Projects & Improvements

Before and After: A Massive (7 Room!) Mid-Century Makeover

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Tracey Jazmin)

This is a treat: a whole-house renovation, with before and after photos from seven rooms — and the exterior, of course. This massive makeover retains the home’s mid-century modern charm, while giving it a fresh, more modern twist. Let’s dive in.

(Image credit: Tracey Jazmin)

This exterior remodel was so well done! It highlights the house’s bold lines and actually makes it easier to appreciate the beauty of the bricks. The black, white, and wood combination is a timeless one, and the overall look is minimal yet full of visual interest and an interesting interplay of textures.

The entire renovation was masterminded by Kristina Lynne — and it should be no surprise that this isn’t her first design attempt:

My husband and I have been buying and renovating houses for years now. I do the designing and he does the heavy lifting, being a professional contractor! We got particularly excited about our latest project when we noticed that the house and street reminded us (slightly) of Palm Springs (this was in the summer keep in mind! No snow!). So, we decided to run with the mid century modern style and revitalize this very dated home. We changed a lot of the layout, enlarging the bathrooms and removing walls to accommodate a more open concept, which made a massive difference.

Let’s explore, room by room!

(Image credit: Tracey Jazmin)

This living room is amazing — the brick, the paneling, the seafoam shag carpet — but I can understand how someone might find it to be a bit much. If nothing else, that is a LOT of lines! And the dinky metal indoor railing has got to go.

(Image credit: Tracey Jazmin)

Wow! My favorite upgrade is that gorgeous wood floor—the color is unusual and stunning, and its greige cast is perfect with the black and white decor. The sconces have a ton of vintage charm, but their clean lines keep them from feeling dated.

I predict some strong reactions to the painted brick and paneling, and I can sympathize. The brick was so cool, and the paneling absolutely glowed (and I’m saying that as someone who lived in a house with a knotty pine-paneled room that I though was hopelessly cheesy . . . but it rapidly became my favorite room and feature), but I do think painting at least one was the right way to go. The lines of the bricks fought with those of the ceiling, creating a bit of geometric cacophony. If this was your home, what would you have done?

Let’s hear how Kristina Lynne describes the results:

We closed off the strange second door that served absolutely no purpose, and created a beautiful built in bookshelf instead. It honestly looks like it was always there! We did a lot of painting in here – updating the fireplace and the panelling. One of my favourite parts of this space? The lighting!!! It pops against the bright white walls and brick surround.

Getting rid of an unnecessary door was a great idea; it added so much utility, and eliminated so much awkwardness.

(Image credit: Tracey Jazmin)

The dining room had more of that distinctive carpet! While doing these types of posts, I do my best to never judge the spaces before, knowing that everyone deals with limitations — whether financial, energetic, ability, or availability — but I simply can’t put myself into the mind of someone who would choose wall-to-wall seafoam shag carpet. No disrespect, just mystification.

(Image credit: Tracey Jazmin)

The dining room decor blends seamlessly with that of the living room, while the rug definitively sets the dining area apart. The ceiling has been raised, a clever move that both opens the dining room and unites it with the living room, while allowing the crossbeams to shine.

(Image credit: Tracey Jazmin)

This kitchen is cute and cozy, but I feel a little claustrophobic just looking at it (and I’ve cooked in much smaller kitchens). Once again, the decor is a bit much: the wood paneling, tile backsplash, blue countertops, and patterned floor all have a lot going on.

(Image credit: Tracey Jazmin)

This is so much simpler, and it is an excellent play on the aesthetic of the previous two rooms: it doesn’t match, it coordinates. The cabinetry is the same hue as the floor, but much more interestingly patterned, while the gray and stainless elements are a softer take on the black-and-white of the rest of the home. That hexagonal tile is darling and modern while being perfectly vintage-appropriate.

I wanted to pay homage to the mid century modern kitchens I love with the warm wood tones and a rich grey island. I’m so impressed with the cabinet fronts we got from Kitch (we did IKEA boxes and then finished the cabs with a higher end product!!). We created concrete countertops that are somewhat industrial but also add some softness to the space.

Concrete countertops are always a favorite, and they work particularly well in this kitchen.

(Image credit: Tracey Jazmin)

This entryway is really cramped and not very user-friendly; I can imagine the bottlenecks that must occur here on a regular basis. And a closet door hanging over the stairs is a novel feature that nobody was asking for!

(Image credit: Tracey Jazmin)

There’s now a convenient bench for putting on and removing shoes, hooks for easy access to outerwear, baskets for storing the endless stuff (hats, gloves, leashes, sunglasses) that needs to be near the entrance, and practical yet beautiful flooring that looks perfect with the wood floor but stands up better to water and mud. A massive improvement, though I would be loathe to give up all doored closet space (my outerwear is not display-worthy).

Before, it felt very closed in and dark. So we decided to change the storage situation, creating a bench and some open shelving. It’s a lot more inviting to walk into this space now.

Indeed—what an excellent space to greet you when you enter your home!

(Image credit: Tracey Jazmin)

There’s not a lot to say about this bedroom: it’s rectangular, and it has a massive rug!

(Image credit: Tracey Jazmin)

The rug is now more appropriately sized for the space, and the black, white, grey, and wood palette coordinates well with the rest of the home.

(Image credit: Tracey Jazmin)

I know I’m repeating myself, but that is a LOT! Highly grained wood, busy Formica, more of the kitchen’s linoleum, densely patterned tile, and more seafoam. I actually think that tile could work in a plainer bathroom, and the wood part of the vanity is amazing, but I can see why the entire bathroom was reconfigured and remodeled.

(Image credit: Tracey Jazmin)

I love the way the open shelving adds storage without trying to hide the pipes; they have their own industrial beauty, and this configuration eliminates the all-too-common Under-Sink Pit of Despair. And in the reflection of the mirror, we can see that the shower tiles echo the brick of the exterior and the fireplace. Clever!

Kristina Lynne’s final note surprised me — I had no idea this home was staged! I thought it was just inhabited by disciplined minimalists, as I (wrongly) associate staging with a certain level of cheesiness. Well done, Kristina!

We stage our homes with all of our own furniture and accessories, which means our own house becomes a bit empty! But it’s worth it when it all comes together!

Thank you, Kristina Lynne!