Daniel Germani gives advice on home renovation solutions.
Enhancing Mid-Century Charm
Q: Hi Daniel, my home was built in the 1950’s and has a good amount of charm, but also feels outdated with an over abundance of tile and white painted cabinets. Do you have any guidance on ways to update while still retaining charm?-Grant
A: Grant,I agree with you, mid century homes have an incredible amount of charm! A good way to update your house would be to address lighting, countertops and cabinets. If budget is a concern you can just replace the doors and drawer fronts (your cabinet maker will help you replace side panels and such). This is generally a cost effective way to address the issue. It is pretty amazing the impact that a crisp color on the walls, fresh new doors and drawer fronts and a sleek surface like Caesarstone on your countertops make in your home.
Please find below a project I did in a 1950’s home, where somewhere along the way cabinets were replaced and paneled glass doors, slate and yellow stucco found its way to the kitchen.
The materials I used: penny tiles with dark gray grout, Caesarstone organic white, door panels in American walnut, 3” spot lighting and a custom floating cabinet.
How to Soften and Energize a Space
Q: Hello Daniel, I am currently living in a condo that has modern decor consisting of harsh metals and bold, but characterless colors. I am wondering if you have any pointers how I can transform this somewhat “cold” space to have a more energizing feel without having to repaint? -Riayn
A: Make sure that the art you hang in your walls tells a story–sometimes simple black and white pictures work just fine. Windows treatments usually soften the space in a big way–choose colors that will not compete with the existing palette you have. When it comes to lighting, make sure that the light is soft and it’s positioned at eye level. We are trying to soften and warm up the room and lighting will play a big role.
Renovating Vacation Homes Under a Budget
Q: Daniel, we just purchased a 2nd/vacation home. It’s a cozy 1960’s ranch that needs some updating. We would like it to feel as comfortable and complete as our primary residence feels, but don’t quite have the budget we had for that project.The house has great bones, great views, and mature landscaping. The problem is that it still has linoleum floors throughout most of the house and the bathrooms need some serious updating. What would you recommend we update first on our limited budget. -Robert
A: Robert, Congratulations on your vacation home!
I would replace the linoleum floors throughout the house—rotten tiles, un-gluing and discoloration are just a few of the many issues that you will encounter. I would select a tile that you like and fits your budget to replace it throughout the house (I personally think that Saltillo tile is a great fit for 1960”s homes), including in the bathrooms. You will find that it is easy to install, easy to upkeep and is long lasting solution. To soften the floors you can place area rugs in strategic places to bring warmth and color.
If you were left with any money in your budget I would refresh the bathrooms. Change the shower curtains, update the paint colors on the wall, change the lighting fixtures and if you feel brave enough you can re-glaze the existing tile and tub. This should bring enough punch to the bathrooms to let you enjoy them.
Designing From Contemporary to Mid-Century Modern
Q: We recently bought a mid-century modern home and it still has the majority of it’s original “bones” but the previous homeowner did a renovation about 10 years ago that is more contemporary than what we prefer. We need help connecting our beloved mid-century vibe and the more modern addition they made later. Any ideas on how to make that connection? Thanks! -Lauren
A: Lauren, I would work on the lighting and the scale of the spaces, and I know I keep saying this, but lighting it is of the utmost relevance when setting the tone and feel of a room. Add textures and add color. Try adding a decorative screen to divide big open spaces. Furnish the rooms with pieces that speak to you and that function well with your lifestyle, mix it up and play with different heights and shapes. Stay away from the predictable mid century pieces, dig and search in your local antique shops. You will find out that these stores carry a wonderful selection that will add layers and substance to your home. Make the rooms tell a story, your story.
Remodeling With a Contemporary Style
Q: Hi Daniel. I am wanting to remodel a Santa Fe style home that was built in the ’80’s. I want to move more in a contemporary style but I still want my home to capture a warm, homey feeling. How do you feel we could make the biggest impact on a budget? -Allison
A: Allison, investing in updating the bones of the house first will guarantee you the best return for your money in the long run. In other words, look into the flow of the spaces, circulations, archways and dead spaces. We live our lives today in different ways than we did 30 years ago. Make sure that your house reflects and fits to the needs of your family. We tend to remodel our homes with a future buyer in mind forgetting that we are the ones living there now. It is not important if this, your new layout, will make sense to the next owner. It has to it make sense to you and your family today.
Usually these homes have a lot of compartmentalized spaces that do not flow well and are usually too small. Identify them and tackle them. Another safe investment is to put your budget’s money towards the kitchen, as well as the bathrooms. If after all of this you have money left in the budget, go ahead and indulge in a new sofa or dining table and start enjoying your new, customized home.
This Week’s Ask an Expert: Anne Thull
Anne is an artist, whose innovative spirit and world vision have motivated her to transition into the arena of design. She is consistently working to make her products timeless by combining artistic sensibility and superior craftsmanship with meticulous attention to functionality.
Anne will be answering all your questions about design inspirations to start a new project. Ask your questions here