Thursday, March 7, 2019

Mid Mod Marvel Reveal - The Den

My biggest fear when we started designing the interior of this house?  How to give it character and not look like all those other houses that flood Instagram and Pinterest - with their miles of white walls, red oriental runners and satin brass finishes.  They're lovely, but we want a bit more character.  

And quite simply, I find many contemporary homes cold and sterile. Sure, I love the clean, simple lines of mid-century modern design, but we want our home to feel warm and welcoming. A place you want to sit and put your feet up. So that is the challenge! (Hmmm....can I still have piles of pillows on the sofa?)   

So the first room to come together is the den. It started as a great space, with 2 large sliding glass doors opening out to the deck.  


This room also had a lot of squirrel damage and dry rot, so we had to replace electrical, some framing, drywall and of course we installed brand new sliding glass doors, to improve energy efficiency.

Originally, the large back wall was covered in cork, which was a great feature.  But we discovered it was faded and harbored the smell of cigarettes.  Remember, when this house was built, smoking was the norm (my Aunt Angel said every toddler needed to eat at least one cigarette butt - it was a rite of passage!!!), but it's a tough smell to eliminate, so we removed the cork (which also let us do the repair work behind it!). 


In its place, we added a gas fireplace.  We've had gas fireplaces in several houses and love the warm ambiance they provide on a cold winter night (and let's face it, we have a LOT of winter nights in Maine!).

I tiled the entire fireplace surround in handmade tile.  I remember this pattern from my childhood and absolutely LOVE it!  It was a bit of a challenge to install, but I'm really pleased with it.
Look at that handmade 3D tile!!!  Swoon!!!!

Photo:  Finn Juhl

On either side of the fireplace, the guys custom built bookcases, to match the pitch of the ceiling.  These were inspired by the bookcases of Finn Juhl, the mid-century Danish designer.  We finished them in teak oil, which makes them practically glow!  We love the warmth that the wood casts into the room.  And it gives Richard a place to put his turntable and store his albums.  He's planning to spend a lot of time in this room!

I love how the room looks from the dining room - quite a change don't you think?  Oh, and we eliminated the bifold doors, when we found space for pocket doors in the walls!!
Den 'Before' -  with bifold doors, shag carpet and cork wall
Den 'After' - with white oak floors, fireplace and custom bookshelves

For those of you that follow along on Facebook or Instagram, you probably saw the Wassily style chair that a dear friend of mine found for me in an antique shop near her.  It's a great accent in this room and was worth driving across 5 states to meet up in a diner parking lot to get it!

Vintage chair is a perfect addition
And while we're thrilled to have a mid-century modern home, we couldn't bear to say goodbye to some of our 19th century paintings.  So we've hung our favorites in here, that way we can continue to enjoy them (our dog Petey likes them too!!!)


So what do you think?  Did we hit the mark - a warm inviting space to kick back and relax???  

Stay tuned for more.  We're making lots of progress and I hope to share more 'before and after' photos soon!


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15 comments:

  1. I'd say you nailed it! Character and warmth in spades. I would be very happy curled up on that sofa in front of the fire. And the tile is fantastic...you are a talented lady!

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    1. Awww...... thanks so much for the kind words! We love the new room!

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  2. I think everything you touch turns to gold! I LOVE your usual cottage style but no matter what you take on it always turns out perfectly comfy, cozy and just plain gorgeous. You are so talented and I so enjoy following along on each journey you embark on. Enjoy this new life in your beautiful Mid Mod!

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    1. You are so kind!!! Thanks for following along - the new cottage will be a return to our roots. But in the meantime, we're kinda loving the new MCM lifestyle!

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  3. I am not normally a fan of Mid-Century Modern because of the coldness, but you sure know how to keep that look and warm it up. Beautiful!

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  4. Why are you, husband and crew not on your own network program???????
    Fascinating, job well done and we have not seen the whole house.

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    1. Ha ha - we were approached by HGTV a few years ago, but they said we were too OLD!!!

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    2. Not only is that rude and condescending but very short sighted on their part. It seems to me you have plenty to teach them and all with an interest in home improvement. Tut tut HGTV, experience and wisdom trumps inexperience and greed! I will get down off my soapbox now. LOL

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  5. Swoooooon! This is amazing, and is such an inspiration for me. We are remodeling a 1976 kit-built round house (looks like a circus tent!), and among other things have changed the ceilings so that they'll be raised to nearly 11' at the center, down to 7.5'around the perimeter - resulting in angled walls within. Thank you for sharing your creative shelving solution on the angled wall in your space. Plus, I love your furniture and layout choices. It looks very warm and inviting!

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  7. Awesome! Especially that fireplace!!!

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  8. So beautiful. I love the renovation, but also equally love the way you wrote about it. Can’t wait to read more!

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    1. Oh thanks so much Suzanne!!! Hope you get to see it in person one of these days!

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  9. That fireplace surround is gorgeous. Do you have a source for the tile? I am in love with everything about this renovation...cheers!

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