Before & After: A 1950s Midcentury Abode Gets a Gorgeous Upgrade

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Risa Boyer Architecture's complete remodel of a Portland midcentury unlocks the home's grand potential.

When the current owners laid eyes on the home's spectacular city views, they instantly fell in love with the 1958 dwelling. In addition to amazing vistas, the custom-designed house had an authentic midcentury vibe and a cool chevron floor plan. 

Yet, despite its captivating character, it also had several major issues. From the tiny, closed-off rooms and awkward spaces, to the low ceilings that were "begging to be vaulted," a renovation was desperately needed.

Fortunately, Portland–based Risa Boyer Architecture came to the rescue and carefully revamped the 3,600-square-foot home. Scroll ahead to see the fascinating "before" and "after" images.

The Exterior Before:

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Aside from the angled profile, the house originally featured flat ceilings that were just under eight feet tall.  

Aside from the angled profile, the house originally featured flat ceilings that were just under eight feet tall.  

The Exterior After: 

The first task at hand was to open up and vault the ceilings. The architects added floor-to-ceiling windows, which allowed the home to take full advantage of its amazing views. 

The first task at hand was to open up and vault the ceilings. The architects added floor-to-ceiling windows, which allowed the home to take full advantage of its amazing views. 

The Living Spaces Before:

Prior to the renovation, the living room felt dark and dated.

Prior to the renovation, the living room felt dark and dated.

The flat, low ceilings severely compromised the views. 

The flat, low ceilings severely compromised the views. 

The Living Spaces After:

The vaulted ceiling adds an expansive airy feel that the original home lacked. Now, the wall of windows perfectly frames the gorgeous overlook. 

The vaulted ceiling adds an expansive airy feel that the original home lacked. Now, the wall of windows perfectly frames the gorgeous overlook. 

The original double-sided fireplace was wrapped in plaster for an updated look. Yet, it was kept in the same location, as the home maintained its original footprint throughout the remodel. 

The original double-sided fireplace was wrapped in plaster for an updated look. Yet, it was kept in the same location, as the home maintained its original footprint throughout the remodel. 

Here is a peek at the living room looking toward the entry.

Here is a peek at the living room looking toward the entry.

The Kitchen Before:

Before the renovation, the kitchen also felt dark, cramped, and lackluster. 

Before the renovation, the kitchen also felt dark, cramped, and lackluster. 

Before & After: A 1950s Midcentury Abode Gets a Gorgeous Upgrade - Photo 9 of 17 -


The Kitchen After:

The team expanded the kitchen and gave it a modern look that now features stunning walnut cabinets, gray Caesarstone counters, and a beautiful teal backsplash with tile from the Ann Sacks Modern Line.

The team expanded the kitchen and gave it a modern look that now features stunning walnut cabinets, gray Caesarstone counters, and a beautiful teal backsplash with tile from the Ann Sacks Modern Line.

A cozy family room has been created off the kitchen, and includes a custom built-in breakfast nook and sofa.

A cozy family room has been created off the kitchen, and includes a custom built-in breakfast nook and sofa.

Shop the Look
Eames Molded Plastic Side Chair with 4-Leg Base
Eames Molded Plastic Side Chair with 4-Leg Base
Charles and Ray Eames believed that “design is a method of action,” and they continually updated their work as new materials became available.
Tom Dixon Beat Light Pendant – Wide
Tom Dixon Beat Light Pendant – Wide
The design and inception of the Beat Lights originated from a field trip to India that Tom Dixon took his Royal College students on. Their mission was to investigate how design affects the livelihood of different cultures and peoples.
Cedar & Moss Tilt Cone Sconce
Cedar & Moss Tilt Cone Sconce
Shine the light where you need it with an adjustable shade. Crafted with heavy gauge exclusive solid brass parts that exhibit beautiful artisan finishes. All fixtures are handmade to order. Shade position adjustable 90° tilt and 30° to each side.
A walnut slat wall and built-in bench sit adjacent to the family room. 

A walnut slat wall and built-in bench sit adjacent to the family room. 

The bar in the dining room features patterned tiles from the Ann Sacks Modern Line, picking up the same material palette and colors as the kitchen to create a seamless flow.

The bar in the dining room features patterned tiles from the Ann Sacks Modern Line, picking up the same material palette and colors as the kitchen to create a seamless flow.

The Bathroom Before: 

As you can see, the children's bathroom was also desperately in need of updates. 

As you can see, the children's bathroom was also desperately in need of updates. 

The Bathroom After:

Now, the space looks both sophisticated and playful thanks to the addition of whimsical animal-printed wallpaper, marble countertops, tiles from Ann Sacks, and brass pendant lights designed by Cedar & Moss for Rejuvenation.

Now, the space looks both sophisticated and playful thanks to the addition of whimsical animal-printed wallpaper, marble countertops, tiles from Ann Sacks, and brass pendant lights designed by Cedar & Moss for Rejuvenation.

The Powder Room Before:

Before, this room felt small, awkward, and gloomy.

Before, this room felt small, awkward, and gloomy.

The Powder Room After:

The powder room received a simple, yet stunning transformation with white paint, modern sconces from Cedar & Moss, and the addition of graphic black and white cement tile from Ann Sacks that wraps the wall.

The powder room received a simple, yet stunning transformation with white paint, modern sconces from Cedar & Moss, and the addition of graphic black and white cement tile from Ann Sacks that wraps the wall.

Project Credits: 

Architect of Record: Risa Boyer Architecture, Inc., Risa Boyer Leritz

Builder/General Contractor: JDL Development Inc., Jeff Johnson

Structural Engineer: Grummel Engineering, Jesse Wolf 

Cabinetry Design/ Installation: On The Level Custom Cabinetry

Landscaping: Lilyvilla Gardens, Lauren Hall Behrens

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