Colorful, Mid-Century Rancher

A creative family remodels their mid-century modern rancher into a playful space where color pops
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November 25, 2014

Stark Beginnings

When Justine and Robin first bought their 1954 mid-century modern home, they liked its open galley kitchen layout, yet wanted to replace the cabinets, countertops and appliances. They also replaced the kitchen's lackluster beige color scheme with bold, high-energy pops of color.

Functional Necessity

In its original condition, the dining room led to a screened-in porch that was unsafe due to its proximity to the driveway. They planned to increase their outdoor living space by turning the screened-in porch into a finished room where sons Felix and Reyn could play, and Justine and Robin, both creative professionals, could tackle their own artistic projects.

Modern Style

The galley-style kitchen was transformed with modern design that opens up onto their dining space. Since the couple does a lot of cooking, they opted for butcher block countertops that offer ample space for food preparation. The back wall was painted charcoal to give the colorful accent elements a backdrop to stand out.

Angular Windows Showcase Architecture

To showcase the mid-century modern architecture, Justine and Robin opted to leave their angled windows in the kitchen bare. By keeping the windows free of blinds or draperies, the asymmetrical lines and interesting shapes stayed in view.

High-Energy Hues

To add color throughout the house without an overwhelming effect, Justine and Robin opted for smaller furniture pieces, such as dining chairs, in high-energy hues.

Keep It Crafty

From the beginning of the home's remodel, the family made it a point to add touches of fun and kid-friendliness to each space. Since the kids spend a lot of time in the dining area, Justine keeps a roll of craft paper on the table that functions as an easy clean-up solution after meals and craft station for Reyn and Felix.

Open Shelving

Open floating shelving gives Justine and Robin instant access to bowls, cups and glasses in their galley kitchen. Before installing floating shelves for kitchen items, first check the weight capacity that each shelf can handle. While glasses are lightweight and easy to display, heavier items such as ceramic bowls can cause shelves to sag or bow.

Subdued Walls and Bold-Hued Accents

Justine took advantage of the wall above the most utilized spot in her kitchen, the prep area, to display her growing collection of artistic family photos. Justine chose a backdrop of white subway tile, then incorporated colorful countertop appliances that pop, such as this tangerine orange mixer.

Ready to Read

Since reading is something Felix and Reyn are certain to be doing at just about any time on any day, Robin incorporated book niches into the side of the kitchen half wall. To give the space her artistic touch, Justine applied cut paper appliqués to the wall in the form of trees and leaves.

Charcoal Plays Well With Other Colors

Justine and Robin used charcoal throughout the home since it's gender neutral, works well with other colors, and complements the mid-century modern style of the house. While white is often suggested as the best color to paint walls meant for showcasing art, charcoal works just as well.

Playful Pieces

Determined to keep every room in the house kid-friendly and open for play, Justine and Robin packed their living room with cushy, comfortable furniture. The generous-sized coffee table was chosen to accommodate one of Felix's most prized possessions, his train set. To capitalize on the natural light streaming in from the 8 foot window, the couple opted to keep the walls painted white.

Artful Touches

Known for her artistic style that is imperfect and raw, yet colorful and texture-packed, Justine incorporated some of her own art into the design of the living room. This piece was made by adding simple, random strokes of crayon onto basic white art paper.

Storage Solution

Robin created an open storage system for his collection of vinyl albums on the wall that divides the living room from Reyn's nursery. By choosing basic stain-grade plywood, Robin was able to have this built affordably. For now, the couple enjoys the unfinished look of the raw plywood; however, they can change it up in the future if they decide to stain it or paint it a glossy color.

Dark Tones to Counterbalance

Charcoal was the couple’s color of choice for Reyn's nursery. Since the space is meant for sleeping, this moody, dark tone was an excellent way to counterbalance the abundance of natural light that streams in from the home’s windows.

Color Takes Center Stage

The walls in Felix's room are painted chocolate brown so that the brightly-colored art and striped rug can take center stage. Similar to white and charcoal, chocolate brown is an unexpected neutral that works well with almost any color.

Porch to Playroom

What used to be a screened-in porch became a clean, modern playroom for Felix and Reyn that doubles as a creative space for Justine. A new skylight was installed to let natural light flood the space and allow colors to read correctly.

A Walk on the Creative Side

Justine and Robin work hard to encourage their sons' creative sides. The family turned shipping boxes into sculptures of a robot and an elephant by reconfiguring the cardboard, then embellishing it with paint and bottle caps.

Glance Through the Glass Door

A sliding glass door leads to a fenced-in deck, allowing Felix and Reyn to easily access the outdoors and play while being supervised from almost any spot in the dining area or kitchen. Justine utilizes the charcoal wall of the playroom to experiment with new art ideas, such as this simple installation of bird sketches.

Playful Yet Practical

Thanks to 250-square-feet of elevated deck added to the area just outside the master bedroom, Justine and Robin have a place where Felix and Reyn can play as the couple keeps an eye on them from their bed. This is especially helpful on weekend mornings when the couple wants to lay around a while longer before starting their busy days.

View From the Master Bedroom

Justine and Robin installed sliding glass doors in the master bedroom that lead out to the new deck inorder to keep an unobstructed view of the kids. In choosing color for their bedroom, the couple opted to paint the wall opposite their bed a bold shade of turquoise, then pop fire engine red furniture against it.

Style-Savvy Stairwell

To keep with the home's mid-century modern style, Justine and Robin created a knee wall out of drywall instead of using traditional-style railing for the stairwell that leads down to the basement. This relatively inexpensive material provides a safer alternative to balusters.

Industrial Chic

The basement was finished with drywall and the concrete floors were stained and sealed for a polished, industrial-chic look. White walls reflect the natural light throughout the space. This helps Justine experiment with colors and textures as she creates backdrops and handmade elements for her own art and her clients' storefront displays.

Inspired by Natural Light

Positioned in front of a window which overlooks the lush green landscape behind the house, Justine is surrounded by natural light and inspiring colors from the outdoors as she works inside her studio's craft space.

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