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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 do I mix the Wright style into my ranch remodel? (Part 2)

23 min read Want to mix Wright’s style into your mid mod remodel? Focus on simple, natural materials and (of course!) the color red.

Lots of mid mod lovers are also big Frank Lloyd Wright fans. And why wouldn’t you be? In the last podcast episode we explored how Wright’s Prairie School and later Usonian homes are cool aunts and uncles to modest mid-century ranch houses. 

As you plan your ranch remodel, you can absolutely dip into Wright design ideas. Your house is actually already full of them!

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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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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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The modern “mid-century” dream kitchen

23 min read Google’s modern mid-century kitchen is slab cabinets, sleek metals, minimalist hardware and simple geometric tile. But YOUR mid-century dream kitchen may differ because your kitchen, your rules.

The modern mid-century dream kitchen isn’t the kitchen that Lucy Arnez or Donna Reed or Carol Brady had. It also isn’t the kitchen you might find in vintage kitchen ads. And it certainly isn’t the kitchen you’ll find in most builder grade ranches. 

So what exactly is it then?

According to Google, it’s slab cabinets in warm wood tones, sleek metals, minimalist hardware and tile set in simple, geometric patterns.

According to home and garden media, it’s an open, busy social space.     

And both of those descriptions hold up! But YOUR mid-century dream kitchen may differ because your kitchen, your rules. 

You are actually the most important element in your mid-century dream kitchen. Your kitchen isn’t just a place to cook; it’s an extension of you! Whether you’re a mid-century purist or someone who loves blending eras, the key is to design a kitchen that works for your life and the way you want to live in your kitchen.

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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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Letting cycles of life guide your remodel

< 1 min read Laundry is a great way to illustrate how daily cycles impact your design choices and how to consider future cycles of life as you plan.

There’s a secret to planning a truly successful remodel – one that tailors the house you have to the life you want to lead in it. You need to take account of the cycles in your life as you tailor your home to match your lifestyle.

To help you do that … let’s talk about how the way you do your laundry can define how you remodel your home.

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The How and Why of (This) Residential Architect

16 min read A residential architect’s skill in design and creativity has the power to take a few remodeling dollars farther.

Did you know that average cost to hire a residential architect to design a remodel is $47,000. 

Isn’t that crazy?

That’s more than most people want to spend ON their remodel!

And that’s why architecture in this country is generally for the one percent. I used to work on projects with price tags just like that and … now I don’t. 

I’ve got a good reason for that …

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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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