Midcentury Home in Maryland Updated for New Owners

When a couple with a love of midcentury modern style purchased a new home in Kensington, Md., they knew they wanted to maintain elements of its character. Working with Louis Balodemas, they kept the main frame of the home but added a fresh dose of color and a more modern layout. 

Midcentury Modern Home With Curb Appeal

Midcentury Modern Home With Curb Appeal

The home’s curb appeal was updated by installing a new entry door and sidelights; new windows, including an enlarged opening for the second-floor living room; new fiber cement siding for the upper level; and a new garage door. A new walkway was added to the street instead of having to come up the driveway. Heavy trim around the entry, garage door and new living room windows helped balance the façade.

Photo by: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Q: What inspired the style and design of this midcentury modern home? 

A: The homeowners, Dave and Dianne, were midcentury modern fans. In fact, they already had the furniture and their new items picked out. The curved sofa in the living room was a key element for the design, while Dianne drove the color palette, making selections and asking for my thumbs-up or thumbs-down. She has a very good eye.

Q: What were the main items on your client’s wish list for the remodeling/redesign of their home?

A: As a whole, they wanted a new kitchen, a flowing floor plan from the living room to the dining room and kitchen, more natural light, better views to the outside and all new bathrooms.

Q: How did you make the home more functional for your client?

The 'Brady Bunch' Staircase

The 'Brady Bunch' Staircase

The staircase leading into the foyer is an example of midcentury craftsmanship. Dark grey tile was added to accent the staircase's style. The original treads and railing were left, and the handrail was replaced with the wood cap that the client requested for a more authentic finish.

Photo by: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

A: The original layout, including the upper level living area, worked well for our clients, so we didn't alter it significantly. Instead, we focused on things like creating better access to the outside, increasing the size of the foyer, making it comfortable to enter, and remodeling the bathrooms and closets. Our clients really loved the "Brady Bunch" staircase, so we revived this by adding a new top rail cap. 

Q: What was your biggest obstacle in the remodeling process and how did you address it?

Chic, Midcentury Dining Room With Gallery Wall

Chic, Midcentury Dining Room With Gallery Wall

A black and white striped rug grounds the wood dining table and chairs in this midcentury style dining room. A long, white buffet provides essential storage for dinnerware, utensils and anything you might need for entertaining.

Photo by: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

A: Our biggest challenge was working within the existing footprint and framework of the house while making enough changes to achieve the aesthetic our clients wanted.

After discovering scissor trusses with sloped bottom chords in the attic, we found that we'd be able to take away the walls and flat ceilings and create a big open space with a cathedral-style ceiling. 

Q: How did you make transitions from room to room without losing the individuality of each space? 

A: With an open plan, it made sense for the walls of the living room, dining room and kitchen to be the same color, with accent only at the top of the stairs. Each of the bedrooms and bathrooms received a different color treatment, separated by doors and frames, but we kept all of the interior window frames black to help tie things together. And of course, the hardwood floors help by running through the main spaces as well. 

Q: Which room was your favorite to design?

Bright, Updated Entryway

Bright, Updated Entryway

The designers left the staircase and fieldstone planter in their original condition, but added a painted wood screen to separate the stairs from the lower-level family room and bedroom, the latter of which is now used as an office. Pushing out the entry door gave the foyer a bit more breathing room, and new porcelain tile flooring updated the look.

Photo by: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

A: My favorite space is the new foyer. It's probably the most dynamic spot in the home because it works with the existing staircase to enhance that sense of arrival.

We actually did the most work here by increasing the size, adding the screenwall, changing the handrail, picking new floor and adding new doors. 

Q: How did you select the new single sapele-wood garage door? 

Renovated, Midcentury Modern Home

Renovated, Midcentury Modern Home

The home’s curb appeal was updated by installing a new entry door and sidelights; new windows, including an enlarged opening for the second-floor living room; new fiber cement siding for the upper level; and a new garage door. The designers focused on increasing transparency and accentuating the horizontal character of the simple form.

Photo by: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

A: The sapele was recommended by our supplier. The old double-garage door overwhelmed the front of the house. We made the new garage one-and-a-half cars wide, so there's room to access bikes and tools.

The overhang of the second floor gave us the opportunity to do the stained wood with less worry about weatherings. So, by tying the wood across the front, we unified it with the main entrance and reduced the impact of the garage door. 

Q: What's the best thing about this house, in your opinion?

A: The best thing about the home is how transformed it feels with such minor alterations. That's why my favorite feature is the front facade; it looks so different now.

See The Dramatic Transformation:

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Before: Lackluster Exterior

Before the renovation, this home's exterior was a little lackluster, with traditional architecture and plain landscaping. While the robin's egg blue offered a nice contrast to the red brick, the colors were too subdued and blended easily with the yard. 

Dim Foyer With Little Space

With poor lighting and heavy accents, the foyer felt far from inviting. Though potted plants added natural greenery to the space, they also looked largely out of place. 

Cramped and Confining Kitchen

While cabinets and drawers provided plenty of storage solutions, they also unnaturally divided the kitchen. In turn, the space looked blocked off from the rest of the house and felt quite tight and cramped, which was not ideal for cooking or entertaining guests. 

After: Midcentury Home Boasts Red Door

Now, this two-story midcentury modern home boasts a beautiful exterior, complete with slate gray siding and a vibrant red door. White trim pops around the enlarged windows, while a new walkway was installed to create an entry with curb appeal.  

Photo By: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Single-Car Garage Door

The designers suggested removing the original two-car garage door and replacing it with a sapele wood-lined, single-car garage door. The extra space now serves as storage for bicycles and other equipment. 

Photo By: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Bright, Updated Entryway

The designers left the staircase and fieldstone planter in their original condition, but added a painted wood screen to separate the stairs from the lower-level rooms. Pushing out the entry door gave the foyer a bit more breathing room, just as new porcelain tile floors updated the look.

Photo By: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Entry Features Eclectic Accents

The renovated entryway features chic, midcentury modern style with a wooden console table, black and white striped rug and a framed retro photograph. An Asian-inspired sculpture and funky fixture give the space an eclectic touch. 

Photo By: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Beautiful Wood Staircase

The staircase leading into the foyer is an example of fine midcentury craftsmanship, with a beautiful wood cap that the client requested. Paired with grey tile, the streamlined piece creates a stunning contrast in the entry.

Photo By: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Flowing Floor Plans

The open floor plan of the kitchen and living spaces allows for seamless entertaining. Overhead, skylights fill the home with natural light, while white walls become the perfect backdrop for colorful accents. 

Open Kitchen With Wired Barstools

The kitchen was renovated to reflect stylish, midcentury modern design. Floor-to-ceiling cabinets provide essential storage space, and a long island offers room to prep and dine. Wire-backed barstools and light hardwood floors complete the fresh, open aesthetic.

Photo By: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Kitchen Includes Pendant Lights

The refrigerator was tucked out of view from the living room, while the oven was pushed to the far end for as much continuous counter space as possible. Above, three pendant lights illuminate the setting. 

Photo By: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Open Living Spaces

Walls were removed between the kitchen and dining room, as well as between the dining room and living room to make the interior feel airy and open. The result is a home that feels soothing and spacious. 

Photo By: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Chic Dining Space With Gallery Wall

A black and white striped rug grounds the wood dining table and chairs in this midcentury style dining room. A long buffet provides storage for dinnerware and utensils, while a gallery above creates visual interest. 

Photo By: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Cozy Living Room With Plush Seating

A rounded blue sectional with a small leather ottoman and cowhide rug offers a cozy spot to sit by the fireplace. By the window, a brown leather armchair becomes a great reading nook with plenty of natural lighting.

Photo By: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Bathroom Features Whimsical Patterns

Light blue and gray create a serene look for this guest bathroom. The circular pattern tile floor complements the shower curtain and adds a whimsical touch to the design. 

Photo By: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Upstairs Hallway

Continuing with the midcentury modern design, the upstairs hallway includes hardwood flooring, a dark gray accent wall and black metal railing topped with wood. A sputnik chandelier illuminates the space.

Photo By: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Gray and White Master Bathroom

Sleek and serene, this bathroom design features a spacious walk-in shower with a rainfall showerhead. A dark brown vanity adds beautiful contrast to the gray and white space.

Photo By: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Back Patio & Screened-In Porch

Simple, bright blue chairs offer a place to sit ad relax on this back patio. A screened-in porch includes more comfortable seating to be enjoyed year-round.

Photo By: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Outdoor Dining Space

Beside the screened-in porch, bench seating offers a place to dine outdoors. The kiddos can chase fireflies across the backyard while the parents chat from the table. 

Photo By: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Illuminated Exterior

Thanks to its expansive glass windows, the home practically glows from the inside out, casting the exterior in a soft warm light at night. 

Photo By: Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

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Louis Balodemas

Contact Me
Balodemas Architects
balarch.com/ AIA 4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 149 Washington, DC 20008 202-363-4820