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A midcentury modern in Falls Church is updated for today’s living

The 1960 midcentury modern house, originally designed by Andre Bodor, has been renovated by Cook Architecture. A 27-foot wall of glass along the back of the house overlooks a stream that runs behind the property. (John Cole)
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Michael Cook of Cook Architecture specializes in bringing midcentury modern homes such as this 1960 house in the Falls Church area of Fairfax County, Va., into the 21st century.

“We sort of straddle this line between historic preservation and historic rejuvenation,” Cook said. “A true architectural historian and preservationist would say that it’s not preservation. … But I don’t have that much of a problem in modifying [these houses] just because, in the end, they were sort of tract houses. Our role is to go in and make them fit today’s needs, or they’re going to get knocked down.”

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Falls Church, Va., midcentury modern | The 1960 midcentury modern house, originally designed by Andre Bodor, has been renovated by Cook Architecture. It is listed at $949,000. (John Cole)

Cook says that before he bought the house, the neighbors were planning to pool their money and buy it to prevent a developer from razing it and building a house not in keeping with the neighborhood’s character.

The house is one of 11 on the cul-de-sac between Holmes Run Acres and Raymondale. The houses form a neighborhood known officially as Bodor’s Addition to Raymondale. They were built by Andre Bodor. Born in Senyo, Hungary, Bodor immigrated to the United States in 1939. He fought with the U.S. Army during World War II and worked as a general contractor in Virginia from 1954 until he retired in 1985.

Bodor was the last developer of Holmes Run Acres, building about 17 houses in that neighborhood. The Bodor-designed houses were similar in style to the others in Holmes Run Acres but tended to be larger and built with higher-quality materials. He carried that design style — a modern take on the California ranch house — into this neighborhood, where he built a house for himself across the street from this one.

Cook used a light touch to preserve much of Bodor’s design, which in this house is a mash-up of post-and-beam and California ranch.

“My feeling with this house is that it’s a little bit homespun,” Cook said. “To me, it’s just an overload of materials and patterns and design.”

The original interior was a melange of woods, with mahogany paneling on the walls hung vertically and horizontally in the same room, white oak on the floors and Douglas fir beams and planks on the ceiling. Cook kept all the different woods but pared them back. That way they shine without being overwhelming. Some of the mahogany he removed was used to wrap the kitchen island, making it feel more connected to the space.

The biggest changes were moving the kitchen to the former screened porch and splitting a Jack-and-Jill bathroom into two separate bathrooms — an arrangement that makes more sense for today’s living.

Cook preserved some of Bodor’s quirky design features, such as transom pegboard lights but made them more up-to-date by replacing the fluorescent lights with dimmable LED bulbs. He added his own touches such as the German-designed Poggenpohl cabinetry in the kitchen and Heath tiles in the bathrooms.

The house’s connection to Holmes Run Creek, which runs behind the property, is one of its best features. A 27-foot-long expanse of windows along the back of the house provides an ever-changing vista.

“You have this amazing view, especially in the winter,” Cook said. “I really feel this has a California feel, which has a lot to do with light, the way the light comes into the building, how you notice light throughout the day, how it moves through the building.”

The five-bedroom, three-bathroom, 2,700-square-foot house is listed at $949,000.

Listing: 3347 Sheffield Ct., Falls Church, Va.

Listing agent: Michael Shapiro, Compass

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