Love It or List It: An Intervention for an Ailing Midcentury Modern

Dave is a graphic designer and loves the lines and aesthetic of his authentic midcentury home. His wife Sonya, however, is less enthralled, and thinks of the aging "modern" house as a never ending fix-it list. Can designer Hilary Farr pull off upgrades that will make them both "love it", or will they "list it" in favor of a new turn-key home?

Photo By: Anthony Collins

Photo By: Adam Wamsley

Photo By: Adam Wamsley

Photo By: Adam Wamsley

Photo By: Adam Wamsley

Photo By: Adam Wamsley

Photo By: Adam Wamsley

Photo By: Adam Wamsley

Photo By: Adam Wamsley

Photo By: Adam Wamsley

Photo By: Adam Wamsley

Photo By: Adam Wamsley

Photo By: Adam Wamsley

Photo By: Adam Wamsley

Photo By: Adam Wamsley

Photo By: Adam Wamsley

Photo By: Adam Wamsley

A Living Space Reimagined: Form Follows Function

The midcentury design of this home incorporates an open floor plan but, prior to the renovation, the space felt disjointed and poorly organized. In Hilary's remodel seen here, distinct areas and elements are balanced and integrated to work seamlessly together and optimize function. 

The Hosts and the Homeowners

David and Sonya (left) pose for a pic with hosts Hilary and David after the renovation is complete. David and Sonya both loved the home when they bought it, but after living in it for eight years, a number of problems had become apparent. 

Vintage '60s Split-Level Needs Some TLC

The home is situated on a large wooded lot, has a beautiful view from a back deck and the property backs up to a creek. Problems inside, however, include a leaky roof, a basement that periodically floods, a non-insulated lower level and water-damaged wood flooring.

Dining Area and Kitchen, BEFORE

David, a graphic designer, loved the feel of the home and thought its various problems were fixable. Sonya had begun to think of the home and repairs as a "relentless to-do list" that was monopolizing their time and money.

Dining Area and Kitchen, AFTER

With upgrades such as new insulation, leak fixes and updated plumbing and electrical taken care of, Hilary was still able to visually transform the entire main floor. 

Dining Area, BEFORE

A lack of storage on the main floor led to a tendency for spaces to become cluttered. The living room fireplace  was non-functional. The photo of a roaring fire taped over the fireplace was -- as Dave said -- a visual reminder of the room's potential.

Dining Area, AFTER

A background palette of white and varying shades of gray gives the space a clean look that's accented with carefully selected color splashes. 

Kitchen and Living Area, BEFORE

Prior to the renovation, the kitchen was small, awkward and crowded when more than one person was present.

Removal of a wall permitted the kitchen's footprint to be expanded into the living area by about three feet. 

Dining Area and Living Room, BEFORE

A diagonal header, half wall and bar seating had separated the kitchen and dining room.

Dining Area and Living Room, AFTER

The header and half wall were removed, helping give the whole space a brighter and more open feel.

Dining Area and Living Room, BEFORE

Dining Area and Living Room, AFTER

Dining Area, Detail

A modern styled chandelier above a rustic wood dining table is in keeping with the clean, minimalist aesthetic of the updated space.

Dining Area, Detail

Living Room, BEFORE

Living Room, AFTER

The living room gets updated furnishings, an improved lighting scheme and fresh paint. A feature wall painted in bright "grasshopper green" with matte finish is part of a deliberate motif that visually ties the home's interior with the beautiful wooded surroundings.

Living Room, BEFORE

The exposed brick above the fireplace was drab brown and the raised hearth was a tripping and safety hazard.

Living Room, AFTER

The fireplace gets a new gas insert, the obtrusive hearth is removed and the brick is given a uniform look with a medium gray paint.

BEFORE

AFTER

Living Room, BEFORE

Living Room, AFTER

The aesthetic approach in redesigned living space draws on dual themes of blending the old with the new, and of bringing the outdoors in.

Living Room, Detail

Kitchen, BEFORE

Kitchen, AFTER

Hilary went with concrete countertops for a visually clean look that works well within the basic gray and white color scheme.

Kitchen, BEFORE

HVAC equipment had been taking up nearly all of the space just off the kitchen in what was intended as a pantry.

Kitchen, AFTER

The furnace and HVAC system was relocated to the basement level, allowing the new kitchen to take advantage of actual pantry storage.

Kitchen, BEFORE

Without a functional pantry, preparing meals in the kitchen often meant retrieving food, utensils and supplies from where they were being stored -- in the downstairs guest bedroom and garage.

Kitchen, AFTER

New cabinets, open shelving and a restored pantry effectively doubled the kitchen's storage capacity.

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Kitchen, Detail

Main Floor Bath, BEFORE

Main Floor Bath, AFTER

The main floor bath gets a complete makeover with a new layout, dark tile floor, glass enclosed shower and white subway tile.

Main Floor Bath, Detail

Main Floor Bath, Detail

Main Floor Bath, BEFORE

Main Floor Bath, AFTER

Main Floor Bath, Detail

Main Floor Bath, BEFORE

Main Floor Bath, AFTER