Mid-Century Masterpiece

Kitchen and dining room renovation
Photograph provided by Dreamhouse Dreamkitchens

From the paneled walls and reclaimed brick fireplace to the milk-bottle door in the kitchen, nearly all the original materials and fixtures were still in place for this mid-century gem, built in 1966. It tells of the story of its time, and the new owners wanted to breathe life back into each space. Designer Kimberlin Payne of Dreamhouse Dreamkitchens worked with the homeowners to honor the existing architecture while increasing the usability of each space and creating a bright, airy aesthetic.

The house is a refined exhibition of color, texture, line, repetition, symmetry, and balance that starts with the exterior, where expectation is veiled in contrast. Brick, siding, railings, doors, and trim were all given new life with an impactful off-black paint. Shadow lines left by the texture of materials increases the visual interest of the monochromatic color scheme. The glass is now accentuated, and a warm glow of interior lights hints a welcoming hearth.

The first major changes to the interior are evident upon entering the foyer. The old closet was removed, a new door to the garage was added, and a coat closet was bumped into the office/bonus room space. New railings and floating treads opened up sight lines to the upper and lower levels, creating a spacious feel. Damaged wall paneling, carpet, and a worn out patio door were removed from the office along with the window bench. The space is now more flexible for future uses. The room was brought back to life with new French doors, fresh paint, and hardwood floors.

In the upper level, the space plan was completely reimagined. The homeowners wanted to connect the kitchen and dining space for open-concept entertaining; add pantry space; and highlight the fireplace brick, beams, and existing paneling. Due to structural limitations with the existing layout, the orientation of the kitchen was rotated 90 degrees to run along the back wall of the house. The resulting wall space allowed for a step-in pantry that wouldnt close off the skylightswe utilized their position by adding a coffee bar in the resulting niche. This change was not what the homeowners originally had in mind, but it allowed us to keep the floor plan open and conversational.

In the lower level, the primary bedroom had finishes updated and closets redone. The original windows and doorway remained, while a new fan light and bedside sconces were added to achieve both function and beauty. The bedroom updates mightve been mostly cosmetic, but they were impactful to the overall feel of the space.

Space-saving solutions, like a wall-mounted tub faucet and solid-core pocket door, were utilized to meet the homeowners wish list for the primary bathroom. Lighted medicine mirrors, open shelves next to the vanity, and a wall-to-wall niche in the shower increase valuable storage space, while honed marble tile on the floors are a safe and attractive natural finish.

Regarding the guest suite, the two bedrooms at the end of the hallway were modified to become a single bedroom with guest bath. The location of the windows on the front of the home could not be changed, so they were a driving force for the new layout. Frosted windows provide privacy in the bathroom, and unique finishes bring personality to the smaller space.

Throughout the home, clean, simple lines are balanced with variations of globe-style bulb fixtures. The layering of decorative and task lighting allows the homeowners to choose an effective combination for any activity any time of day. Natural light from large windows and skylights improves the overall efficiency of the lighting as well, further allowing light from the fixtures to highlight areas of interest.

Also featured throughout the home is unlacquered brass, a unique character-filled material. This living finish was chosen for its ability to patina over time and can be found on cabinet hardware, faucets, light fixtures, and doorknobs. A feature special to the history of this home is the reclaimed use of the former built-in bar. One of the glass doorframes was turned into the powder bath mirror, and walnut shelves were installed in the primary bathroom niche.

With incredible attention to detail paid to all aspects of this home, no corner is without thought or detail. Whats left is a testament to the timeless quality of mid-century architecture and its ability to seamlessly work its way into the contemporary world.

Jerry Schmidt is the director of sales for Dreamhouse Dreamkitchens.

Dreamhouse Dreamkitchens
5117 Verona Road
Madison, WI 53711