Remodeling an Authentically Midcentury Home

A midcentury home in Los Angeles, California, is restored for the Washington family as patriarch and community advocate Thom conquers stage 4 cancer.

March 08, 2020

Meet the Washington Family

One year after Thom Washington was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer, he stands cancer-free alongside his wife, Stephanie, her sister Terri (Henderson) and his daughter, Kennedi. The Washington family runs Engage the Vision, a mentorship program in their Los Angeles community that gives back to at-risk youth and those in need of help. The Extreme Makeover team of Darren Keefe, Carrie Locklyn, Breegan Jane and host Jesse Tyler Ferguson worked together to help the family start fresh, so they can continue to provide for each other and for the community that they love.

The five-day renovation completely transformed this house; see the home's incredible midcentury makeover now.

The Washington Home, Before

The family inherited Stephanie and Terri's childhood home after their parents passed away. Though they always had plans to repair termite damage, replace the roof and update the interior, Thom's ongoing medical treatment costs put a strain on the family's budget. The team makes a plan to help the family honor the good memories from their old home while bringing it back to life.

The Washington Home, After

The Washingtons' 1,600-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom home is renovated inside and out. Its restoration embraces the home's original midcentury style and brings it back to life. The team replaced the driveway, provided a complete landscaping overhaul and enhanced the exterior of the home with fresh paint and natural wood accents.

MEET THE DESIGNERS: Meet The New ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ Design Team

Curb Appeal, Before

A home's curb appeal often relies on the scale and quality of the landscaping, and the bushes surrounding the Washingtons' old home disguised it and also prevented natural light from entering through the windows. The grass was dried out and overgrown with weeds.

Curb Appeal, After

To make over the exterior of the home, the crew removed the tall, overgrown shrubs, refined the garden beds and invested in smaller scale tropical plants to contrast against the home's new white exterior. Fresh sod also replaced the dying grass in the Washingtons' former yard.

Curb Appeal, After

The new orange front door adds to the home's curb appeal, as do the wooden accents and privacy fencing. You would hardly know by looking at it that this is the same home that the Washington family left five days prior, but the team worked with its original bones and brought it back to life.

The Garage, Before

Curb appeal was lacking at the Washingtons' home due in part to the landscaping, plus the overall age and condition of the home. The exterior updates would satisfy aesthetics and also improve the overall security of the home.

The Garage, After

The team transformed the exterior of the home by redesigning the landscaped beds and replacing the concrete driveway. They further enhanced its curb appeal by installing a new midcentury-inspired garage door and adding accent lighting.

The Living Room, Before

After their mother died in 1983, Stephanie and Terri's father kept the home as a living time capsule. Though there were many memories in the old space, moving out the old meant making space for a new start in the next chapter of their lives.

The Living Room, After

In place of the floor-to-ceiling mirrors, the team installed a fireplace with a mantel and built inset shelving. Vertical white tiles add visual interest to the wall surface, and a widened pathway to the bedrooms helps the small home feel more spacious.

The Living Room, After

Midcentury-inspired furnishings make the living room of the renovated home a welcoming space for the family to gather and entertain.

The Dining Room, Before

One wall in the former living room was redesigned to accommodate the new dining room furniture. Previously, it was a blank slate, home to nothing more than a vintage sofa and an old lamp.

The Dining Room, After

The new floor plan incorporates a built-in bench, dining room table and two dining chairs. A walnut pony wall opens line of sight between the kitchen and the dining area. Whereas the former dining room table took up a lot of space between the living room and the kitchen, the new seating is adapted to make the most of the 1,600-square-foot home.

The Sitting Area, Before

The former dining room table was centered between the living room and the kitchen, taking up valuable floor place. This space would be redefined as an extension of their living room — a sitting room.

The Sitting Area, After

A walnut wall divider connects the sitting room to the entryway, and in place of the large dining table, two modern chairs and a credenza flank the picture window to form a new sitting area for the family.

The Sitting Area, After

Special guest Ty Pennington created a midcentury-inspired credenza that adds beauty and storage to the new home. The honeycomb doors make space for speakers and other storage, and the top surface is the perfect home for a new record player.

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The Kitchen, Before

The old kitchen was both dark and outdated. All of the cabinets, the overhead lighting, the vintage appliances and the floor would be replaced in the new space.

The Kitchen, After

The new kitchen is bright and modern, and it's remarkable to see how a space can be transformed. It makes use of modern appliances, lighting and cabinetry, and will undoubtedly be a space in which the family will enjoy cooking and hosting their friends and community. The hardwood floors extend throughout the living room and into the kitchen to warm the space.

The Kitchen, After

A large, deep sink with a brushed gold faucet is a focal point in the kitchen. The team eliminated upper cabinets on the back wall above the sink to help the room feel airy, but also incorporated a ledge along the wall where the family could store and display commonly used items.

The Kitchen and Office, After

The entrance to Thom's office was also refreshed. The large glass door offers privacy but welcomes the transfer of light between the kitchen and the workspace.

The Office, After

Thom's office is a professional space where he can continue to make a difference for his family and community. The storage and decor selected to accent the room coordinates well with the other midcentury-inspired features throughout the home.

Thom and Stephanie's Bedrooom, Before

The team was able to make better use of how the rooms were used once the house was gutted. In the room that would become Thom and Stephanie's bedroom, an old bar was removed, and the room was converted from a family room into a luxurious retreat.

Thom and Stephanie's Bedrooom, After

Where the bar previously lived, Darren designed a geometric focal wall using walnut veneer and light oak. Thom made a special request of the team, asking them to save and repurpose a latch hook rug that Stephanie had made as a kid; happy to oblige, the design team framed it and hung it over their dresser.

Thom and Stephanie's Bedrooom, Before

The opposite end of the home's former family room included an outdated fireplace. It would be refinished to brighten the room, helping to transform the space into a modern ensuite.

Thom and Stephanie's Bedrooom, After

The fireplace facade was given a modern, clean finish using a Roman clay effect. The original wall art was cleaned up and reinstalled as a focal detail above the fireplace. Though this area of the home was previously used as a family room, it's spacious and had potential, and the team successfully transformed it into a relaxing retreat for Thom and Stephanie.

Thom and Stephanie's Bathroom, After

The former bathroom off of the family room was converted into an ensuite bath to fulfill the vision of giving Thom and Stephanie a master suite in the renovated home. Contrasting black and white finishes, gold accents and bold lighting tie into the new midcentury-inspired design of the Washingtons' home.

Terri's Bedroom, Before

Formerly the master bedroom, this dark, dated room in the Washingtons' home would become a new bedroom for Stephanie's sister, Terri. Already a cancer survivor, Terri became Thom's caretaker after his diagnosis and continues to support the family during his ongoing treatments.

Terri's Bedroom, After

Rich blue walls and midcentury styling offer a comfortable, permanent space for this dedicated sister, aunt and caretaker. Formerly the home's master bedroom, the new bedroom now shares a bathroom with Thom and Stephanie's daughter, Kennedi.

Kennedi's Bedroom, Before

Multicolored blinds still hung in what would become Kennedi's new bedroom. Dated and dark, the team conspired to convert it into a bright, fun space for Thom and Stephanie's daughter to grow.

Kennedi's Bedroom, After

Pink, blue and white paint applied in geometric patterns revive this formerly dark bedroom. Modern lighting, textured bedding and artwork created using those old rainbow window blinds come together to make this a one-of-a-kind space for the young girl.

Terri and Kennedi's Bathroom, Before

The epitome of a dated bathroom! Old tile, damaged walls and a pink sink beg for a refresh in the Washingtons' old home. Formerly the master bathroom, the new space would be shared between aunt Terri and niece Kennedi.

Terri and Kennedi's Bathroom, After

The remodeled bathroom shares a similar footprint but is outfitted with modern finishes including floor-to-ceiling tile around the bathtub, a floating vanity and new hardware and lighting. New plumbing for the home guarantees that this bathroom will serve the family well for many years to come.

The Backyard, After

The backyard of the home received an overhaul too! Modern privacy fencing, railings, new furniture and minimalist landscaping details create a comfortable space for the family to relax and entertain.

The Backyard, After

The redesigned backyard offers multiple seating areas where the Washington family can gather and relax. It's shady back there, so the new pebble and mulch ground coverings will make it an easy-to-maintain extension of their home.

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