Tired of the peeling, cracking vinyl flooring or chipped tiles in your mid-century home? When considering your next flooring options, go “outside the box” for inspiration and ideas. I know I’ve said don’t rip up the original tiles in previous blog posts, but sometimes replacing the whole floor becomes more cost-effective than tracking down enough tiles to acceptably match that flamingo pink. How about some of these options?
Concrete: Like me, you might have a basement that’s in need of some TLC. Go “naked”…rip up the flooring and embrace your concrete. Many options exist today for overlays, polishing, and more.
Wood in the Kitchen: You don’t need to stick with vinyl in the kitchen. Wood flooring to match the rest of the house (have you looked under those carpets lately?!) makes for a seamless transition.
VCT: Love the look of those old vinyl tiles that look like they’ve been scuffed a million times over? The answer is Azrock TexTile, environmentally-friendly, economically smart, and retrotastic!
A little Palm Springs in Seattle…this mid-century beauty has all the charm!
This well-preserved 1961 mid-century rambler is situated on an 11,000+ lot just across from Seattle Golf Club and a stone’s throw to The Highlands. You can “live large” in all spaces from a grand piano-sized living room to an over-sized family room. Three spacious bedrooms each with a minimum of two closets. Both living areas boast a beautiful stone fireplace that could warm any cool Northwest evening. Huge kitchen with upgraded stainless appliances. Available at $675,000. Find out more details on my Coldwell Banker Bain listing page.
If you are considering painting your home’s exterior this summer, have you chosen your paint scheme yet? This paint palette was developed in the 1950s by Beatrice West, a mid-century color and design maven for housing developments.
If these colors don’t excite you, check out Retro Renovation, an excellent resource for paint color recommendations including the authentic Eichler colors with names like “California Redwood” and “Coast Guard Gray”. While you’re on the website, sign up for their weekly newsletter for tips and tricks to keep your mid-century gem groovy.
We mid-century homeowners typically have a little bit more to do because of the ages of our homes. Here are a few tips* to make sure that you are ready for summer no matter where you live – Seattle or beyond.
___Service the furnace and air conditioner: When the weather begins warming up (sometimes not until July in Seattle), it’s time to take care of your heating and cooling units. Call in a professional to perform an annual service on your furnace and/or air conditioner. For Seattle area readers, I have collected a list of vendors that I or clients have been happy with over the years. You can find this list on my website.
___Clean and repair window screens: Remove screens and lay them on the grass, driveway, or patio. Dust with a soft cloth or brush with a clean paint brush. Scrub each side with a soft bristle brush in a solution of soapy water. Hose off and let dry. Small tears can be mended with a needle and thread.
___Replace vacuum cleaner bags: For those of you with an old, hand-me-down vacuum cleaner from your parents, you might, like me, forget that you need to replace the vacuum bag even if it’s not full of pet hair and dirt. Dust and allergens collect in the bags, so take it outside when removing the bag. Wear a bandana or mask to protect your lungs. While you have the vacuum open, take the time to dust and clean inside.
Got any other tips for Mr. Roger and mid-century homeowners?
Not quite the same as the REAL Mister Rogers, but this Mr. Roger got his “15 minutes of fame” on the Brashenomics Show on 1150AM KKNW. I was invited to speak about mid-century homes in Seattle – their pros (style, open space) and cons (oil tanks, chipped tiles). You can watch my radio interview below.
You’ve seen them pinned on Pinterest boards, posted on Facebook, and written about on blogs…house plans for TV shows and movies. Mr. Roger has combed the Internet Highway for a house plan of Mister Rogers’ house. (If you find one, please let Mr. Roger know!)
Instead of a house plan, I’ll try to recreate it with words. Built in 1967, Mister Rogers’ house is a modest brick bungalow with gabled windows and awnings on the front windows. Inside was decorated in a classic mid-century style with an retro orange plaid couch, mod brown/blue/green pattered curtains, wooden kitchen table with vinyl patterned chairs, and don’t forget that wood bench with blue cushion that he sits on each time he changes into his classic blue sneakers.
From the opening shot of the little brick house at the end of the street…
With the swing on the welcoming porch…
Wood paneled doors with long wrought iron door hinges…
His closet full of cardigans…
His living room and kitchen with the traffic light (and fish tank)…
And that iconic ’50s-style white refrigerator in the kitchen.
If you’re still curious about Mister Rogers’ house, watch the video on PBS Kids to see how the house comes together with narration from Mister Rogers and Mr. McFeely.
“Won’t you, please, won’t you, please, please, won’t you be my neighbor?”
While out previewing homes for buyers this week, Mr. Roger found a few gems, but the highlight of the day was a mid-century home in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. The kitchen is perfect, according to Mr. Roger’s standards, because it’s in tact! And the main floor bath, well, it’s untouched beauty should be recognized in Atomic Ranch (sadly Mr. Roger was not able to capture this rarity on film)! The owners obviously love and appreciate the mid-century style because the furniture and accessories complement the 1951 home with its wide-open spaces with good entertaining options and a nice flow to spacious and private patios in the front and back of the home. Why is it that these mid-century homes just make you want to entertain???
This area of Seattle usually has much older homes, so it was a delight to discover this gem in such a nice, centrally-located neighborhood in Seattle. It was indeed a beautiful day in the neighborhood!
Photos courtesy of Liz Chalmers, Windermere RENW Eastlake
One of the benefits of being a Realtor is helping people find their dream home. It doesn’t matter what stage of life they are in – a 20-something looking for their first condo, a young couple in search of a house, newcomers relocating to Seattle, empty nesters looking to downsize – Mr. Roger enjoys being a part of the home-buying process with these folks, at the cusp of a beautiful relationship between the occupants and the structure. Dorothy was right…there’s no place like home.
Mr. Roger is feeling a bit nostalgic (okay, when am I not?!?) for the days of post-war glory and hope, when cities were busting at the seams, spreading out and creating neighborhoods full of new developments. Let’s take a trip on the Internet highway for a look at the American Dream of the mid-century…home.
It’s time for a good, old-fashioned revival! No, not the religious kind. (Well, for some of us, mid-century worship is a religion.) A mid-century home renovation revival! It’s happening all of the country in neighborhoods near you!
While the “big daddies” of mid-century architecture are being preserved (Eames, Wright, Neutra, the list goes on) and blogged and written about in national news outlets, there are also the “Average Joes/Janes” who are revamping mid-century homes to their past glories. Not an Average Jane herself, Pam Kueber of Retro Renovation, whose devotion to the mid-century era is definitely something to worship, remodeled her 1951 colonial-ranch home and helps other who wish to follow in her footsteps. In my daily travels through cyberspace, I’ve discovered a few of these mid-century converts who blog about their daily escapades of retro home remodeling in a modern world.
The mid-century modern movement of the 1950s and early ‘60s is hot (thank you, Mad Men). Homes with sleek, clean lines of wood, brick, and stone siding and walls of glass were the “cat’s meow”. But not all homes built in the mid-century were necessarily modern – just plain, old-fashioned mid-century. Some of us (or maybe just me!) want to celebrate the quaint “Average Joe” mid-century homes (not the Eichler’s or Neutra’s of the world).
Post-war neighborhoods were expanding beyond their urban borders. Cities’ rural “outskirts” soon became in-city hotbeds for builders. However, in many cities like Seattle, these builders did not have the luxury of large swaths of land to build upon. Parcels were divvied up to accommodate post-war population growth, and modest homes built for families who wanted close proximity to jobs and shopping (e.g., Northgate Mall for all you Seattlites).
Mid-century homes, built between 1945 – 1965, modestly emulated the modern architecture’s mantra of “living within nature.” No walls of glass like their suburban counterparts, but large windows to bring in the sunlight and brick exteriors for energy-efficiency made mid-century homes a “dream come true” city dwellers.
So, are you mid-century (the Cleavers) or mid-century modern (the Jetsons)?