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Do you have a spreadsheet to help me manage my remodel?

26 min read Spreadsheets are the secret ingredient that takes you from planning a remodel to project managing one. Yours should look like this:

Once you have a Master Plan, how do you get ready to work with contractors? Put another way … how do you transition from the planning phase to the doing phase of your remodel? (The secret is going to be a spreadsheet!)

For some people this means finding a trustworthy organization to handoff your entire project to and go back to your life. But what if you are planning on being a bit more hands on and self-managing? Or even planning to DIY some big chunks of your remodel?

Either way, you need a few tools to help you be the boss your remodel from the planning phase right through until the punch list.

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Are skylights and light tubes too modern for a mid-century house? 

30 min read Most mid-century homes are a little light on natural light in certain areas. Pun intended. If you’ve done all you can to light your home with open interior spaces and maximized window openings. Have you considered bringing in light from above?

Mid-century homes are often kind of light on daylight, so I get a lot of questions about whether skylights and light tubes are appropriate and feasible options. The short answer? Heck yeah!

Now, there are plenty of horror stories out there about leaky mid-century skylights. And those were well founded at the time. But times have CHANGED, my friends and today’s skylight and light tube options are vastly superior to their mid-century predecessors. They are very appropriate for the era and have finally reach a level of performance mid-century moderns could only dream of.

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Should I replace my mid-century windows?

26 min read Replacement windows may not be any better…and are likely worse…than your home’s original windows. Learn how to tell when it’s better to keep the OG’s and how to make smart window replacement choices for your home.

Tis the season for window replacement folks to make the rounds in many mid-century neighborhoods, sharing the “good news” of vinyl replacement windows. 

And for well meaning neighbor to extoll the new maintenance free replacement windows they just installed?

Plus, it’s ALWAYS the right time of year for the contractor you’re discussing your home update with to suggest that you add “replace every window” to the budget.  After all … aren’t those originals (gasp) single pane glass!?!

So … should you?

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How to plan a Mid-century landscape…is that a thing?

42 min read Let’s talk mid-century landscaping with a certified expert – Jim Drzewiecki of Ginkgo Leaf Studio.

I get asked about the right landscape design for a mid-century a lot.

And, while I do design outdoor “rooms” and have a landscape at my own house, I am far from the expert on designing beautiful gardens. Seriously…I only just succeeded in not killing (most of) my houseplants in the last couple of years. 

So to tackle all your landscaping questions I called up a landscaping expert.

A chat with an MCM Landscape specialist

And big giant bonus? An expert who specializes in design for mid-century homes. Jim Drzewiecki, APLD, award-winning principal designer, is the founder and owner of Ginkgo Leaf Studio where he and Hannah Paulson design beautiful landscapes for all kind of homes. 

Here’s the secret to a great mcm landscape

Long story short: The best way to design a landscape to fit your mid-century house is to … listen to the house! Jim so good at doing just that. He’s interested in the shapes and materials on a good MCM house. And not locked into (probably) overgrown and (almost certainly) DIYed plant placements from decades of yore.

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What are the best mid-century flooring choices?

31 min read The best mid-century flooring for your house? It really does depend – on your taste, the size of your pets, the age of your kids and even your tendency to be a little bit of a butterfingers.

What is the best mid-century flooring for your house? I get this question ALL the time and I have a lot of opinions about it. But before I tell you about what I like and what I’d choose … we need to focus on you.

Short version: it depends on what you want

That’s because my answer to you, to my clients, to my students and to everybody who asks me this is …

It depends.

Now, when I answer this way, I’m not hedging or hesitating. 

I do have opinions about and experience with many types of flooring in all sorts of applications. And strong personal preferences of my own!

But when people ask “What’s the best mid-century flooring?”, what they actually mean to ask is, “What’s the best mid-century flooring for me and for my house?” And that’s where it really does depend. 

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How long will my remodel take?

26 min read TL;DR: Your remodel will probably take longer than you hoped, but you can shorten the timeline of the actual work by investing your time in solid planning!

One of the questions I get asked most often (right after how much will my remodel cost) is, hey, how long will my remodel take?

We all want a solid answer to this question before moving forward. But the reality is how long it all takes depends on how much of your house is affected, who does the work, when it starts and HOW DECISIVE YOU ARE ALONG THE WAY!

So … the answer is it depends.

But I’ve got good news for you as well as bad news, here. Because it depends on some factors you can predict and sometimes factors you can control with your own choices!

TL;DR: Your remodel will probably take longer than you hoped, but you can shorten the timeline of the actual work by investing your time in solid planning!

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What we CAN learn from HGTV.

25 min read Today we are going a little more positive in our HGTV exploration. Because it is SO FUN to look at other people’s homes.

OK, so I spend a lot of time warning Mid-Century homeowners off of getting their ideas and advice from general shelter media. A lot of it is just not for us. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing we can learn from HGTV.

Home improvement shows (and magazines, and social media) give us lots of chances to look at other peoples homes. And to observe those people looking at lots of different homes. And even have the occasional good Mid-Century design idea. (It happens!)

Let’s talk about what we can learn from HGTV.

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White Paint. It is STILL not the answer: Please don’t paint your mid-century woodwork

30 min read Today’s episode is going to be a love story to the wooden elements of a mid-century home. The main takeaway? Leave your original mid-century wood alone.

White paint on original mid-century wood work? Well, that depends.  But in a well planned mid mod update the answer is almost ALWAYS … no!

Why you should NOT paint mid-century wood

If you have unpainted original wood in your home, set the paint brush down and step away.

You and future occupants of your home will thank you.

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White paint is not the answer: don’t paint your MCM stone (or brick)

25 min read Today let’s talk about why slapping a coat of white paint on your mid-century brick, stone or concrete block is never the right answer.

Look … I’m going to get straight to the point. The internet is full of advice to “slap a nice fresh coat of paint onto your mid-century ____.” You fill in the blank: stone, brick, block, and woodwork. But in almost every case, white paint is NOT the answer.

Painting over stone (and brick or block) is a trendy, thoughtless, cheap (in a bad way) and very permanent move.

Long story short: Don’t paint stone or brick

So let’s talk about why you keep getting that advice, and then let’s break down some of the mid-century materials in a mid-century house you should not paint over.

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A ranch is not a cottage (and it never will be).

21 min read There are key difference between cottages and mid-century ranch homes. Your ranch is not a cottage, so steer clear of trendy cottage style updates.

Your ranch is not a cottage and it never will be. These are two different types of houses right down to their bones to the floor plan that is, and right up to every little detail that makes each of these different types of houses great. 

Modern cottage style (and it’s cousin pure white modern farm house style) are all the rage on social media, shelter magazines and HGTV right now. And there’s nothing at all wrong with those design choices … for houses that started out as cottages, farm houses, or with no style at all because they were built in 1980 or later.

But cottage style choices are just not right for your mid-century home. Let’s talk about why …

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