Ready to Remodel Student Stories

36 min read Can’t get enough mid-century house talk? Listen in on updates from recent Ready to Remodel students.

I LOVE updates from our homeowners, both design clients and Ready to Remodel students!

Photos in the Facebook group are great. Emails with project pictures? A delight!

I bet YOU like to peek inside other people’s remodeling process, too!

This is one of my favorite parts of setting up a strong Mid Mod ReMod Squad – you get to hear all about everyone else’s projects. 

Their wins can feel like your wins.

Their challenges make yours feel a little easier.

And their advice can prove INVALUABLE as you work to avoid remodeling regret for your own home.  

So, I’ve borrowed a little Mid Mod ReMod Squad energy to share with you today.   

I reached out to see if some of my Ready to Remodel students had a few minutes to spend catching me up on their remodels and their experience in the program. We chatted on Zoom and edited those convos into a podcast for you…   

In Today’s Episode You’ll Hear:

What happens when you join a program that really supports your remodel?

You might…

Lower the purchase price of your home

Even before you HAVE a house, you can get more specific in your house hunt and widen the range of your possibilities to include houses that you know need a little work … because you know you’ll be able to make that work happen.

All three of these students found Ready to Remodel before or during their home search, so they already knew they would be ready to tackle the projects that would transform their new house into their perfect home.   

✨ Widen your perspective to consider life-changing updates that were not even on your radar.

When Monica joined Ready to Remodel, she was feeling overwhelmed by all the choices in her remodel and wondering if they just needed to move again. She was thinking about how to transform each individual space, before thinking about how her family would live in the space now and in the near future. Her budget kept running up against the (seemingly) millions of potential projects they could take on.

Ready to Remodel helped Monica break her remodel into pieces and recognize that as a married couple with a dog, they didn’t actually need to prioritize their basement right now. They could focus on improving the spaces they use every day!

✨ Stand your ground on design decisions.

Dana felt better prepared to push back on advice that was not right for her mid-century home thanks to Ready to Remodel. “Having this person stand in front of me and say ‘We want to do this.’ And I felt confident responding ‘That sounds great. But that’s not for this house.’ Being able to say that even though it was really hard, I think saved us from mistakes. And I don’t think I would have felt confident without Ready to Remodel.”

✨ Track down the perfect “make you happy” details.

Scott and Lydia are art lovers. They had one particular piece in mind for their dining room because the colors were pure mid-mod. Using this piece to anchor the look of their home was style guide simplification genius! And they were even able to take it one step further with a complementary commission by a local artist that pulled the color palette into their bedroom.   

Once they had identified art as the emotional center of their home, it was an easy next step to build a cohesive flavor that was also true to their love of mid-century.  

Ready to Remodel’s proven system of step-by-step planning will help you set your goals, become the expert in your house, and perfect the mid-century style of your update.
Now, we couldn’t include everything in the podcast…like Monica’s AMAZING Powerpoint or Scott and Lydia’s gorgeous art piece.

(But … Ready to Remodel students will get to see all the goods because I have permission to share the videos in the course.)

So, if you are planning a remodel and can’t get enough Mid Mod inspiration and stories from the remodeling trenches…

Maybe it’s time to join us in Ready to Remodel?

Listen Now On 

Apple | Google |  Spotify | Stitcher

Ready to Remodel Resources

And you can always…

Read the Full Episode Transcript

Della   00:00

One of the most fun parts of having a mid-modern Mod Squad a cadre of other mid-century homeowners planning great updates for their homes. While you plan yours is hearing their stories. Their wins feel like your wins their rough patches, make your own remodeling challenges feel a little easier, and their advice can be invaluable to help you avoid the pitfalls of a regrettable remodel.

Della   00:22

This is one of my favorite benefits of the ready to remodel program, that we have a community of people who not only care about doing their mid-century homes up right, but they’re actively in the process of making it happen now, and today, I’m going to share a little of that great Mid Mod ReMod Squad energy with you. Here are three chats I just had with ready to remodel students about what using the masterplan method has done for them and for their homes.

Della   00:47

Hey there, welcome back to mid mod remodel. This is the show about upgrading MCM homes helping you match a mid-century home to modern life. I’m your host Della Hansmann architect and mid-century ranch enthusiast, you’re listening to Episode 1210. As always, you’re gonna find the show notes with the links with the transcript of these chats on my website at mid mod detriment west.com/ 1210.

Della   01:08

But if you are curious about getting even more than I’ve put into the podcast recording because these chats ran a little long, I have put the uncut recorded interviews into the ready to remodel portal. So my current ready to remodel students, those are waiting for you in the replay library. Don’t miss a minute of their worst stories or the little design check in chats I had with each household at the end of our conversation. Just like all of our office hours calls design workshops and layout master challenges. These will be live forever in our replay library for all of our current ready to remodel students.

Della   01:41

Now if you listen to today’s episode, and you start feeling ready to join us instead of ready to remodel, to simplify, streamline and get started on your own remodel, then, now is the perfect time to make that happen. Take action today to get yourself into the program before we raise the price on June 1. Long story short, we’ve been adding benefit after feature after design tool after live workshop to the ready to remodel program over the last year. And we need to match the cost to the value again.

Della   02:09

But right now, you can still join us for the existing price, save more than $750 in the process and get started this summer. Look, I’ll say this with my whole heart remodeling can be a real challenge for everyone. But it doesn’t have to be as hard as most people make it. Don’t believe me? Listen in with a chat with Monica with Dana and David with Scott and Lydia about their homes.

Della   02:31

They have all come through the process with a system for making good choices, with the confidence to ask for what they really want from contractors and push back when they aren’t getting it. And a plan that unites the practical with the beautiful for each House Project large and small. And if listening to their stories gets you so excited, you have to pause right in the middle and go right over to our website to find out more about joining us now do that at mid mod dash midwest.com/june to get in before that crucial date. June 1.

Della   03:02

Hey, how’s it going? How are you? I’m well how are you? Good. I actually wanted to start with a question that I don’t know the answer to which is what drew you to your mid-century home was that this house the start of your mid-century journey? And did you know you were looking for it when you found it?

Monica  03:18

No. So I knew I liked mid-century, so I had a 1969 condo beforehand and knew I wanted this similar vibe in terms of like natural woodwork like minimal interior. It’s funny my taste has changed since moving into this house, which is a bit more of a time capsule than I think I was intending to have it turned into Yeah, I grew up reading well and loving that look, but then recognizing that it’s not necessarily the most appropriate thing for me personally to do to this this house. Right? I feel like

Della   03:49

well is mid-century house adjacent. It’s more modern. If you start to fall in love with a slightly more vintagey details, then you steer a path away from that a little bit.

Monica  04:00

Well, that’s I mean, that’s what happened was we were looking for a house that hadn’t been like remodeled. So finding a house that was had all the original character, you start to appreciate it and start to really think like do I do I actually dislike knotty pine paneling? You know, in reality actually grew on me. I’ve learned to really like it in our kitchen. So

Della   04:22

yeah, I also found a lot of things that have just grown on me about my house. So you found this house. What were you doing when you found ready to remodel? Did you already have the house and you’ve been mucking around in it for a while? Or how was that? How do we fit into your journey?

Monica  04:37

Yeah, exactly. So I own my house for about a year before I joined. I actually found you through Pinterest. You posted something with your yellow and black graphics. And I found it really helpful and then realized, oh, yeah, these classes in this podcast. I always knew that I wanted to make slow, like level two remodeling, but I’m a maximizer and then It became really challenging because there’s so many different things I could imagine doing. And it’s really struggling to identify like, what was the most effective way to go about the remodel. Without spinning it, you’re choosing a counter depth refrigerator. So this has really helped me get more action oriented in our remodel. So appreciate that.

Della   05:20

I love to hear you say that, because I think a lot of people worry that stopping to think about design will slow down the process of doing things. But it’s my opinion, and I found this borne out through you and many other of my clients and students that taking a little time to go through the steps and prioritize actually helps you break out of analysis paralysis and get into making decisions making progress happen, what were How are you feeling about making changes in the house, at that beginning of that process, or right before you found us you were feeling a little,

Monica  05:53

when we bought the house, I was like ready to go, I was like measuring stuff at the inspection. And then as I started analyzing on my own, before I joined your program, I started getting overwhelmed. And at a certain point, I was like, Maybe we should just move again. Because I was just to the point where I was realizing it’s gonna be a lot harder to do all the million things that I thought we were going to do. And I was overwhelmed with the siding. So your program really helped me sit down and kind of break it into pieces and recognize like what things were most important to us for our lives now. And in the near future.

Monica  06:29

When I started the program, I was thinking, What could I do to each individual space. So I had this grand plan about how we can make the basement way better, you know, a married couple with a dog, we don’t actually need that space. So why am I prioritizing remodeling money and energy in that space when we don’t even need it? Right?

Della   06:47

You sort of think about what spaces the house has, and you just start addressing them as they are. I think that’s so powerful to think about your household really needed. What does a couple with a dog really need. And if it’s entry Ranch, which has a lot of space, for an individual or for a couple, what was the biggest thing you wanted to get from the program, when you got started with us that you thought you were going to get from it the reason you signed up in the first place?

Monica  07:13

Good question, I wanted a big picture. Because I was recognizing that doing individual projects was potentially going to paint me in a corner that actually happened with my first the condo that we bought, I ended up getting to the point where I’d replaced the floors and the windows and then ran out of money of what I wanted to spend my money on. Right.

Monica  07:33

And so there were things that I would have liked to have done that I just didn’t allocate in the way that would have allowed me to do that. So what I was hoping was what’s the big plan. And then I can break out certain features and decide like is this really more important to me so that at the end of the process, I had a complete home that I really liked, and I made really conscious decisions about

Della   07:57

that is so valuable to have a big picture view. And then you can go as fast or as slow as you want. But you know that you’re spending however much time and energy you have in that moment, the right way. I think for people who are most committed to a phased project, you could almost think about how to take a project to a place of satisfaction each time you’re doing it so that if you ever had to stop if you ran out of money, or you just like got busy in your life, you could call timeout and be happy wherever you are.

Della   08:28

What would be your biggest advice for someone else? Buying a mid-century now based on what you’ve learned, interesting in terms of like selecting a house or renovating it? Or both, actually.

Monica  08:44

Yeah, I think for me personally, I think when looking for a mid-century house location is probably the most important thing, I found that you can make wherever you live wonderful, but you really can’t change his location. The second thing if you have the luxury is finding a house that hasn’t been updated. Like I don’t mind changing some of the mechanicals if that allows me to keep some of the original features. I think having a place to start when buying a house is really helpful.

Monica  09:13

So if it has unique things that like the wooden doors or fixed light fixtures, it gives you a place to start versus having like a blank canvas that I think would be really, for me personally it would be difficult to make a decision of all the decisions like having a starting place or something to respond to has been really helpful. And then in terms of renovation, I say take your time, I think you can tell what type of renovator I am I’m slow, but my feelings about the house and what I wanted to do to it evolved over time and I wouldn’t have I might have regretted changes that I made later if I rushed into it. Allowing yourself time to live in the space and observe like what it looks like in the summer versus the winter has really changed how we prioritize what we’re doing in the house.

Della   09:58

It’s always such an idea to live in the house and see what you get used to what you actually come to really like, over time? And how the seasons affected how you grow into the space. All right, he’ll, here’s what I really want to know. How are you doing right now? Where are you in your process, I know the kitchen was in process. Last time we spoke does he feel like it’s coming together,

Monica  10:18

it’s coming together, it’s still in process or waiting on cabinet or countertops. But feeling great about it, it’s really changed the way we work in the kitchen, makes the house feel more complete, if that makes sense. So the bedrooms and the bathrooms are pretty sad, like we liked them when we moved in. But the kitchen was always kind of this odd duckling to the side of the house. And so the updates had made it feel more cohesive with the rest of the house and more balanced and just really enjoy being in that space and having people over. It’s an L shaped kitchen. And it had this interesting kind of half wall that housed a giant refrigerator.

Monica  10:54

So you’d like walk down the hallway into the side of a refrigerator, looking at like, what were all the different things we could do to the layout, you know, really helped me figure out what we wanted to do so made like a little model of our existing cabinetry, because I really wanted to keep those wood cabinets. Like I was saying finding a house that has original features that kind of anchor some of your decisions has been really helpful. So I knew I wanted to keep the original wood cabinets. So what could I do or change to make sure we had a dining space and still figuring out what to do with the rest of the?

Della   11:26

Well, I had several layout changes. Yeah, I

Monica  11:29

mean, I went through a lot of different layout changes, which has been really helpful. Like I started thinking, like a range of scales. So like, what’s if I took out a wall, what would it do if I stole some space from our patio that’s directly outside and made that finish space? How would that change the way the kitchen looked or felt? What if I moved the kitchen into the patio space, and like a lot of this stuff is was more project than I think we wanted to get into. But it helps me think through and figure out like what was working what wasn’t. And then the step that also helped was just prototyping the actual space. So like I said, we take a long time to make decisions. So we ended up getting a butcher block from it’s called bid FTA. It’s where you can buy stuff that people returned to Amazon. But with this great butcher block that we changed like orientations we moved it around the kitchen and kind of lived with it for a while we had a mockup pantry that was so messy to look at.

Monica  12:25

But it helped us give get a lot of confidence before we actually kind of invested in the cabinets that we knew we’d like what we were doing. Yeah, I think getting stuff down on paper has really helped me as well get more concrete about what I want to do. So we’ve added an island, which you actually helped us make this decision dela, we were going to just do one row of cabinets, but there’s actually room for a 15 inch shallow on the other side. So it made the island much bigger. But actually squared off the room and made it feel more proportional as a kitchen versus having this like vast open space. I really like how the modern IKEA cabinets contrast with the vintage wood. And again, taking cues from what already existed in the house was really helpful. So all of the original cabinetry has like its hardware lists. So you can pull the doors without, you know, a knob or anything else. So we selected the same thing for the IKEA cabinets.

Della   13:22

Oh, so nicely done. Yeah, this has come together so well. And I think your advice is absolutely spot on to live with it to model in real life. I mean, for some people, that’s blue tape and cardboard, but even more so get an island moving into various configurations, think about how much space you need between one counter service and another. How long did you test each configuration before we moved on from it? Or did it vary based on how much you liked it?

Monica  13:46

It varied there were some that we moved. And I was like, No, that’s not working. Yeah, but generally about weak. And we ended up going back to the original orientation we thought we were going to use but having gone through the process with a bunch of other configurations gave me more confidence that like yes, that got the initial feel was the right one.

Della   14:10

That’s the purpose of all of the iteration testing is whether you’re sketching whether you’re modeling, whether you’re mocking it up, you might stick with your original idea, but if you do, you’ll know that’s the right idea, as opposed to thinking well, we didn’t really try anything else. And maybe you actually go with something else. And either way, it’s a complete win because you sort of expanded your possibilities before you narrow them. So great. Okay, well what’s the next project on the list? Let’s the outside project.

Monica  14:38

We’re mostly just we’ve been building out garden beds around the house. So filling those in, we added a walkway we added a patio actually after the outdoor clinic that’s out in the back of the yard, which is kind of fun to look at in the middle of winter because it’s like a gravel pit and so we can rake it so it looks like a pattern in the middle of winter but in the summer Our outdoor campfire space. So that’s been a lot of fun for us.

Monica  15:08

The space that we love the most that I didn’t even think about when we bought the house is a screened in porch. It’s a very narrow space, it was pretty awkward to find the right scale of furniture. But now that we have, we spend almost every evening out there in good weather. And it’s totally transformed the way we feel about the house. Like we have our own separate spaces. So if my husband’s playing video games, I can be out on the porch and have the totally quiet moment. So don’t underestimate those outdoor spaces. We’re looking for a house for sure.

Della   15:43

And for you, do you feel like changing the layout of the kitchen kind of invited you out to the screen porch a little more to?

Monica  15:50

Yes, so there was a storm door. There’s like a full glass door on the inside that that original vintage door. It’s kind of gotten for glass. Now that it’s see through and the island is oriented. So when I’m standing at the island, I can look straight out through the porch to the garden space that we built. Even though it’s you know, a north facing room, you get Western light through that space, you get a view of the garden. Yeah, even just the orientation of things within the kitchen and thinking about what your view and sightlines are outside. It’s really important. I think we’ve been placing a lot of trees in our yard and my husband’s on it on the cell phone I’m on my cell phone, I’m in the house and telling him like a little left a little right based on like what it looks like when the kitchen sink.

Della   16:34

I love that. And I think you guys are just taking such a long term thinking approach to tuning this house to your lives. It’s such a little love poem to the original house, and yet such an improvement on what it was even to begin with. So Hurray. Oh, I love it. Oh, marvelous. That’s my whole list. Do you have anything you wanted to make sure you particularly set her at and

Monica  16:57

I think the only thing I would add is do not underestimate quality lighting, we redid the electrical to like add an microwave to the pantry, we went ahead and change the lighting that it existed in the kitchen. And it totally transformed the way we feel about that kitchen at night, adding warm light versus we have these kind of like fluorescent tube lights that were original to the house, they were vintage, they had some crystals, it was interesting. But just getting light, like over the island or over the workspaces.

Monica  17:28

Having layers of lighting totally changed the way we felt about the kitchen and actually helped me realize that, you know, there were certain things that I thought we would want to do that we ended up deciding not to. One thing was the skylight was going to be a pretty expensive project. And we’re recognizing that, you know, just opening up some sight lines to the light of the living room, I think it’s gonna get us what we want. And if it doesn’t, then we can go through and do another stage and do the skylight. But we’re doing it in pieces to help us figure out like what’s, what’s the least we can deal with the biggest impact. This has been a delight.

Della   18:03

And I just I want to thank you for sharing your insight, your experience and the things you’ve learned in your process and for loving your mid-century house so much. Yeah, absolutely.

Monica  18:13

We look forward to hearing from the other homeowners, they what they’ve done.

Della   18:17

This has been so much fun. I hope we see you in the Facebook group or at one of the Course calls again sometime soon. Thanks, Della.

Della   18:27

Oh, it is so good to see your faces. Again. This is really fun. Okay, so you already shared some really lovely things that I would love to ask you to expound on. But I also wanted to sort of follow a little bit of a format, make sure I got a few key questions answered. And the first question is actually something I don’t know the answer to from my memory, which is what drew the two of you to your mid-century home. Were you already looking for mid-century or did you find the house and then find mid-century?

David  18:56

it was always it was a high priority on the list it the market affected things obviously like it did for everybody, but it kind of was the ideal before we started looking was always you know, this era of ranch is kind of what we were looking for. And then obviously, you know, Mark is crazy. And we’re thinking about okay, this area, which is like a completely different like architectural style everywhere, but if we might want to be there, there are just so many factors but I think I think that that mid-century the atomic ranch kind of thing was always at the top of the list. So

Dana  19:27

it was always a pre 70s house. I mean, I think that we would have been okay with the house from the 70s of it and checked all the boxes. But we had been living in downtown Kansas City and so a lot of the houses in the surrounding neighborhoods that are close to the urban core are older, even older. So we did look at a few of those early on in in our house buying process but it just It quickly became, you know, obvious that our lifestyle wasn’t going to mesh with what those houses were going to provide. So we did end up looking further south, where it’s, you know, more postwar kind of houses available. So

David  20:19

we like we’ve been looking for like inspirate landscaping inspiration lately, so we just kind of like driving or walking around neighborhoods here. And it also is a really interesting blend of eras in a lot of places, especially the place around us, like, you know, there are a lot of this kind of era of ranch, but then we’ll walk for a while and see, you know, oh, this was the farmhouse here when this was farmland. Yeah, clearly, like there’s the early 20th century, like, like, what it like? Limestone, limestone.

Dana  20:47

Yeah, Kansas limestone. We’re on the Missouri side, but we’re just barely on the Missouri side. So a lot of Kansas limestone build houses, mixed in with, you know, 50s 60s branches, you

David  21:01

just, it just walked a block. It’s like a different decade. Sometimes it’s really interesting seeing the progression of things. So

Della   21:08

fun to walk the neighborhood and read its history. So you knew you were going from its century you found this house, and it was that was kind of a crazy time to land on a house and the house was, it was a little bit of a project. As I recall, it had a lot of less than lovely details?

David  21:23

Yeah, it’s still a project. They’re still it’s much, much better than it was

Dana  21:27

it’s like a different house. What it was, quite honestly,

Della   21:32

what was your mental state when you found me when you found my mom, Midwest? Were you already tracking along? Or did you start to close on the house? And no, oh, no, we need some help. How did that trance? I mean,

Dana  21:46

I think I think that I found you initially while we were still looking for houses, and it kind of like, made us more confident in looking for that kind of house, knowing that we’d be able to learn about how to do the things that we knew we were going to want because we kept telling our agent, you know, like, we’re okay with something that’s, you know, even if it’s moving ready, like, it doesn’t have to be like, perfect, because like, we’re willing to do updates.

Dana  22:19

We kept having to tell him that because he kept showing us things that, you know, we’re 200 grand more because they had already been, you know, completely redone and not necessarily redone in us in a way that we wanted. And in this house that we bought, they had just redone some things in the kitchen that we ended up completely tearing out and it kind of broke my heart, you know, putting those materials in the garbage, but it just, it wasn’t going to work the way it was. Yeah. Yeah, that’s like the that’s the heartbreaking thing about people being like, Oh, we got to do all these things before we put it on the market. It’s like, you know, I, it just is better if you can do it yourself.

David  23:13

I think it was around the same time you found. You found out that you came to me and we kind of started like, we need to just do branches. We tell Ross, we’re just looking at this era ranch. Yeah. Like,

Dana  23:27

we’re not gonna look at the house. Like we need to focus on it No. More like, we’re just gonna focus on ranches, because it’s kind of what we always wanted anyway, exactly. Yeah, we just needed to find the neighborhood we could afford. And it just ended up being adjacent to the neighborhoods that we were getting, like completely blown away, like, oh, a developer paid cash for it, like this morning before anyone set foot in it. And so

Della   23:53

I remember you had a goal to do as much as quickly as possible when you came into the program. So I think I wonder how it hit you. Because the first thing I say is hit pause and ask yourself some big picture. Why questions? Did that feel like, hard advice to take at that moment? Since you are so forward momentum oriented?

Dana  24:14

Yeah, definitely. But I mean, I think that following the program, and like, you know, being forced kindly to write things down that we wanted, like really sort of set the tone. So when there was like chaos or having to make decisions in the moment, it didn’t feel completely unguided. It felt like we at least had, you know, a foundation to work from.

David  24:43

I could see how the questions could seem almost like too big picture at the time, but it really, especially like we were talking about the, like our laundry room, we ended up you know, essentially gutting and it’s one of the best decisions we made. And it was because of the conversation we had and it was like, not even consideration before that because We really hadn’t stepped back and thought about why is this room like this? How does it fit in with our lifestyle? And then just like, how important is that, like really figuring out how important it is to get this, this part because it’s a relatively small space compared to, you know, this huge living room where it working on and it’s like, well, it’s extremely important. So we kind of had a backup and be like, okay, big picture. What does this mean? So I thought

Dana  25:23

it was in plenty of time, like, before we had completely solidified everything with our cabinet maker. So we were able to add that project on. And it was because we had been asked through the process to think about these things. And, uh, you know, I was just like, oh, okay, this area has got two closets and it whatever. And that’s where the washer and dryer is, okay, whatever, that’s how it’s gonna be. And then it was, you know, him bringing it up. And then you really delving into well, it could be this, that and the other. And it just, you know, it, we wouldn’t have come up with that on our own in order to get it done. And it really is like, it’s a small part of the house. But it’s such an important part of the house because it’s laundry drop zone stairwell to the basement.

Della   26:15

It feels it can feel so fuzzy at the beginning to say, Well, let’s start with your lifestyle. But if you don’t ask some of those setback questions, then you can’t deal with the contractor moment.

Dana  26:27

What it really? Yeah. And it really also solidified, like how many bedrooms we were going to need to because like, I remember on that very first section, I wrote down, I need me space, because in our apartment, we were sharing an office and I was like, No, I really need my own space, like to be able to like, shut everything out the way that I work. Like I need to be able to focus because that’s hard for me a lot. So having my own office space was really important. And instead of feeling like, Well, it seems sort of selfish to want this many bedrooms in a house. It was like, No, that bedrooms gonna do double duty, because it is going to be a guest room and, and an office.

Della   27:13

I love that. Yeah. And it matters that the way you are going to use the house is the most important metric for how you can make the right choices and where the best investment of your time your energy and your dollars is going to come out. You mentioned something about feeling ready when you walk into a business feeling ready when you talk to a contractor because you’ve thought about some of these things in advance.

Dana  27:36

Yeah, definitely. We ended up having two different contractors with both of the contractors, you know, having gone through the process, having, you know, put some things down on paper or in Pinterest, being able to like answer questions on the spot, being able to then narrow down to like, No, this is what we want to do. And then when somebody says, Hey, we came across this, we’re gonna have to do this, like, what do you think being able to be like, Okay, well, let me think about everything that we’ve put together, what is what’s going to make us happy? And what’s in line with like, our, you know, our look that we’ve created our style guide, that’s I won’t say it was completely foolproof, because like

Della   28:28

that, but it really does. I think it does simplify those on the spot moments. And I mentioned that it made you feel less intimidated for asking what you want. And absolutely, having

Dana  28:39

this, you know, person, a man, usually who you know, is a professional and what he does in me who’s just, you know, read some stuff online. Like, I think I was better prepared than that. Thanks to you, but having this person standing in front of me and being like, Well, no, we want to do this. And I’m like, Well, that sounds great. But that’s not for this house, you know, being able to say that even though it was really hard, like I think saved us from some things that would have been a mistake. Yeah, definitely. And I don’t think I would have felt confident having not learned some of the things that we learned from you.

Della   29:17

That’s great to hear. And you know, it’s a, it’s a big part of what I offer and ready to remodel. It’s not a program just for women, of course, but female architect. I feel like I’ve had a lot of experience over my entire career. At this point. I’m pretty confident in asking for what I think is right for a house. But when I started off, I got a lot of pushback. It’s not even necessarily malicious, but a confident, experienced contractor who’s done a lot of houses will come in and say this is how you do it to a homeowner who will say that’s not Oh, I didn’t think I wanted that. But I guess is that what we’re doing? Okay. And that’s not actually what the relationship should be. But it’s very general. If you said you had to pick one takeaway from I’m ready to remodel, what would it What would your biggest wind have been?

Dana  30:04

I mean, maybe just having the confidence to do this and not move into a house that didn’t have every single thing that we wanted, you know, not feeling like getting to have a house like this is only for people with lots more zeroes in their bank account.

David  30:21

I also really enjoyed seeing even though a lot of the problems had like nothing to do with our situation. I don’t like seeing other people. And they’re in their process, too, and seeing what’s going on other people’s homes. It’s fun, but also kind of makes you feel better about like, okay, you know, like, you’re not the only one. Yeah, exactly. Yes, absolutely.

Della   30:41

My last question is, where are you in your process? Right now? How close to most of the things have you got checked out? No one’s ever really done. It? Yeah.

David  30:51

I’m a fairly close. I think there’s some it’s funny. I think it’s, it’s much more livable than it was.

Dana  30:58

Oh, yeah. No, there, there are just like a lot of little things to finish right now. And a lot of it is just like my tolerance for going to Lowe’s one more time. We have a kitchen island that it doesn’t have a tarp on it right now.

David  31:19

piece of MDF in the garage. And we have a roll of laminate right here. And they will magically merge to

Dana  31:25

but I found that laminate company through, you know, a resource that you suggested and then got them to do a cash sale. They were very dry friendly. It was really, I never would have gotten the distance to do that. We had to like go to an industrial part of downtown Kansas City to pick it up. And yeah, but they were super cool. Yeah, they were awesome. But like, we never would have gotten to that point and be like, No, we want this special laminate, if I wouldn’t have been able to chase it down if I didn’t have the confidence from going through ready to remodel. That’s so exciting. Oh, that’s I know, that sounds tiny. But it’s true.

Della   32:05

Marvelous. Well, that’s, that’s all the questions I had on my list.

Dana  32:10

Awesome. Yeah. Thank you so much for your time.

Della   32:14

Take care. Bye.

Della   32:17

Hey, there. Oh, you’re both here. This is wonderful. So the first thing I want to know and I don’t actually know this about you is what drew you to your mid-century home? How long? This wasn’t the start of your mid-century journey. How long have you been looking for mid-century before you got this one?

Scott  32:36

I would say so this is our first house that we’ve bought when we started like so after we got married and had the ability to start looking for a house. I think that’s really when we started talking about architecture, and also aesthetics. So I came from a huge fan of modernism. Like if you’d asked me, What’s my favorite idea of an ideal house, I would have said, a glass box hovering over a pool of water. I love it.

Lydia  33:03

So for me on the other side, I’ve always been drawn to historic homes because of their beauty. But also because of the quality of their construction. I knew that I didn’t want a house from like the 90s or later because I just didn’t trust that the workmanship would be as good as a historic house.

Scott  33:22

And so in sort of being married, and kind of lots of aesthetic discussions, we sort of realized that mid-century modern. So Lydia started to educate me on how my love of minimalism had a feeling of coldness, and didn’t have enough humanity to it. And so we kind of like grew together of like, Oh, here’s this clean, refined aesthetic, with bright happy colors,

Lydia  33:48

and gorgeous wood grain. Right? Exactly. The natural elements are really important to me, too.

Scott  33:53

And so we started stalking, mid-century houses, and I had been going to the mid-century mad about modern home tour that’s here Charlotte, for years,

Lydia  34:05

that’s probably how I fell in love with mid-century specifically, because I kind of would have been happy with anything, you know, like pre 1985 by going to the mat about modern tours, and just seeing the way that you’re very intentional about like, connecting the indoor and outdoor spaces and that naturalism, and the beautiful colors. That’s kind of what sealed the deal for me.

Della   34:29

You already knew you liked that era in your place. And then you found this house. Did you know about Midwest at that point? Or did you have the house first and then find us or did you find us and then find the house?

Scott  34:41

I feel like we got house first and then found Mid-mod.

Lydia  34:47

very early, early in the process. I mean, to me, and my mind is kind of like at the same time, but yeah, not sure.

Della   34:53

still discovering things. You were having meetings with contractors finding out what’s going on? The heating system and some of the insulation Some things on our early call. So you really think stuff out, you’re very much perfectly aligning, we’re getting to know the house with the discovery phase. So that worked out really well. What were your feelings? When you know, as first time homeowners, I can relate to that? What was your sort of vibe, as you were starting to get into this discovery process? And to starting to get into? Now? We haven’t so we have to? Do we have to change it? What are we going to change about it? How does that feel?

Lydia  35:23

I think that there was like this honeymoon phase of not realizing how much everything costs and how much trouble it was when we dreamed really, really big dreams. And then we kind of got into it of like, oh, wow, these are all the basic things that the home needs to continue functionally functioning into the 21st century. So then that begin to offer occupied more of our intention. And we kind of set the dreams on the back burner a little bit,

Della   35:51

that can absolutely happen. I think that’s pretty much universal, especially, I mean, this moment has been a time of just skyrocketing costs for everything. So even what was a logical assumption five years earlier, every expectation has to be adjusted.

Lydia  36:05

We watch that happen, adding zeros to the cost.

Scott  36:11

But I would also say like, that’s where your process was really helpful of, like, in both dream and discovery is to think about, how do we get that dual benefit of, okay, I know, I want to do this, or I know, I need I have to do this? What’s the other thing I can do potentially at the same time? Well, how do I how do I potentially want to sequence these so that something that I have to do that’s not fun, potentially creates the ability to do something that is fun,

Lydia  36:40

I was gonna say the same thing. Like, I don’t know, if you’re gonna ask it, like, what’s my favorite about ready to remodel. But it really was like the function utility beauty that like triad and breaking everything into those categories, and then understanding how and where they connected together. Because everybody wants to do the fun stuff, right? Like, it’s a bummer to spend, you know, 1000s of dollars on something that you don’t really notice, you know, like your H back unit or whatever. But once you start to pair how that can like, beautify your home, like, you know, I’ve talked about, we’ve all talked about, like our murder content, where he says the idea of being able to get rid of that eyesore that actually has like termite damage as well. So it kind of like hits the function in the beauty at the same time. So that’s been a fun thing to pair those things together.

Della   37:31

So I’m curious, when you first joined, ready to remodel, what was the thing you needed most, but then you wanted to get out of the program?

Lydia  37:38

For me, organization. Like we had all of these, like, beautiful ideas. And then we had all of these to dues. It was kind of overwhelming to know, how to structure them and what to tackle first and how to make sure we had like a lot of interdependencies that were tricky to tease apart.

Scott  37:59

Yeah. 100% just having a process for the guidance of having a process for how to think about what seemingly said competing. Sorry, priority priorities. Yes, competing priorities and how to like, think about anything was,

Lydia  38:16

yeah, we’re both systems people. So like to have a system that was very, very gratifying.

Della   38:25

So tickled when you came back, and you made a chart that mapped, I think it was the beauty utility function equation against your

Lydia  38:34

level one, level two, level three. Yeah, that was still working through that. And we love.

Della   38:40

I remember when you came to that call with your chart, and so delighted, it was one of my favorite calls last year. What was one of your favorite things to sort of aha was or moments of surprise that you came to as you’ve been in your process of thinking about remodeling anything you weren’t expecting when you walked through the house the first time that now you take for granted?

Lydia  39:01

Yes. So for me, it was actually the modification of the storage spaces and like the idea of like flipping closets from one room to the facing room. So like two big ideas that I absolutely love, we’re actually flipped like I have we have a den closet. That’s not really it doesn’t make sense for the room. And we have a kitchen that we want to create like a pantry space in. So that abutting wall it’s really exciting, like oh, there’s my pantry. I just flip, you know, the closet from one room to the other.

Lydia  39:39

And then the other one in the den as well was we had this beautiful built in desk unit that I thought was so great, and I was definitely going to use it but then I realized I’d been really designed for like an era of like doing your written correspondence at the end of the day in the evening. Whereas when I work at my desk They want it to be bright and filled with natural light. So it just didn’t make sense for that purpose in that location, I was so sure when I bought the house that I was going to use that desk in a very specific way. But then being able to repurpose that space and think of it as here’s where the TV could go. And we can hide it behind cabinets, because we don’t want the TV on display all the time. That was a huge aha moment for me.


All right, yes, Scott,

Scott  40:25

for this somewhat the same. So that idea of the TV is that we looked at a like it was like a $3,000 piece of furniture that like you sync the TV into, so it looks period, and then the TV like rises out of it, a cool piece of furniture, not what I want to spend $3,000 on given other practical priorities for the house. So the idea of being able to take that wall unit out and then potentially have handling to swing at like a swing panel to move out of the way that would hide the TV until we’re ready to do something with it. That was really an aha moment. And then the other during the dream process. There’s a part where we go through each room and we just sit with the room. And we think about how do we use this room? How do we want to use this room with our single story ranch.

Scott  41:19

I will say one of the things that’s amazing about this house is how perfectly situated it is almost maybe a one or two degrees off of perfect north southeast west orientation. And so the den that is paneled in knotty pine is west facing so much of like the end of the day settling down the evening thing like so being planted that day comes being the part of the ranch, there was a part at one time where I had this idea of like, Oh, we got these two windows in the back. Like maybe we’ll make the windows larger and have you know, put some steps in and have kind of this walk out California ranch perspective. And as I sat in the room and realize, oh, the light is at the end of the day, that’s west facing, it’s warm, to have expanded the windows dramatically to try to create this like walkout ranch walkout backyard would have really changed the nature of the room and wasn’t the right decision.

Lydia  42:22

Like, we liked the character. And we sat with it and realize like this is a very intimate cozy like, to all of the wood and the acoustic ceiling. It’s a very like hushed acoustic property. And we realize like we love that about that room, and we don’t want to change that character. That’s perfect.

Della   42:39

And such a mirror. I mean, because it’s two sides of the same coin, right? But things you think of at first will seem like Oh, of course, I’m keeping this, of course I’m changing this. It’s the easy, obvious thing to keep or change. But then when you live with it a little more, you start to see,

Scott  42:54

yeah. Step two, we did the outlines of the house, we very much made big circles of this is our entertainment circles. And this is our private area. And how do we manage those. So this is where we entertain. And this is just for us in our wind down space. So

Lydia  43:09

yeah, putting a bathroom into the public area was another big aha moment. And during the remodel, when they were like, Oh, well, people have to cross way into the private space just to use the restroom. Whereas there’s a little corner right here where it could just be a little half that can nestle and be very easily accessible from the outdoor dining area and the indoor dining area and everything so

Della   43:33

Oh, that’s perfect. Yeah, those things can make such a big difference to the way I mean, honestly to the way you feel about having people come over and who you want, you know, do you want to only have your really good friends over who are gonna come and use your personal bathroom and then you have to like deep clean it before they come. Is it like oh sure, neighbors come on over next Thursday, all we have to do is like, you know, give the counters a little polish and everything’s ready to go. Oh, what’s been the most fun part of updating the house so far. The two paintings

Lydia  44:03

are this you are I don’t know if this is gonna be a pure audio, you’re gonna have visual component, but we have a piece of art in the background. That is Alphonse Mucha, who’s my favorite artist and this particular piece, he works with a lot of colors that are also a signature to the mid-century. Getting this piece in our dining room kind of set the tone for all of our colors for the whole rest of the house. And then we actually commissioned an artist, a local artist that we love, and we said we would like you to your art to be in conversation with this piece. And we were going to put it in the opposite corner of the house in the bedroom. And the great thing was that she it was her it was one of her favorite pieces of art as well that hangs in her house if you guys are listening it’s called beer is still a muse if you want to look at her visual but um I’m so to have that sort of personal connection, like she adored the artwork, and she made a really gorgeous abstract piece for a bedroom. And once we had those anchors of art in place, I think it really like brightened our entire, like experience of our home. Like just having that art brought us so much joy, and then being able to design around those two pieces.

Della   45:22

That is a wonderful, most fun thing. I’m so delighted about that.

Scott  45:27

I think that was one of the really, I had an interior designer that we’re working with. And she’s just really flipping that, you know, people think, Oh, I’m going to paint the walls or, or, or paint the walls first and then go and buy furniture. And then like you buy the artists the last thing and we’re like, no, no, no, no, like, the art is the emotional center, buy that first and then build the rest of the room around it.

Della   45:48

That’s amazing. So what would be in what you how far you’ve come now, what would be your advice for someone who was buying a mid-century house and planning to make some changes to it,

Lydia  45:59

don’t go too fast live in the house a little bit. First, we had friends who also loved mid-century and they bought a home and they built a whole bunch of changes before they even moved in. And I think that they weren’t as happy with some of those changes in the long term. Getting into it the way we are, it does go slower, like we’ve had this house for three years now. And we thought we would have gotten more done. But at the same time as we’re completing these projects, we know we’re really, really happy with them for the long term because we waited and lived in the house and went through the process to see what we really had and what we really wanted to

Scott  46:35

even when we started looking for a house, we told our real estate agent that we were looking for the home that someone’s mom died in, because at the time, you know, the mid-century homes were not even. I mean, this is kind of the period that we bought was I think the height of get the kitchen paint up. Why make it great. And again, since there’s a podcast, you’re not going to be able to see my wife’s hair, purple and pink. She is a colorful human being. And I love her for that you cannot put she cannot live in a house with gray. We wanted the ability to make the choices.

Lydia  47:11

I think another big thing I learned from you is like choosing the level of like remodeling commitment that’s right for you because my sister wanted a turnkey home. And she found one. And like they were delighted with that choice. And that was the right choice for them. And, you know, we wanted a little bit more hands on and a little bit more peculiar taste. So that was the right choice for us.

Della   47:37

Okay, last question is, where are you? In the process? Right now? You’ve been working on it piece by piece. How close do you feel to like, a percentage.

Scott  47:48

So the I’d say the biggest change we’ve made. So far was this winter, we upgraded the so we had our original 110 amp service to the house. So that’s now upgraded to 200. The hot water is hot water heaters upgraded.

Lydia  48:07

Can I talk to speak to the big picture. High level, I feel like we’ve got like 90% of like our master plan pulled together. Yeah, 85 90%. So we and we know like, like, we have that overall structure, like we know what we want to do. And we have this kind of a sense of timeline of how we want to go through it. So that feels really good. And then we’re still, I think executing on the first two rooms of the home that we decided we were going to tackle simultaneously. We’re kind of taking like function, you know, with these, like infrastructure upgrades that we are knocking out some of the major ones and then sort of the beauty edge of it with the two rooms that we’re designing. Yeah, it’s,

Della   48:55

I just I can’t thank you enough for doing this. It’s so much fun to hear how people have been doing and to get your thoughts and feedback on what mattered most about the program so I can know where to keep pouring in energy and well, thanks. Well, thank you guys for coming and doing this. I appreciate it so much. I look forward to seeing you guys on a Monday sometime soon. Take care. Thank you. Thank you so much. 

Della   49:18

Oh man, I get to spend a lot of FaceTime with my ready to remodel students during our live design workshops on Zoom or regular office hours calls and our special layout challenge workshops. But each of these households have been off making their plans happen for the last little while so I haven’t seen them regularly. Getting to check in and see how they feel about their homes now has really gotten me and my feelings.

Della   49:41

These results. Getting to cut down on the creative chaos. Getting to feel pretty good about even the most utilitarian of home update first steps and excuse me if I sniffle empowering people to stand firm and their design desires and to clearly communicate them to contractors and suppliers who work for them. The These things are why I started a design business in the first place. The Masterplan method has everything I can give to help make these things happen for any homeowner who loves their mid-century home but wants to tweak a little bit or a lot to make it really their own home.

Della   50:16

Whether you hire mid Midwest to do the design thinking for you, or join ready to remodel to get the support you need while you craft your own master plan. I know these steps this process will make your home better and make your life better along the way. I would love to have you inside of ready to remodel with us this summer to start setting your plans in motion so go check out my free masterclass planning a mid-century remodel to fit your life and budget or just directly learn more about the ready to remodel program at midmod-midwest.com/june to get in the know before June when we’ll be raising the price. See you there. That’s all for now.