written by:
March 31, 2011

Robert Sallin, who has been steadily remodeling his mid-century residence, has a few words of wisdom for those thinking of taking on a home improvement project, mid-century or not: "Be sensitive to what the architect originally designed and extend that vision no matter what era it was built…the key is to be faithful." Sallin bought his Richad Dorman-designed home in 1968 with his wife, painter Sandra Sallin. They raised their family there, slowly adding a family room, pool, and artist's studio, and renovating the kitchen as well. Perched in the hills of Los Angeles overlooking the Pacific, the current iteration of the house is far from a looking like a patchwork of add-ons and pays tribute to Dorman's original design intent. If there's one person who has grappled with all the trials and tribulations of a mid-century renovation, it's Robert. Here, he gives us a brief tour of his home and offers a few tips and hints on what to keep in mind for a successful project.

The Sallin residence was designed by Richard Dorman, a lesser-known contemporary of John Lautner and Craig Ellwood (whose design is the focal point of our <a href="http://www.dwell.com/people/linda-taalman.html?tab=articles&c=y">Hollywood Renovation</a> B
The Sallin residence was designed by Richard Dorman, a lesser-known contemporary of John Lautner and Craig Ellwood (whose design is the focal point of our Hollywood Renovation Backstory series). Dorman designed a handful of residences and commercial buildings in the Los Angeles region in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and relocated to Santa Fe in 1975.
1 / 12
The Sallin residence is perched in the Los Angeles hills. "The prime thing was to maintain the aesthetic and make it look like it was always there," says Sallin of the governing principles behind the renovations.
The Sallin residence is perched in the Los Angeles hills. "The prime thing was to maintain the aesthetic and make it look like it was always there," says Sallin of the governing principles behind the renovations.
2 / 12
The house's flat roof peeks through the lush garden. Roofs are a particularly problematic part of mid-century homes. Sallin has a roofer come in yearly to touch up and inspect the roof, an investment he says pays off. "We've never had a leak because of th
The house's flat roof peeks through the lush garden. Roofs are a particularly problematic part of mid-century homes. Sallin has a roofer come in yearly to touch up and inspect the roof, an investment he says pays off. "We've never had a leak because of the attention it has received," he says.
3 / 12
We you to describe Dorman's design, the word "reposed" comes to mind. In his design for the residence the Sallins would eventually call home, Dorman used a 7 x 9 module throughout, which instills a pleasing dimensional ratio and provided the basis for man
We you to describe Dorman's design, the word "reposed" comes to mind. In his design for the residence the Sallins would eventually call home, Dorman used a 7 x 9 module throughout, which instills a pleasing dimensional ratio and provided the basis for many of the additions. For example, the original columns in the walkways are spaced seven feet apart and rise to a height of nine feet.
4 / 12
"People always remark that they can't tell where the original stops and the addition begins," he says noting that the original design was only 2,960 square feet and the current house is just under 4,000 square feet. In order to achieve consistency, Sallin
"People always remark that they can't tell where the original stops and the addition begins," he says noting that the original design was only 2,960 square feet and the current house is just under 4,000 square feet. In order to achieve consistency, Sallin credits keeping the underlying 7 x 9 module in mind when thinking about spacing new columns in the outdoor areas, like the trellis in the pool area.
5 / 12
The small galley kitchen was recently remodeled. "I don't know how many different designs we looked at," says Sallin, who considered many top-of-the-line kitchens from all the big names. "They just didn't feel right so we went to the original Dorman plans
The small galley kitchen was recently remodeled. "I don't know how many different designs we looked at," says Sallin, who considered many top-of-the-line kitchens from all the big names. "They just didn't feel right so we went to the original Dorman plans," he explains.
6 / 12
Here's the kitchen after it was gutted and received a much needed face lift. When remodeling the kitchen, Sallin can't stress how important it is to have excellent contractors and builders and a solid plan of action. Robert's nephew Marc Sallin of <a href
Here's the kitchen after it was gutted and received a much needed face lift. When remodeling the kitchen, Sallin can't stress how important it is to have excellent contractors and builders and a solid plan of action. Robert's nephew Marc Sallin of Kingston Reconstruction & Flooring carried out the project. "Learn how to anticipate every single occurrence," Robert advises. "You can't know know too much and if it means you have to take the time to learn, it will save you in the back end."
7 / 12
The original cabinetry opposite the kitchen was covered in a veneer and couldn't be refinished so the Sallins opted to replace them entirely.
The original cabinetry opposite the kitchen was covered in a veneer and couldn't be refinished so the Sallins opted to replace them entirely.
8 / 12
The remodeled cabinets reflect the same pattern as the old ones, though they are all new. By keeping the underlying design in mind, the new kitchen seems like it could have been from Dorman's original design.
The remodeled cabinets reflect the same pattern as the old ones, though they are all new. By keeping the underlying design in mind, the new kitchen seems like it could have been from Dorman's original design.
9 / 12
All of the cabinetry is by Ikea, though Sallin says they're often mistaken for high-end lines due in part to the thoughtful installation by his contractor.
All of the cabinetry is by Ikea, though Sallin says they're often mistaken for high-end lines due in part to the thoughtful installation by his contractor.
10 / 12
Salin's wife, Sandra, is a professional artist. He designed a studio space for her, which is illuminated by skylights and large floor-to-ceiling windows along the back wall. The 7 x 9 module was used to determine their size, says Sallin.
Salin's wife, Sandra, is a professional artist. He designed a studio space for her, which is illuminated by skylights and large floor-to-ceiling windows along the back wall. The 7 x 9 module was used to determine their size, says Sallin.
11 / 12
Clerestory windows above the desk area illuminate the studio addition. Sallin beams when talking about the design, but his most favorite part is how everything coalesces as a whole. "For a modern house it's friendly, not austere. And I love the quality of
Clerestory windows above the desk area illuminate the studio addition. Sallin beams when talking about the design, but his most favorite part is how everything coalesces as a whole. "For a modern house it's friendly, not austere. And I love the quality of the light," says Sallin.

Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

12 / 12
The Sallin residence was designed by Richard Dorman, a lesser-known contemporary of John Lautner and Craig Ellwood (whose design is the focal point of our <a href="http://www.dwell.com/people/linda-taalman.html?tab=articles&c=y">Hollywood Renovation</a> B
The Sallin residence was designed by Richard Dorman, a lesser-known contemporary of John Lautner and Craig Ellwood (whose design is the focal point of our Hollywood Renovation Backstory series). Dorman designed a handful of residences and commercial buildings in the Los Angeles region in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and relocated to Santa Fe in 1975.

Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

young guns 2016 emerging talent thom fougere winnipeg canada cthom fougere studio thom fougere saddle chair 2
Designer Thom Fougere plays with scale and typology to create playful furniture.
May 25, 2016
prs my16 0067 v001 1
In the worlds of architecture and design, we’re always looking for the best ways of supporting sustainable building practices. This awareness doesn’t have to stop at our driveways but rather, it can extend to the cars we choose to take us to the places we go each day. With Toyota’s 2016 Prius, the daily task of getting from point A to point B can now be experienced with a new level of efficiency, safety, and style.
May 25, 2016
mountfordarchitects western australia
On a narrow site in Western Australia, Mountford Architects makes the most of a tight spot—with an eye to the future.
May 25, 2016
San Francisco living room with Wassily chairs
Materials and furniture transformed the layout of this San Francisco house, without the need for dramatic structural intervention.
May 24, 2016
shiver me timbers tallow wood kitchen
A pair of married architects put their exacting taste to work on their own family escape in the Australian bush.
May 24, 2016
in the balance small space massachusetts cantilevered cabin glass facade
When nature laid down a boulder of a design challenge in the Massachusetts mountains, an architect’s solution elevated the project to new heights.
May 24, 2016
Wooden Walkways
A home in Ontario, Canada, demonstrates how factory-built housing can be as site sensitive as traditional construction.
May 24, 2016
15 icff 5
From Corian furniture to immersive installations, here are some of our favorite designs we saw at the 2016 shows.
May 24, 2016
gpphoto44
A home and community celebrate natural remove in unison.
May 24, 2016
With our annual issue devoted to the outdoors on newsstands, we did a lap of Instagram for some extra inspiration.
May 23, 2016
forest for the trees english prefab mobile home facade chesnut cladding
On the edge of a historic park in an English shire, a prefabricated home sets a new design standard.
May 23, 2016
tread lightly australia
A family home on Australia’s Mornington Peninsula is built to blend in with its lakeside setting.
May 23, 2016
jardins party dining room hay chairs local wood floor
A pair of architects help a client carve out an oasis of calm amid São Paulo’s bustle.
May 23, 2016
hwm6zf 1
No matter where you're located or what time of the year it is, having a fireplace in your home is a treasure that’s continuously sought after. Besides the obvious benefits of keeping a fire going through the cold winter months, it can also be a cherished asset that provides an extra level of year-round comfort—not to mention how it can help define the layout of a space by acting as a sculptural element.
May 23, 2016
An office Crosby Studios designed for NGRS in Moscow
Crosby Studios just cares about the essentials.
May 22, 2016
cold sweat seattle floating sauna gocstudio
A cadre of designers let off steam after hours by building and sailing a seaworthy sauna.
May 22, 2016
in the swim off the grid campsite healdsburg california swimming pool solar heat lap pool ipe deck loll designs lounge chairs
An off-the-grid house that is little more than a decked campsite—albeit with a roof—includes a swimming pool for a family that loves to enjoy the elements.
May 21, 2016
A print by Kristina Krogh
From flat to physical, Kristina Krogh masters every dimension.
May 21, 2016
scifi
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
May 21, 2016
beverly hills living room piano view
Architect Noah Walker, principal of Los Angeles–based studio Walker Workshop, shares completed and work-in-progress residential designs on his Instagram page (@noah_walker). Take a peek at some of the striking modern houses here, and tour the Venice House on the Dwell Home Tours on June 26.
May 20, 2016
ripple effect san fancisco small space yard outdoor monica viarengo pebble mosiac artificial turf slide
A San Francisco landscape designer finds a small-space solution that’s anything but narrow-minded.
May 20, 2016
Oslo living room with light wood floors and wood slab table
A pair of designers in Oslo, armed with tricks for introducing color and daylight, remake their compact late-19th-century apartment.
May 20, 2016
family affair backyard addition portrait
In coastal Massachusetts, a resourceful couple and their equally enterprising children use reclaimed materials to create a versatile 168-square-foot backyard building.
May 20, 2016
speed machine australian beachside prefab archiblox facade colorbond ultra steel cladding queensland blue gum wood
With little time to waste, an Australian firm erects an efficient prefab overlooking the ocean.
May 20, 2016
Christian Benimana at Design Indaba
When he was younger, there wasn't a single architecture school in his country. Now, as part of MASS Design Group, Christian Benimana shares how architecture can heal and inspire Africa.
May 19, 2016
01 1
This Italian villa is serenity incarnate.
May 19, 2016
michael cobb interior
Alternative materials help a house in California’s wine country tread lightly on the land.
May 18, 2016
13266797 1799532953608317 1984666518 n 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
May 18, 2016
Industrial kitchen built on a budget.
In Austin, Texas, architect Sean Guess forges an inventive industrial kitchen for a cost-conscious couple.
May 18, 2016
great danes dining area
In an up-and-coming area of Copenhagen, a pair of designers and their twin girls inhabit a converted loft, filling it with serious design savvy and a hefty dose of creativity.
May 18, 2016