I cannot believe it has taken me almost two years to blog about this mid-century remodel project! This project is near and dear to my heart because it is my house! And today marks the second anniversary of us buying it!
We did the initial remodeling in 2 phases, which began the day we signed on the dotted line. Phase 1 was floors, walls, ceiling, furniture, and window treatments. Phase 2 was kitchen and guest bath.
I recorded a lot of videos of the remodeling process. They capture the pearls and pitfalls of completing a mid-century remodel. I will share those with you with the 2 post arc that I plan to publish.
But first, I want to tell you how I came up with the design concept! Because the overall concept was completed in Phase 1! Yes, even the rooms that won’t be addressed until phase 2, 3, and 4 were addressed in phase 1 because I wanted a cohesive flow to the house.
Being a child of the 70’s I was obsessed with re-run TV shows. In particular, I loved the Brady Bunch, I dream of Jeannie, and most of all Bewitched! And I really loved their houses! Fortunately, my husband shares this nostalgia!
I knew that I wanted to create a look that felt the way these TV homes did – mid-century, but still incorporating some classics. Like drapery and chinoiserie.
…But I also really love the beach and I love that “old Florida” look. And being a native Floridian, it felt really important to me to bring some of that into my home.
Thus, my “mid-century Southern” concept was born! I always explain it like this:
If I Dream of Jeannie were filmed today, but was still set in the 1960’s and Major Nelson hired a decorator, this is what his house would look like”Julie Lampe on Mid-Century Southern
So there you have it! Part traditional, part mid-century modern, part contemporary, part coastal and 100% eclectic. Here’s what my vision looked like in concept board format for three rooms.
The Space Plan
Challenges with a Mid-Century Remodel
The challenge we have always had as a family is accommodating my daughter’s wheelchair in a way that doesn’t scratch up the furniture and moldings. You should have seen our old house! 😱
Also, the floor plan had not been updated. Now, I am not a big fan of a completely open floor plan. Especially not in a ranch style house with 8′ ceilings. I like my walls. However, in a compact 2000 square foot house, we needed to open things up a bit.
The kitchen (before image below) had an attached “family room,” while the dining room was in a separate space sandwiched between the kitchen and living room.
We also had soffits, faux beams, and bulkheads galore! A combination of soffits and bulkhead lined the kitchen with faux beams running the length of the attached family room. Between the dining room and living room there were partial walls topped with faux columns and capped with a faux beam painted creamy white. Combined with the brick patterned vinyl covering the floors in the kitchen…
I called the look “Mid-Century Saloon.”
We also had very few lights in the ceilings and the ceiling itself had at least 5 different finishes throughout the house, one of which was a glitter popcorn. The moldings and trims in the house were all outdated and mismatched. Plus we really wanted a clean, contemporary look to the “bones” of the house.
We also decided to remodel the guest bath with the Phase 1 and Phase 2 remodeling projects. This is because a) it was in the worst condition and b) it is the bathroom that our guests would be using. The master bath and second bath will be done in phase 4… and just in case you’re wondering exterior painting, landscaping, and windows will all be phase 3!
Mid-Century Remodel Solutions
Like I said, we started the phase 1 projects the day we signed the mortgage! As soon as I picked up my kids from school, I started ripping out carpet! Phase 1 included refinishing the terrazzo floors, replacing all of the moldings and trim, removing the knee walls, adding lighting in the ceiling, replacing all of our old Ikea furniture, and addressing the window treatments.
The full floor plan can be viewed below.
We decided right off the bat that the dining room should be part of the living room because we host gatherings and we felt like the living room would not seat enough people. So, we decided to convert the dining room into a “sitting room” off of the living room.
We also had something really special planned for the new dining room using the old family room… that will be in the nest blog post!
We removed the knee wall and all of the faux columns and beams between the living room and old dining room. It immediately made a drastic difference!
We also removed the pocket door between the new sitting room and the kitchen to open up the space just a little bit.
Using the concept map that I created, I knew that I wanted the foundational pieces of furniture – sofa, dining table, dining chairs – to be slightly more contemporary (clean lines, light neutral colors) and classic. I had a lot of fun selecting the accent pieces that were less expensive, so I let them be a little more distinct in their style. I also incorporated several pieces of vintage mid-century pieces that I already owned.
I knew I wanted linen drapes for a tailored, casual look, but I also wanted to layer bamboo Roman Shades to give my home that “old Florida” look wherever I could. However, in a smaller home drapes may not be the best solution.
I met with my window treatment professional in my home and we went through each room to decide which rooms were large enough for drapes and which rooms would be too small.
The living room and sitting room were the only rooms that were really spacious enough to accommodate the layered drapery.
“A simple sisal rug in a natural or gray is the best way to make a room look clean and elegant.”James Hiniford
Boy, do I LOVE a sisal rug! Nothing more classic and nothing says “coastal” like a sisal rug. So, that decision was pretty simple.
I felt like Oprah: You get a sisal rug and You get a sisal rug and Every room gets a sisal rug!!! Even in a mid-century remodel the style of the sisal rug works.
The general color palette of the space was creamy white, a sandy tan, light gray, spa blue, and a sage-y green. I selected three patterns with varying shades of the blue green, which was the uniting element of the three patterns. I also selected a trim tape for the window treatments and pillows that coordinates with the 3 patterns.
The effect was a cohesive look.
Mid-Century Remodel Accessories
Because the ceilings are only 8′, I knew I would be limited to flush mount lighting – often known as the “boob” light. However, there are a lot of really great flush mount lights out there if you know where to look (I do) AND if you want to make an investment (I did).
I selected lighting that reminded me of the type of lighting my grandmother had in her house and the type of flush mounts that were popular near the mid-century.
We already had a lot of art. Part of my concept was to play with the formal and casual across the spaces in our home so nothing felt too casual or too formal as you move through the spaces. So, I used the various types of art we had to either play up the formality or balance the casuality of the space.
We also added some Audubon prints and photography of water birds to bring out more of the coastal style in a classic way.
I must confess, I am a picker… so collecting accessories is a bit of a habit for me.
The decor – books, doo dads, accessories, florals – are, for the most part, inexpensive and are how I bring fashion into the space. Most of the items are chinoiserie or coastal in style and help really define the traditional and coastal aspects of my home. These pieces are mostly items that I have collected over the years from yard sales, thrift shops, discount retailers, and even a few high-end retailers.
They key is selecting pieces that make you feel something. Don’t just collect junk because it might “work.” I use this same strategy when I style spaces for my client. I just view each item through their eyes and chances are if I think it’s evocative, they will too.
Next week I will be post phase 2 of the project, which is the kitchen and guest bath. Then, I’ll be sharing all of the before and after photos in the post after that!
Until then, if you want to learn more about quality and costs associated with decorating and remodeling for a retirement ready home, make sure you download our “Good Better Best Investment Workbook.”