Looking for ideas...for our 'new' mid-century modern home.

kilcooJuly 7, 2012
We just purchased a 1960's architect designed river front mid-century modern bungalow with a walk out basement. It's a great solid home with little work done since it's initial construction. We are looking for all ideas people have to offer from flooring, window coverings, paint, fireplace and deck design.

The furniture in the home is not ours, it is the current owners. I have attached a current picture of our living room furniture that we will be using in this home.

Thank you for your ideas.
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What a great house! Thought this might inspire you, congratulations.
    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 9:57AM
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I'm assuming the last picture is your current home... It doesn't look like you need much advice. It looks great! Some thoughts- change the floor and keep it consistent throughout. Wood and cork are good options. Personally, I like the idea of large cork planks. Get rid of the wallpaper and paint - maybe grey with a couple of pops of colour with accent walls. Window coverings- simple linen panels on a wood or metal rod and maybe shades like you have in your current home if you need the privacy. You've done a great job in your current home- I'd use the same concept. The brick on the fireplace is consistent with the home, but I'd consider updating it like in your current home....maybe live with the brick after you've done everything else and see? I like the idea of large rectangular stone tile laid horizontally. There are lots of great fireplaces on Houzz.... I have an ideabook if you want to take a quick look. I like the deck, and again it's in keeping with the style. If you really wanted to change it, perhaps a two level deck, one for a dining area and one for a lounge/conversation area. I think you can achieve more interest outside with planting. Good luck!
1 Like    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 10:40AM
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Grass cloth would be nice if you have to have wallpaper.
    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 12:34PM
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Hi kilcoo, I would invest in replace all the flooring and handrail inside and outside the home. Otherwise the overall house looks great.

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3 Likes    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 12:56PM
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Hi Kilcoo, I completely agree with Dytecture's suggestions regarding the flooring and railings, these will both make a dramatic visual impact on the space, and enhance the mid-century modern look. When it comes to accent walls for the home you may want to consider some great retro wallpapers, here are a few I love:

http://www.bradbury.com/modernism.html, http://www.walnutwallpaper.com, http://www.grahambrown.com/us/wallpaper-style/retro-wallpaper.

As you know, your home has great potential, so I'm sure with the right selections you'll make the home look stunning. I wish you the very best with the remodel!

1 Like    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 5:33PM
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HI -- You are soooo Lucky ! Go to houseandhome.com and look at the feature home for this week . That is what I think you should do for your stair railings ( the tempered glass). I think walnut hardwood flooring for the living areas and a Terrazo tile for the entrance and baths and utilties areas. An other site for ideas is Seattlemodern.com . And I also like grass cloth wall paper but I like the way your former home is decorated. The colors are great.
    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 7:46PM
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Fantastic house! I have a very similar house in Vermont. On the east coast they are known as "Tech Houses" My advice is to keep it simple. Let the house guide you. I would use wood floors and cork floors. If possible, I would add wood siding to the area that appears to be stucco on the exterior. I have redwood on my house and it is no maintenance and will last forever. Go for classic, modern pieces that are timeless so you don't have to redecorate. (Eames, Knoll, Bertoia....)
    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 8:15PM
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We just bought a mid century modern home in Louisville, KY. We installed beautiful hickory hardwood floors from Tennessee Hardwoods. Everyone loves the floor, it's very natural and look like it has always been here. Good luck with your new home!
    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 5:24AM
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Beautiful home. I agree with the other comments, replace the floor with hardwood and change the railings. You could add a wood surround to the fireplace and paint the brick.
    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 5:27AM
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I renovated an original Mid century modern home in Michigan a couple of years ago - get rid of the window coverings and carpet - add hardwood floors and new railing - keep as much of the original interior brick, wood paneling if its in great shape, and do something cool on the outdoor deck - I have pics of mine - before and after
3 Likes    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 5:54AM
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I agree with the other posters. Change the floor to warm it up, change up the fireplace surround, maybe paint the brick, and add a bit of texture to a FEW of the walls. And lose those vertical blinds in a hurry! LOL. IMHO, I think fabric window treatments are all wrong in Mid-Century Modern homes. This is a house with minimalist, clean lines, and it begs for LESS. The bones of the house are great, so why distract the eye from that with drapes? Also they encourage dust, etc. (I'm personally a minimalist,however, so that's just one opinion.) There are many wonderful shade options for windows that might be a cleaner look than fussy fabric. I also think that to leave windows bare in this type of home is great when you can, while understanding that in some rooms, you are going to want more privacy. The other posters have given some great ideas too. What a great house. Your furniture will look great in there. Barcelona chairs are always a fave.
    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 6:50AM
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give some thought to heated cement floors. not only are they au courant, but are apropro for that era. see frank lloyd wright interiors on houzz.
    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 7:04AM
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wow... great house! i renovate mid-century homes in los angeles and like to keep them as original as possible by changing only what is needed.... the house tells me what it needs. if you want to make a quick change without putting a lot of money into it, i would: change the flooring (love what you did in in your house), remove the top ruffles of the window treatment (you can always change then after you move in), remove the wallpaper and paint, clean, clean, clean the brick, clean inside the fire box and paint with fire place paint (they have a lot of fun colors and you can pull from you color ways), change the fire place screen with a glass one and if it uses gas replace the logs with crushed colored glass, add a very large colorful piece of artwork pulling from your color ways (off center would look really great), and finally, i would not change the railing because it is original and with the other changes, will fit in really well. good luck and PLEASE post the after photos.
1 Like    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 8:13AM
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Sixzero6 Design
What an opportunity!

I have lots of suggestions, partly because I own a 1965 slant-roofed modern ranch in Upstate New York, and my sister has a modern Chicago bungalow from about the same year which she just dug into on her own. The more modest homes in this style from that era have certain niggling issues - in terms of design - that are easily remedied, which is why I think they are great opportunities for personalizing them. You find houses of this ilk in colder climates, where folks embraced the look of glass walls and post and beam construction, but not entirely, partly due to a lifestyle that does not so easily blend indoors and outdoors. So they often have what we would call "great rooms," with cathedral ceilings and a semi-open living plan, and then the rest of the home is almost a warren of small rooms, including the kitchen. My sister's kitchen was downright oppressive. Your kitchen is not pictured, but if you have any opportunity to open it up to the outside or to an adjacent room, go for it.

I see that the entry has a vinyl sheet flooring and the living room has carpeting. The former owners clearly had a glamorous approach to living (some of their furniture is gorgeous!) that doesn't appeal to most people anymore. Your style looks more practical and comfortable, though with an air of sophistication. While carpeting has its comfort, it doesn't wear well in a home with such a prominent deck off the living area. The sheet flooring and carpet are a clue that the there is only a subfloor (plywood) under it. Just know that as you consider your flooring, you'll be building it up, and your doors will probably need to be trimmed and saddles between rooms need to be considered. Don't be seduced by thinner pre-finished "wood" flooring. My suggestion would actually be slate. You often see a multi-colored random pattern slate used in the fancier houses of this period, but I think black is chic, more modern and timeless at the same time, and actually more neutral. I've used a Vermont Black that is only 1/4" thick, so, although it needs to be laid on wonder board, it may help with the build-up.

Here's my argument for slate. It will cost you more (although it runs $6/sq ft where I buy it), but will never need to be refinished (maybe sealed every ten years or so). It will wear better than wood in the high traffic areas and especially where the indoors meets the outdoors. It brings a wonderful natural element into the house. And these houses have an unfortunate drywall feel, which is why wallpaper became so popular. Take it as far as you can.... into the kitchen, throughout the halls, the entryway and the living room/dining room. It will unify the space in a gorgeous way.

Between and perpendicular to the beams, run cedar paneling on the ceiling. You can get 1/4", tongue and groove closet lining from your local big-box store that works wonders.

Two large gestures that will go miles to a warm and inviting living room.

Regarding the fireplace, just clean the walls. The shelf there looks tiled, which is a little weird, but may be ok. Naked concrete would look great. Fill up that void with logs.

Leave the entryway windows bare, and use plantings or a gate by the street to obscure the view and expand the interior to the outdoors. Paint the door something fun, indoors and out.

Expand the deck, but create a bridge between the sliding doors and build the main part of the deck away from the house, perhaps around that big, beautiful tree. You need to let sunlight in near the house so that moss is less likely to grow in the shade created by the deck. (I have this problem at the back of my house.)

Pic of cedar ceiling in my den (slate floors in that room don't show in pic).

Pic of black random slate in kitchen of recent installation.
    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 8:40AM
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Sixzero6 Design
Pic of cedar ceiling in my den.
1 Like    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 8:42AM
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karen paul interiors
six06 has given you fabulous advice. I also had a mid-century and installed black slate throughout. I then came back with Oriental rugs to warm and to soften underfoot. The maintenance of the slate is minimal and with warm wood tones on the ceiling and elsewhere, it just can't be beat!
    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 9:10AM
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Ours is a 1963 time capsule on a river. We got all the furniture that came with the house,including shag carpeting over cement throughout. When we pulled up the shag, we were so hoping for terrazzo underneath, as it was quite popular when the house was built, but it was plain cement. We opted for tile to replace the shag. Since then however, there has been quite a lot of movement toward decorating plain cement floors and they look beautiful. It might have saved us some cash if we had opted to polish our cement and/or color or cover it with metal flake. Something to consider...
    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 9:52AM
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In our time capsule the rooms were quite small and warrenlike plus were dark with paneling. We love the paneling and wanted to keep it but it was so DARK in there! We wanted to keep as much of the original look as possible but it was not working as it was. We took out most of the wall between the kitchen and living room and replaced it with a peninsula counter that used to divide the cramped kitchen from the cramped breakfast nook. Presto! LIght and space magically expanded and now I love the space. Before and after pix to show the difference. Also I changed the backsplash in the kitchen from white formica to a 1960s pebble tile made in Japan that I found through Retrorenovation.com.
    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 10:17AM
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R. Martin Choate
My home is a 1966 Contemporary Split Level...very similar in era with yours...your home has GREAT BONES! Glad that you appreciate Mid Century!
1 Like    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 12:22PM
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R. Martin Choate
A few after photos are on my HOUZZ Page...we went with natural slate and light bamboo flooring...mostly white walls...some accent colours...mostly neutrals...kitchen has a punch of colour...will find photos of our new front deck and railing for you...now if I can only find the best outdoor lighting!
1 Like    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 12:37PM
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Rose L.
@R. Martin Choate I really like your black painted brick fireplace. Just wonderful.
    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 11:36AM
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R. Martin Choate
Thank you...it's actually a high gloss dark brown/grey...from Sherwin Williams...it just put that "edge" on the room that I wanted. Appreciate it!
    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 7:05AM
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Kathleen Doyle
I would change out the window treatments....floor to ceiling simple white pinch pleats are all you need, if anything!
    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 2:40PM
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Kathleen Doyle
I would change out the window treatments....floor to ceiling simple white pinch pleats are all you need, if anything!
1 Like    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 2:40PM
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Nik Williamson
Wow. Great home! I would go with a silver solar shade roller blind. It would look amazing!
    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 2:43PM
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At Home Modern
I would not replace the interior railings, but would replace the wallpaper (sanderson has some great patterns) and flooring. If you don't wish to do hardwood, consider, epoxy, terrazzo or slate. Here are the railings in my mid-century home (similar vibe).
    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 2:47PM
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At Home Modern
Hmmm...I can't seem to rotate those darn images! They are in my profile if you'd like to see them right side up!
    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 2:48PM
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just found this picture on houzz of the same railing that you have. It also has wood ceiling.
Mercer Island - Midcentury Modern · More Info
    Bookmark   November 23, 2014 at 3:05PM
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