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Reviving Mid-Century Modern Homes

May 1, 2023 | Modern, Whole House Remodels

Deck Home Interior Renovation

An American classic, mid-century modern homes have an aesthetic characterized by creative, individualistic design. This post-war style did away with flat roofs, stucco walls, and horizontal windows. But what it also did away with was the more formal, cluttered, old-school design rules. Instead, it highlighted clean, airy lines, open floor plans, floor-to-ceiling windows, and flexible, flowing interiors. Here, the emphasis was on elegance, openness, spaciousness, adaptability, and embracing nature. Bringing the outside in was an integral part of the design process, giving these homes an undeniable charm that drew inspiration from the Bauhaus movement and the European architects who came to America in the 20s and 30s.

If you’re lucky enough to own a mid-century modern home, you would have seen that with time; there’s bound to be wear-and-tear irrespective of how good the bones of your home are. But how do you renovate your signature mid-century look while retaining its artistry, structure, history, and spirit? We show you just how to do this.


A Step-by-Step Guide to Mid-Century Modern Renovation Success

A mid-century modern home comes with its own set of stories and history, and you want your remodeling to breathe new life into it and add modern improvements without taking away its charm. This guide will give you the tips you need to make this historic preservation a resounding success.

  • Do your homework: By this, we mean go ahead and delve into the history of your particular home. You just might stumble across some unique stories you never knew before. What makes it special, and what do you want to retain? For instance, do you know when your home was built or its best features? Do you have access to old photo albums or home movies of your house, especially if it’s been in your family for ages? These details and images can help your contractor work with you to develop a solid renovation plan.
  • It’s all about the details: The next step is to list what needs to be changed. For example, see if you need square footage added or new additions. When listing what needs to be tuned up, include everything, from the outdoors-to-indoors transition you need to be tweaked to essentials like plumbing, electricity, HVAC, and the roof – basically whatever is required in order to bring your home into the modern era. It helps to go as much into detail as possible and not just note down overarching design changes. It would also be good to have a list and references of the materials and textures you want to use to give your contractor as much insight as you can about your vision for your home. Once you have this in place, you can set your budget and show this to your contractor to finalize your plans.
  • Stay authentic: See how many of the details you can retain to keep your home looking as authentic as possible. For starters, is there a fireplace or brick façade you can’t imagine not being there? At the end of the day, you want it to be updated while holding on to what makes it so charming in the first place. It might require some extra time and effort to hunt down materials and pieces that are true to the age and look you’re going for, but the final result will be worth it. While doing this, ensure your contractor is on the same page and is as invested as you in keeping the soul of your home intact.
  • Add in modern touches: Staying authentic to the roots of your home certainly does not mean you need to refrain from updating it. Many areas will require a re-haul. One of these is your windows, which will need to be updated. Consider adding double-paned options, which will help reduce your power bills. The kitchen is another area that might need a bit of work. Also, adding contemporary lighting and appliances can provide a cool contrast to the vintage charm of the original cabinets and architecture of the room if you decide to retain those aspects. The bathrooms could very well do with a modern update as well, as most bathrooms in these homes weren’t built to allow for modern luxuries and conveniences. You can add modern fittings and touches as part of your renovation, turning it into the perfect space to unwind in. Think innovative tech details such as smart systems and lighting, voice activation, and heated bathroom floors juxtaposed against a vintage aesthetic to create a unique space.
  • Let the outdoors in: In true mid-century modern style, your home would already be an open, expansive, airy space. This is one aspect you could enhance further, so don’t forget to include it in your remodeling. Keep the inside as light-filled as you can in terms of your choice of colors, theme, and textures, and look at the outside as an extension of this. By creating stronger visual connections between the outdoors and indoors, you can add to your home’s already quaint appeal. Try adding wood and slate accents and details, and play about with shapes and patterns to make the outside liveable and as interesting as the inside.
  • Let go of what cannot be salvaged: As much as you might want to preserve all the things that make your home charming, be prepared for your contractor and your design team to tell you what you need to let go of. Some components might be too outdated to save. Instead, see how those areas can be modernized while retaining the feel of the original space. One way to do this is to try and get in replicas. Being honest about your preferences can help your contractor or design team know what you need and find ways to get in what’s possible to align with your vision.


Contact Us Today

At Owings Brothers, we have the expertise you need to revamp your mid-century modern space. Contact us today to see how we can give your mid-century modern home a forward-looking, thoughtful renovation that not only looks stunning but also accommodates the practicalities of daily living and keeps the unique mid-century rhythm and character of your home intact.