work of the local Build Team.

Now this project is coming close to being wrapped up. And I’m torn between being so excited to see the final effect and a little bit sorry to have an end to our ongoing process of design questions that kept coming up after the master plan so that these homeowners could feel totally confident, and so their build team could get every detail right.

Another project where we provided some ongoing support is a lovely house just outside of Madison here in Wisconsin. This home had once belonged to a local doctor and was built with every fine feature that was available in the early 1960s, if your tastes still ran a little traditional. The new homeowners even got access to the floor plans and the spec book with all the original receipts for the built ins and cabinetry and plumbing in the original home. So much fun.

There’s a lot to love about this house. But it had some layout challenges. It wasn’t working perfectly for the new homeowners who wanted to update some things particularly around the isolation of the kitchen as a space just for mom to go prepare food and bring it out. Of course, like almost every other modern family, they wanted to have a little bit more of an integrated Island based kitchen space. So we worked out a bunch of options during the Master Plan process to make that happen, and a few other tweaks to help it fit their growing family.

This project was actually one of my very first master plan projects and it’s still one of my favorites. I helped them to imagine better ways to connect their multiple level walkout house to the backyard, opening up an enclosed glass porch to the living room on one level and then creating a pergola sheltered patio off the main level. Then, we worked out modifications for the kitchen, of course, and also thought about how they could update the entire exterior of the house.

So over the years since we did their master plan, after the master plan, they’ve been tackling their house in phases, and they’ve done the kitchen. They’re currently underway on an amazing project in their living room where guess what they are elevating the living room ceiling, up closer to match the roofline and adding in some skylights.

I’m mentioning this in two separate projects because this is one of my favorite details to suggest wherever possible, and it is uniquely more likely to be possible for a mid-century house, then for a home built either earlier or later. Due to the building structure that most common mid-century ranch houses have that rafter framed attic and to the simple footprint of a mid-century ranch. homes that were built much earlier had more complicated construction systems with projecting roofs, eyebrow dormers, little wings sticking off and second floors. Sometimes the attics were already in use or storage spaces. houses built later. Even a totally mid-century looking ranch that was built in the 70s or in the 80s is more likely to have its attic or its roof crammed with pre-manufactured trusses. Those are much harder to modify.

But if you have a rafter framed attic and a classic mid-century ranch roofline, you can often have the ceiling elevated totally, or at least part of the way for relatively simple construction difficulty. So I’ve kept in touch with this family as they’ve gone through their phase by phase process of remodeling, and I’ve helped them out at several points with little parcels of additional design work.

We did some detailed drawings to show how they can convert the unnecessarily large front entry closet, which had been a large coat closet with a lot of hanger space into a simpler, slightly more shallow bench and peg coat hook area more practical for the homeowners coming home and hanging up their own things. And then the backside of it could be stolen to create a recessed niche to put a TV out of a prominent space on the living room side. This is such a fun way to help a simple space do double duty. But it was a little hard to visualize when I simply described them when they told me about this space. So we were able to throw together another sketch and demonstrate exactly what they meant. So that was illustrated for them and for the builder.

Last year, we came back and actually did a mini Master Plan approach to the last area of their house, one that they hadn’t been ready to think about when we did their original master plan. We took our classic Master Plan approach and created three schemes for how they could reconfigure their bedroom, which did have an owner suite, but was arranged with way too much open space, and too many sort of dressing room table style counters, which only serve to attract laundry and clutter.

And instead to create a tucked away storage oasis where their extra objects and their laundry will be totally out of sight of their sleeping area. I love keeping in touch with this client. And they actually sometimes just send me Instagram DMS with photos or with really small questions that are on their mind. But more often than not, these things get answered with a sketch sometimes are after the master plan support is as simple as a few emails sent back and forth.

Just this week, I was in and out of my inbox for a client who has got a lovely project underway.

They’re in the process of having their exterior windows replaced. Now they have a super solid mid-century brick home with dramatically shaped high window openings. So far, so good. We basically proposed no changes to the shape.

But the existing windows are aluminum single paint, and they open in small openings, almost like a jealousy or a Florida room window. And for safety’s sake, at least the bedrooms need larger windows that can provide a means of egress. That’s an architecture term for a way to get out of your bedroom window at night in case of a fire. And an egress window is much more often a casement that’s the kind that swings open like the pages of a book, rather than an awning. That’s the kind that flips up like a doggie door.

So they emailed us to know that they’re in the works on their window replacement project. They told us the company they’re working with Marvin and the line they’re looking at, and then they asked if we had any extra insight. I love this kind of question. It gives me a chance to pontificate in a helpful manner. I reminded them of course, that they don’t have to replace their windows just in case they were looking for an out.

One thing you can do if you have – especially if you have poorly insulated but not air leaky original windows – is just beef up the insulation of your curtains, but they confirmed that they were looking to replace. So then I shared some of my thoughts on the best size and shape for replacement windows. That I don’t recommend any of those silly faux divider elements that some window companies put inside the glass. Don’t get me started on those. They are unsuitable for any type of house, but particularly a mid-century home. And my favorite permanent choices about a window.

Why I recommend a dark metal clad finish for the exterior or fiberglass, if that’s the line you’re looking at. Black if you want to ride the edge of the current trend or a metallic bronze or brown. Aged bronze is on often the name for that product, if you’re looking for a more timeless choice. Either is going to look super snazzy with this home’s existing cream brick.

As always, when I answer a few follow up questions, I put my hands together and ask pretty pleased for some follow up photos. We don’t have the luxury of doing a drive by or overseeing construction directly for these projects that are further away than the Midwest. So my whole team and I live for progress photos from the client.

Oh, and of course sometimes after the master plan, we enroll our clients into the ready to remodel program not because they need the core modules where I teach you how to make a master plan for your own home. But because they love having a community of other midcentury remodels around them saving wins and struggles sharing what’s going on in their mind that mid mod Mod Squad energy, you know, and because they want the ongoing chance to see me on Zoom once a month and ask me whatever’s on their mind. It’s always a lot of fun.

If you want to know more about what goes on at our office hours calls, well check out the office hours calls episode. It was last week. Remember, if you’re curious about what it’s like to have mid mod Midwest put together a master plan for you. And then follow up to get all your mid mod and your mid remodel questions answered. Let’s get the ball rolling right away, head over to mid mod midwest.com/services and click work with us to learn all about our master plans and to fill in that chatty easy form so we can schedule a time to meet on Zoom and discuss your big vision for your mid-century home and how to make it happen.

Or if you want to start a little smaller than an entire master plan, next week’s show is your chance to ask me anything podcast listener. What are your burning mid mod remodel questions? Head over to the link in the show notes at midmod-midwest.com/ 1207 to submit your question and we’ll throw it in the hopper for next week. Don’t forget to send it in by the end of Sunday evening, so I’ve got come time to prep the show. I’ll see you next week at the asking anything episode.