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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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Change your home to change your life.

21 min read The culture we live in tells us that we can change our lives by changing our homes. Let’s interrogate this modern urge toward self improvement through remodeling.

According to HGTV, you can never take a house as it is. A change is required. You must remodel it to make it “yours”. 

But … (again per HGTV) there’s ONLY one right way to improve your home. And that is whatever is the most current latest and greatest on Pinterest on Instagram on HGTV and in Dwell magazine. 

Now, in fact, I actually do believe in the transformative power of a remodel.

Planning them is kind of my bread and butter.

But here’s the thing: real, life changing transformations rarely look the same for every homeowner or home. And very frequently there’s nary a subway tile to be found. 

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Trends are not your friend, Mid Mod lover.

22 min read Why avoid trends in remodeling? Because your taste and your home’s history matter more than what is current.

When it comes to updating and upgrading a mid-century home … trends are not your friend. You know this already. But the pressure to make the same choice as everyone else is SO STRONG. “What about the re-sale value?,” your well meaning advisors will anxiously wonder. But in reality, a timeless choice will always work better than a trendy one!

Here’s the most basic truth: Trendy =/= Timeless. And you don’t want to put all your energy, money and time into a remodel with an expiration date!

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Why are mid-century kitchens?

19 min read Aspirational mid-century kitchens inspired the kitchens we live in and love today.

In all seriousness … why ARE mid-century kitchens? We’ve chatted before about the history and socioeconomic drivers of the era. And about the default layout of an MCM kitchen and why it doesn’t work for our modern lives so well. But what were those mid-century modern folks really … going for? One thing that made them what they are was …

The TV kitchens that served as backdrops for our favorite mid-century TV families! These show kitchens often included features missing for the builder basic kitchens of the time (and still missing in many of our ranches!) 

After all, an average mid-century ranch, the kitchen was seen as a one-person space. A kind of a home office for a homemaker. In a TV show kitchen, it had to be a place where two people could hold a conversation! That’s something we like in a kitchen today!

So let’s dig into how aspirational mid-century kitchens influenced – and didn’t – the kitchens we live in and love today.

Psst !!! Before we dig into some SPIFFY and fun MCM kitchens of TV history … quick shout out for your best resource for updating your own mid-century kitchen to mid-century or modern glory. Don’t forget to save your seat for the Mid-Century Kitchen Clinic!

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Get Your Remodel on Track

17 min read How do you get your remodel on track once it feels off? 

Do you have a sneaking suspicion that you need to get your remodel on track?

You’ve been daydreaming about your perfect mid-century remodel for months (years?), but somehow reality just hasn’t caught up to your Pinterest board.

Sometimes it can feel like your remodel planning has gone completely off the rails. Or at least dropped off your radar.

Fear not, my friend, because you are not behind in your home improvement plans. Your remodel is on track. I repeat, you are not behind. You are doing great! I’m going to prove it to you!

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Remodels By, For and With Women

How did I become so invested in empowering women to be strong leaders in their own home improvement projects?

As a young female architect, I’ve faced skepticism and dismissal from male colleagues and contractors throughout my career. But over many years and many projects I’ve learned to push back confidently and achieve the results I believe in. Not everyone has the luxury of building this confidence over time, especially women homeowners who may only go through one or two remodels in their lifetime.

Better Remodels (For Everyone) with a Master Plan

I created the Master Plan method as a direct response to my experience in residential architecture.

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How to measure your house

20 min read Mid-century homes aren’t just livable, cute and in style right now. They were actually built in a way that is easier to document, measure and understand. Which means measuring for any remodeling project is (almost) a breeze for a remote design team like Mid Mod Midwest or a homeowner like you!

Before you can come up with an amazing plan to update your mid-century home, you need to know where are you starting from. Today you are going to learn how to measure what you’ve got, so you can start the process of transforming your home to fit your life. 

Old school measuring techniques like graph paper and measuring tapes may be the perfect fit for you and your project! If you’re more tech savvy, you can use a tablet to document your house…or a home scanning app might be just the ticket for you. 

As you probably know by now, the masterplan method begins with three key elements pre design phase. You need to dream about what you want your life to be in your new home. You need to discover what’s up with the house you’ve got right now. And then you need to distill your personal mid-century style.

So, what’s the best way to measure your house? 

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Plan your remodel like your last perfect vacation.

16 min read How is a remodel like a vacation? Well, if you’ve ever planned a vacation that was truly perfect for you, then you already know how to plan your remodel.

I’m often asked, “What does it cost to remodel a kitchen right now?”

Wow! That depends on so many factors. 

I might as well ask you, “What does it cost to go on vacation?”

Well, you might tell me that depends. Are you planning a sort of staycation to visit a few museums from an Airbnb in a nearby city? Or are you backpacking across South America? Or touring the luxe cities of the Mediterranean? Is it a package cruise or a DIY adventure? 

There are as many types of home remodels, as there are different ways to travel away from home!

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At Architect Office Hours: how to hang pendants, choose great doors & focus any plans

18 min read Ready to Remodel students have the chance to get questions answered – live – every month during our Architect Office Hours.  

Psst … Did you want Pass Go and Collect $200 by skipping Architect Office Hours and just asking me a question directly? Submit a question for my upcoming Ask Me Anything episode, coming May 11th. 

Movies love to show architects creating away at a drafting table or sitting picturesquely at a cafe, sketchbook in hand. It’s romantic, this vision of a endlessly creative mind conjuring beautiful buildings from some eternal, internal well.  But *SPOILER ALERT* no one uses a drafting table anymore (except throwbacks and nostalgia lovers). In fact, I do all my sketching on a tablet.

There is another major element of architecture that is seldom shown in the movies…

An architect spends A LOT of time answering questions. I answer questions emailed in by my clients. I pick up a few queries from my instagram DMs every week. And once a month I hop into a zoom and hold …

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