Collection by Diana Budds

Renovating a Mid-Century Home


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.

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The Sallin residence was designed by Richard Dorman, a lesser-known contemporary of John Lautner and Craig Ellwood...
The Sallin residence is perched in the Los Angeles hills.
The house's flat roof peeks through the lush garden. Roofs are a particularly problematic part of mid-century homes.
We you to describe Dorman's design, the word "reposed" comes to mind.
"People always remark that they can't tell where the original stops and the addition begins," he says noting that the...
The small galley kitchen was recently remodeled.
Here's the kitchen after it was gutted and received a much needed face lift.
The original cabinetry opposite the kitchen was covered in a veneer and couldn't be refinished so the Sallins opted to...
The remodeled cabinets reflect the same pattern as the old ones, though they are all new.
All of the cabinetry is by Ikea, though Sallin says they're often mistaken for high-end lines due in part to the...
Salin's wife, Sandra, is a professional artist.
Clerestory windows above the desk area illuminate the studio addition.