You know that one friend who always looks impeccably put together? Not a hair out of place, every bit of the outfit perfectly adhering to one specific aesthetic down to the nail polish. This house is the residential manifestation of that one friend: It’s mid-century modern to a T, and according to homeowner Carrie Waller, that was the point all along.
“I like to imagine the original owners of the house coming over and feeling like they walked back into the future when the home was first built,” says Waller, a designer, stylist, and blogger over at Dream Green DIY where she chronicles her decor adventures. “The house itself was really the jumping-off point for the style of the space. We’re doing our best to stay true to those mid-century lines with antique furniture and reproduction fixtures that suit the era, but are more in line with current housing and renovation codes.”
And while Waller and her husband have been renovating in chunks since moving into the Waynesboro, Virginia home back in October 2015, she says the home is never really “done.”
“Neither my husband nor I can sit still for very long around the house, and our favorite thing to do together as a couple is work on projects. Luckily, it’s a pretty productive pastime,” she adds.
Since the purchase, the 1,980-square-foot home has been painted a fresh shade of white and given a facelift with more modern kitchen and bathroom hardware. The goal, according to Waller, was to refresh the space rather than remodel it, because the original architecture of the 1962 A-frame home is what drew them in in the first place.
She started in the kitchen, the room where the couple spends the majority of their time (we can definitely relate). Brand new granite countertops and a white, subway tile backsplash bring light to the space, and new pulls on the cabinets refresh the area without taking away from the ‘60s-era vibe. They even kept the original 1960s stove, which according to Waller “works like a charm.”
Not that the entire process has been a breeze. “The real question is whether we had any successes,” says Waller when asked if there were any challenges with the project. “I was so naive when we first started this renovation. Our chimney isn’t doing so hot (pun intended), and I don’t think we’ll ever actually get rid of all the wallpaper hiding in the crevices throughout the house. I know I’m painting a kind of grim picture, but there’s absolutely no part of me that regrets embarking on this renovation journey.”
Read on to learn more about the ups and downs of Waller’s dream home renovation—plus, her secrets to maintaining a perfect mid-century modern vibe.
How did you play up the mid-century architecture?
Whenever we purchase new furniture and accessories, we focus on finding pieces that sport the kind of sleek, clean lines that the mid-century era is known for. We rarely “color” outside those lines, so you won’t find ornately carved side tables or chunky seating in our house.
Instead, we keep to a pretty specific formula—if it wasn’t made in the 1960s or made to look like it came from the 1960s, we try to avoid bringing it into the house. Of course, there are exceptions, but for the most part, we stay true to our enthusiasm for mid-century design.
Is there anything else you found helped you really make everything feel cohesive?
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve really honed in on what I love and also what I don’t love. Having finally pinned down my personal style has helped our home feel a lot more cohesive and intentionally layered. Before, whenever I would go to an antique or thrift store, I would buy pretty much everything that jumped out at me; now, I try to appreciate lots of things without feeling the need to actually take everything home. That new shopping mentality—not to mention sticking to a strict color scheme of blues, greens, wood tones, and neutrals—has made our home a lot more clutter-free, and has made me so much more aware of the things I know I’ll love long term.
What’s the story behind your favorite piece in the house?
How about your favorite DIY home projects—is there one that sticks out to you as most memorable?
I’ve always been really hands-on with DIY projects; anything from handmade wall hangings and paintings to bookshelves pieced together right on the living room floor. My all-time favorite DIY project is the faux wood paneling I painted in our master bedroom. No one believed that I could pull it off (myself included), but it turned out exactly how I had pictured it in my head and it was super easy to pull off, too.
Love the new kitchen cabinet knobs! What other small changes can make a big impact in a home?
I think a lot of people are intimidated by changing out light fixtures and ceiling fans, but this type of electrical work is super straightforward and easy to familiarize yourself with after you do it once or twice. I’m now in the habit of replacing overhead lights on a whim by myself—it’s that simple. This is an especially great project for renters, since [they] can hold onto the old fixture and put it back up before [they] move.
Fresh paint and new hardware are two of my other favorite ways to quickly refresh a room without having to enlist the help of a professional contractor or break out the power tools.
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