Refreshing a Ranch-Style Home
West Seattle Mid-Century
Remodeling a classic Seattle ranch home to celebrate its mid-century style.
This home, though brimming with potential and mid-century charm, was overshadowed by an inefficient layout and dreary colors that made it feel old beyond its years. The homeowners wanted to reimagine every space, but within the existing footprint, to create a home that “lived larger” than the original layout.
Though a common house plan available in the period it was built, the Seattle ranch-style home felt cramped and compressed, and definitely without the more open, larger kitchen desired these days. The homeowners sought a modern and spacious home that respected — and highlighted — the strong, existing mid-century design elements. A true primary bedroom suite and an open living/ kitchen/dining experience were musts, as was a closer connection to the yard. In just over 1,200 square feet, the updated interiors deliver comfortable spaces with everything the family needs.
In celebration of the home’s history, the vaulted wood ceilings and original fireplace were not only kept intact but used as the launching point of our design. Largely ignored in the original design, the wood ceiling detail is carried throughout the home’s updates, a common element linking discrete spaces together while maintaining the thread connecting the whole home to its history.
The original stone fireplace now anchors a cozy sitting room. In keeping with the homeowners’ wish for an open plan, a dining area stands immediately beyond the sitting room, while large windows at the front and a sliding door at the back of the house draw your gaze through the space to the gardens and yard beyond.
Adjacent, an all-new kitchen is the heart of the home. To make the generous kitchen possible we recaptured what had been a half-finished, carport-turned-living-space that felt cut off from the rest of the house, like the afterthought it was. Repurposed as the kitchen, the room is now light and airy (helped by a large skylight) and provides comfortable overflow space for the more modest living and dining areas.
Perhaps most delightful detail of the whole house is a third bedroom and office concealed by a swinging kitchen bookshelf. The bookshelf not only provides storage but maintains the integrity of both the public and private spaces within the home – and is a fun mystery to uncover, to boot.
Throughout the home, details abound. Standout moments of color – like the cyan chevron tile in the kitchen – enliven the home with a consistent palette of cooler blues and greens paired with warm yellows and oranges. Accent walls bring character to the bedrooms and, throughout, are displays of the homeowners’ collection of mid-century furniture and art, each a celebration of their love for the period and style.
West Seattle Mid-Century
Photo by Tina Witherspoon.
With the whole home reflecting these homeowners’ style, everything feels like it fits. Never do you turn a corner and wish you’d bothered to refresh the guest bathroom, or repainted that accent wall — though bright and vibrant, the home hums with the sense of calm that a comprehensive design brings to a space.
From the primary bedroom suite down the hall, the connection to the previously-inaccessible side yard is reestablished via French doors opening to a new private patio. The now-abundant natural light highlights the accent wall of eye-catching geometric wallpaper and reinforces the connection to the outdoors so important to the homeowners.
A simple paint refresh on the exterior exemplifies our approach to the project as a whole: to bring cohesive, beautiful, and cost-effective update to this home without disrupting its inherent charm. Previously hidden behind imperfections in the original design, the home now pays homage to its history while feeling open and modern, just like the homeowners desired.
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