25 Days of Design: An AV Advent Calendar of MCM Design Advice


Everyone likes to add a little extra charm around the holidays to their home.

Bringing out seasonal decorations makes us take a fresh look at the space where we spend all of our days. Shortening daylight makes us think about how to maximize the comfort and joy in our homes. As well it should – we need a recurring chance to reevaluate our homes are doing for us

To me, this seems like a great time to dream a little bigger than holiday decor! While you’re thinking about how to bring a little brightness and cheer to your house for the season, let’s also think about how improve it in the medium and long-term!

I’m going to spend the next twenty five days sharing design insights in a short video every day. The first one is already up on @midmodmidwest. Or, if you prefer, you can get it on the podcast. See you tomorrow for another!

Day 2: I already love your MCM Home

Seriously, before I can even get into a pep talk about what you can do to improve on your house … let’s talk about how great it is already. Because mid-century homes, no matter how modest, ARE great.

What’s your favorite thing about your house right now?

Day 3: Let your Home Improvement be Easy

Really! Let’s totally re-frame what it means to Home Improve. It might be a totally dramatic full-gut remodel project or … it might just be fixing some small thing that regularly bugs you.

I want to empower you to take on house tweaking projects RIGHT NOW and to start thinking now about bigger projects you might approach in the future.

What’s the easiest thing you’ve done to “tune up” your house so far?

Day 4: My (Secret) Favorite Kind of Remodel

I don’t want to tell you which of my design “children” is my favorite … but I have one! Today let’s talk about the magic of a mid-sized remodel that you can manage (and even build) yourself.

This is the place where you have the best ability to control the outcome and get the absolute MOST for your effort.

AND … this kind of remodel let’s you really lead the process and make sure that you keep (and improve) on the MCM elements of your home!

Say “hey” if you love to DIY around your house and tell us in the comments what your best Level 2 home improvement project has been!

Day 5: What you NEED to know if you plan a Contractor Led Remodel

Sometimes you want to go all in. If you are dreaming of an additition, a big change to your layout, or another giant transformation for your home … you’ re going to need to hire out that work. So far so good.

Levering the expertise and energy of other people is the way to get that done.

But when you are bringing on a team to fundamentally change the way your home IS … you want to have a really clear vision.

Raise your hand if you know a story about a contractor-led remodel that went off the rails (yikes). Here’s how you can keep yours right on track!

Day 6: Use the rule of three to make easy design choices

Sometimes the biggest challenge in planning updates for your home can be deciding what you like … or if you like an idea enough to pursue it. Use this easy trick to help clarify any decision!

Have you given this one a spin? Say hey in the comments if you’ve ever “goldilocks-ed” your way to a smart choice!

Dec 7: When to SPEND in your Remodel

I’m all about planning a remodel with a budget you can live with … but, order to really love your home improvement project when its done, you need to splurge in a few key areas.

“Which ones?” you ask …

Well that, my friend is up to you. Let’s talk about how to plan a budget friendly remodel that will still make you burst with pride when you walk in the door every day.

Dec 8: Q&A How to Replace things in your MCM Home

Shout out to alert reader @midmij who responded to my Day 1 call for questions with this: 

“Request for a mini episode – I am interested to hear your thoughts on bedroom/interior doors. Our doors are not hardwood, but the kind that match the trim. One needs to be replaced (hole kicked in middle – not by me!).”

GREAT question.  And the answer is … there are several ways to handle this.  Let’s chat about them …

Dec 9: What does MCM mean to you?

Don’t worry that I’m going to tell you that you’ve got it wrong.  I’d never do that.  In fact … whatever you think of as Mid-Century Modern can work for you.  It’s a big tent term.  But to nail down what you like a little more closely … try the handy Style Quiz I created.  It’s right on my homepage or at www.midmod-midwest.com/stylequiz.  Take the quiz and let me know what answer you got!

Dec 10: Shout out to my Vintage Mid-Century Purists!

If you wish you could climb into a time machine and travel back to claim an original MCM build … this is your style.  So how do you go about making the most of it.  Let’s talk about Mid Century Vintage, Mid Century Traditonal and Mid Century Modest.  How does your love for Americana play out in your MCM vibe?  

Dec 11: What Not to Do – Fake Shutters

While we are on the subject of Mid-century Vintage style homes … they are the ONLY ones that can get away with shutters (real or fake) on their MCM homes.  Today I have a little rant to share about how much I don’t love fake shutters and why you should pull them off your house tomorrow if you’ve got them.   

Not Kidding. 

If you want to just take a spin through some truly terrible bad shutter applications and shake your head … check out my fellow vintage house lover (different vintage) @thecraftsmanblog.  Their regular series of shutter failures is horrifying or very funny depending on your piont of view and general mood.

If you want to make a pitch for why your house NEEDS shutters … try me.  I’ll listen.  If you want to tell me you already took yours down … send pics.  I promise to applaud you!! 


Dec 12: When you love Mid-century style but know it needs a few tweaks to fit your modern life

Hey did you take the Mid-Century Style quiz yet?   Go do it!  And if you get Mid Mod Fusion as your answer … then you and me are just like that!

I absolutely adore the design ethos and details of the mid-century era … but I recognize we may need to update some (or quite a few) parts of an MCM house to match modern life.  That’s fine because they were designed to be easy to update!  If this is your favorite style, shout me out in the comments.  I want us to be friends!

Dec 13: How to spice your love for Modernism with a little Mid-Century

To those of you who fall on the very contemporary end of the MCM spectrum … hey there, friend!  Let’s talk about how you can triage a mid-century era house to turn it into a contemporary dream home … while tying in a few elegant icons of the MCM moment.

Dec 14: Give the Gift of Design

To those of you who fall on the very contemporary end of the MCM spectrum … hey there, friend!  Let’s talk about how you can triage a mid-century era house to

Is there’s an MCM homeowner on your holiday list that you just can’t buy for?  Why not give them the gift of design? 
This could be the perfect gift for your spouse, your house, or … yourself!
Sign up at www.midmod-midwest.com/services for a one hour MCM design consultation that could transform your home!  
Make their year!  Give them a One Hour MCM Design Consultation with an architect OBSESSED with mid-century design(that’s me)!
A one hour call could be all you need to get the answers and confidence to move forward on your next home improvement project.  I’ve had clients go on to:

  • transform their front entry,
  • game out an entire exterior update
  • decide on all the materials for their kitchen over haul,
  • firm up their plans for the next year,
  • and settle the details for their garage addition and front deck

… all in a one hour call.  (If you need more help than that … check out our other Mid-Century Design Packages!
Schedule your MCM Design Consultation call now for the new year and let your loved one know what’s coming at gift-opening time!  Or just treat yourself right now.

Dec 15: Q&A How to Add Car Space around an MCM home

To those of you who fall on the very contemporary end of the MCM spectrum …

This is a super common issue since modern families own more cars per adult than people did when the MCM housing stock was built.  If you don’t love parking on the street, here are some ways to think about adding more car space to your home.


Dec 16th: Communicating Well with your Designer

This is the QUESTION for any homeowner planning and update and I have the ANSWER.  You can use the steps of the Masterplan Method to get all your design ducks in a row and then share them clearly with a designer of your choice to ensure the best result.

Dec 17: Ten Tips to Save Big Money when you Remodel

This is the QUESTION for any homeowner planning and update and I have the

Grab your notebook, because this is going to be good!  We all want to get the most bang for our remodeling buck.  Here is a lighting round good cost-saving ideas to incorporate into your mid-century remodeling plans!
Which one of these feels easiest to you?  Share your own cost saving measures in the comments!

Dec 18: Your Home is Already Green and Here’s Why

Do you ever think of remodeling your ranch as a strike for sustainability? I do. There are so many ranches across America waiting to be someone’s dream home. So, choosing one to remodel is green – as in sustainable – compared to any new construction except maybe the most dramatic of Passivhaus or LEED Certified new homes. 

Why? The choice to remodel is green, inherently. You can protect undeveloped space, cut down on building materials and waste, and keep your home smaller. Good on you!

Dec 19: What you Can Do During a Remodel for a More Sustainable Home 

Part two of yesterday’s post on sustainable mid century homes: the best thing you can do to make your house really green is make choices that you absolutely love.

Seriously, keeping your house alive and well, and out of the landfill, it’s a really sustainable choice. For more practical tips keep listening to learn about how to improve your houses relationship with the sun, with heat, with cooling and more!

Want to  learn more about green design for mid century remodels drop me a DM and let me know what your specific questions are! 

Dec 20: How to See Beyond what you Have and Imagine your Dream Home

We often plan a remodel around what we DON’T like about our house right now. That’s perfectly valid … but a little negative.  Use this thought exercise to go beyond what you have right now and dream up some ways to make your home more than it can be.

Dec 21: Learn your Home’s History for Fun and Profit

How much do you now about the history of your MCM house?  Do you wish you knew more?  The holidays are a perfect time to tap into your BEST resource for learning more about hour house.  Take a plate of cookies to your eldest neighbor and get some great backstory on the home you love!

Dec 22: The Hardest Thing about a Remodel … Made Easier

There is one thing that stresses out home owners planning a remodel more than any other factor.  It isn’t fixing an intractable layout challenge.  And it isn’t even writing the checks.  It’s picking out all the various finishes.  So many people find this to be the ultimate challenge that I’ve built a whole system into both my Master plan packages AND my Ready to Remodel program to address it.  Today let’s talk about how a simple style guide for your home can simplify  every decision.

Dec 23: What part of your house most needs and update …

… and why is it your kitchen.  Seriously.  As much as I love the look of a mid-century kitchen, their layouts leave a lot to be desired.  Pretty much EVERY SINGLE ONE of my master plan clients needs some help solving the problems of their kitchen layout.

That’s why I’m SO EXCITED to announce that in January I’m going to be sharing all my kitchen update know how with you in a Live Kitchen Update Workshop.  Will you be there?

Get your name on the wait list right here:www.midmod-midwest.com/waitlist

Dec 24: Your Home Update Progress in 2021 … and 2022

I’m winding up work for the year and thinking about deadlines, goals and projects completed. There’s so much accomplished this year… And so much I meant to that will have to happen next year. How about you?

What is on your list for 2022?