Fixer Upper Takes on Midcentury Modern

Vote for Your Favorite Fixer Upper reno from Season Two.
Candidate #6: Chip and Joanna take what they termed the "messy midcentury modern" and bring it squarely into the 21st century while still honoring the home's original period aesthetic.

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November 15, 2017
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From Bauhaus to Our House

Jill and Josh Barrett were in search of "something different" in a new home. They found it in this house built in the modern style in 1959. Homes that can genuinely lay claim to the term "modern" — in the strict architectural sense — are a rare find in Waco, Texas. This one presented Joanna with an opportunity to branch into some new creative directions.

Where's Don Draper?

Joanna drew on the home's distinctly mid-century design when selecting furnishings. The living room sofa, coffee table and chairs exhibit the sleek and simple geometry that typified furniture design in the late '50s and '60s.  

Spare and Clean

Eames inspired molded chairs with metal bases, a simple unadorned dining table and visually striking chandelier help define the new dining space.

A Kitchen Revealed

Walls were removed to expose the formerly enclosed kitchen, freeing up more space and creating an open but elegant floor plan.

Nature as Backdrop

In keeping with the principles of mid century style, the home's design is deliberately integrated with its natural surroundings. Chip and Joanna took full advantage creating this inviting outdoor seating space.

Meet the Homeowners

Chip and Joanna visit with Jill and Josh Barrett in their newly updated kitchen. Though the Barretts were initially skeptical about the home and it's quirky, unconventional style, they quickly came to the realization that it possessed unique potential.


Chip and Joanna prepare to pull back the big "before" banner and reveal the home's newly updated exterior.


Exterior improvements include horizontal wood-plank siding, enlarged and updated windows and new landscaping that includes giant Agave cacti known as century plants.

A Truly Blank Canvas

Aside from an awkwardly placed and enclosed kitchen, the home came with a floor plan that was already open and spacious. The visually arresting interiors and ample wall space made for a setting that Joanna was eager to refine and reimagine.

Dining Room, AFTER

In the dining room, Joanna installed a historical map of Waco as wall art, with sections framed and hung individually to create a six-panel design. To update and brighten the space, brick and wood-paneled walls are painted in pure white. Metal i-beam supports are wrapped in natural wood for a more organic look.

Living Room, BEFORE

The large living space was stark and had some dated features like folding accordion doors. The large windows and spectacular view, however, were among the home's selling points.

Living Room, AFTER

With the renovation complete, the large center section of the home incorporates this living room on one side and dining room on the other, with the newly opened kitchen dividing to two spaces.

Living Room, Detail

Kitchen, BEFORE

Prior to the renovation, the small and enclosed galley kitchen felt more like a pantry. Countertops were white laminate, cabinetry was basic modular and the appliances were dated. With its box-like enclosure and awkward placement, the kitchen was a visual intrusion within the larger living space.

Kitchen, AFTER

Opened up and dramatically expanded, the new kitchen becomes, as Joanna terms it, "the heart of the home."

Kitchen, AFTER

Breaking from her often preferred white, Joanna turns the tables in this case with all black cabinetry. The black helps delineate the space and provides marked contrast with the white marble countertops surrounding walls. Joanna used brass cabinet hardware in keeping with Jill's love of brass. Brass was also incorporated in the support columns for the kitchen's floating glass shelves.

Coffee Nook

New windows and glass doors were added to this corner space adjacent to the kitchen. The floating bar top with bar stool seating is the perfect spot for morning coffee and savoring the view. 

Master Bedroom, BEFORE

The master bedroom was dark and drab with worn beige carpeting.

Master Suite Bedroom, AFTER

Joanna brightened up the bedroom but kept the feeliing warm with dark wood floors and painted brick accent wall. The framed number "7" represents the seven members of the Barrett family.

Master Bath, BEFORE

The master bath had original tile and generally mid-century styling but was small and confining.

Master Bath, AFTER

Removal of the tub, carefully thought out use of space and a lighter earth-toned palette makes the small master bath feel much larger.

Master Bath, Detail

The new bath gets a wide vanity with dual faucets and poured concrete countertops.

Nursery, BEFORE

Joanna converted this office space adjacent to the master bedroom into a nursery.

Nursery, AFTER

The nursery has dark hardwood floors and the walls are painted in neutral gray.

Nursery, Detail

The pendant light with crystal shade casts an ornate pattern on the ceiling.

Front Entry, AFTER

The red-orange door with black hardware offers a bold and colorful accent against the warm gray of the painted brick.

Behind the Scenes, THE REVEAL

The Barretts check out the new wood pergola that Chip and the crew built for the backyard patio.

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