Before & After: A 1950s Midcentury Gem in Seattle Is Revamped Into a Modern Stunner

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By Michele Koh Morollo
In Seattle, SHED Architecture & Design infuses a historic midcentury with modern vibes without compromising the home's unique design.

When clients contacted Seattle-based SHED Architecture & Design to remodel their 1957 humble abode, they weren't looking for a total transformation. They were simply searching for a way to highlight the home's midcentury charm, while also integrating a new, modern feel.

SHED embraced this challenge and salvaged as many of the original design elements as possible. By working closely with the owners and interior designer Jennie Gruss, the team revamped the layout and incorporated new finishes and furnishings to welcome a refreshing update. Scroll ahead to see the fascinating "before" and "after" images.

Before:

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The property was originally built in 1957 by northwest architect Arnold Gordon Gangnes. 

The property was originally built in 1957 by northwest architect Arnold Gordon Gangnes. 

To ensure the midcentury elements within the home were preserved, the team carefully restored the finishes and flow of the property, while also reworking some of the space.

To ensure the midcentury elements within the home were preserved, the team carefully restored the finishes and flow of the property, while also reworking some of the space.

With the exception of the slate entryway, the wood floors in the living room, and the wood ceilings and paneling, all of the finishings throughout the house were replaced.

With the exception of the slate entryway, the wood floors in the living room, and the wood ceilings and paneling, all of the finishings throughout the house were replaced.

After:

The team inserted custom-designed kitchen cabinets—built by local manufacturer Beech Tree Woodworks—to add a pop of color to the kitchen. 

The team inserted custom-designed kitchen cabinets—built by local manufacturer Beech Tree Woodworks—to add a pop of color to the kitchen. 

The kitchen now looks out to the big, open deck which houses expansive tree views.

The kitchen now looks out to the big, open deck which houses expansive tree views.

The revamp also comprised of reworking the layout of the master suite. However, the windows and original wood ceilings were maintained for warmth and light.

The revamp also comprised of reworking the layout of the master suite. However, the windows and original wood ceilings were maintained for warmth and light.

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Upgrade: Home Extensions, Alterations and Refurbishments
Upgrade: Home Extensions, Alterations and Refurbishments
"We often hear that we live in a time that has no respect for the past: that ours is an era that disregards the architectural qualities of previous eras in an often flagrant way.
The team kept the entryway intact, but opened the living and dining spaces up to the kitchen by removing a section of the wall at the deck door. They also inserted custom-crafted shelving made by 16th Workshop to enclose the modern couch and create a cozy atmosphere.

The team kept the entryway intact, but opened the living and dining spaces up to the kitchen by removing a section of the wall at the deck door. They also inserted custom-crafted shelving made by 16th Workshop to enclose the modern couch and create a cozy atmosphere.

Thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows at the entryway, natural light now floods inside.

Thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows at the entryway, natural light now floods inside.

In addition, the architects also transformed the old tool shed into an indoor lap pool. "The pool was a special treat, but the most challenging part of the remodel. Its location in a tricky area on the site meant it had minimal clearances, and tight tolerances. The technical components of the pool itself required multiple trades and coordination across the board, but the result was worth it," says principal designer Thomas Schaer.  

"The property does not have a conventional backyard, so the pool is a place where the adults can get some exercise, and the two young children can play. From here, the evening sun streams through the slide-fold doors, creating a lovely ambiance," Schaer explains.

"The property does not have a conventional backyard, so the pool is a place where the adults can get some exercise, and the two young children can play. From here, the evening sun streams through the slide-fold doors, creating a lovely ambiance," Schaer explains.


Project Credits:

Architecture: SHED Architecture & Design

Design principal: Thomas Schaer

Project architect: Chris Phillips

Interior design: Jennie Gruss

Builder: Ambrose Construction

Cabinetry: Beech Tree Woodworks

Structural engineering: Todd Perbix 

Custom shelving  for couch: 16th Workshop

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