One Room Challenge

Before and After: A 1970s Home Gets a Grand Entrance Inspired by the Decade — for Just $600

published Jul 9, 2022
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Credit: Donna Powell

If you’re a fan of interior design, a frequent reader of this website, have shopped for furniture in the past five years, or know who Don Draper is, you’re likely very familiar with mid-century modern, the resurgent design style known for its streamlined wood surfaces, sleek furniture (including tapered legs), and pops of stone.

Credit: Donna Powell

So you’ll know that homeowner and designer Donna Powell’s (@donna_modernonmonticello) entryway was prime for a mid-century-inspired redo, with its original solid wood front door, its stone tile floors, and wood-paneled closet doors. Her home’s entrance had great bones, but it was a little beat up. “It had been ignored and neglected for many years, and mostly served as a passthrough to other parts of the house,” Donna says. “A few years ago, one of our dogs chewed through two of the pocket doors during a storm.”

Credit: Donna Powell

She and her husband, Brian, decided to tackle the space in the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge, with the goals of repairing the pocket doors, adding an accent wall, and making the style more cohesive with the rest of the mid-century style rooms in the house.

The hardest part — but also Donna’s favorite part — of the redo was revamping the closet doors. “We had to shop around to find replacement hollow core doors for the two damaged doors to match the other two in the room,” Donna says. They also had to find door hardware that would work on the existing tracks inside the walls.

Credit: Donna Powell

“My husband, Brian, did most of the heavy work on the doors,” Donna says.

Donna and Bryan selected a deep blue paint (Behr’s Academic Navy) for the doors to add a pop of color. “Painting the doors in a deep navy color took several weeks and just as many layers of polyurethane to give the doors a tough coating against active dogs,” she says. But the work was worth it.

“I am so proud of the way the doors look in the navy color,” she says. “It gives the room such added surprise character when they are closed.”

Credit: Donna Powell

Even though they painted the doors, they maintained lots of mid-century-inspired wood tones throughout by keeping the original front door, adding a weathered timber accent wall and a rewired vintage light fixture inspired by custom furniture designer George Nakashima — another one of Donna’s favorite upgrades that she says “has so much more charm and character” than the flush-mount from before.

The other mid-century inspired DIYs in the space is the orange side table inspired by the oh-so-’70s tulip silhouette, which is made from two lampshades welded together and a rounded wood slab from Michael’s on top (spray painted in Rust-Oleum’s Orange Satin)— a $30 DIY. (The entire entryway project cost about $600.)

Credit: Donna Powell

Donna finished off her retro-inspired space with an orange doormat from Etsy and abstract wooden wall decor. “I just love the after of this room and it looks exactly like I envisioned,” she says.

For more retro-inspired redos, check out these nine throwback projects.

This project was completed for the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge, in partnership with Apartment Therapy. See even more of the One Room Challenge before and afters here.