Mod House Update – One Year Since Move-in

Hey there, Guys!  It’s been over 4 months since my last post, so there’s a good chance you may not remember me…  I am the Minnesota mom with the 60’s mod fixer, who naively thought it would be a quick and easy remodel… And then spent 11 long months with workmen parked out front.   Some of our set-backs had to do with bad luck (like the 3-day torrential rain last June when the roof was exposed), and some of them had to do with poor planning (like spending a week installing a vented soffit, and then determining the fin walls had to come off, losing that work). These set-backs were expensive and absolutely prolonged the project.  For sure, our home’s design made for challenging work for everyone involved, and I am happy we were able to find some brave souls to tackle it!  It has been an up and down journey, but as I sit here one year later, I think we may have made it through.  We toughed this one out, and feel (most days) that we made the right decision buying this home.  It’s all good, you don’t have to worry about us anymore!

Sooo, I bet you’re after a little “before and after”???  I really wish I could make that happen, but I am needing just a few more months for decorating and landscaping to present a more dramatic “after”.  Sorry!!!  But, I am going to include a few photos of the cedar on the exterior and some “in-progress” interior shots.  I know, a year should have been enough time to have it all perfect, but I am struggling a bit with the look I want inside.  Another excuse is:  We have a puppy.  Enough said!


Last November, the stained cedar screens were added to the house. Our carpenter built them off-site.


Here’s a close-up of one screen… I like how boards of varying widths were used.


Liking the warmth of the wood…


And the cedar is all on!


We got one coat of opaque stain on the deck before the temps dropped, but I am not digging the lighter color… Maybe we should change to a deeper gray-brown?


The green door.

Okay!  I gave you a little sneak-peak at how the exterior is shaping-up…  I really look forward to rethinking the landscaping, and getting the deck recoated and furnished.  Things that will have to wait a few more months, due to the crazy amount of snow and cold we still have!  Let’s move on to the situation inside, shall we?


Here’s our present-day kitchen.


DSCN0337 A few random furniture pieces are hanging out until sold on craigslist… Anyone need a glass table or a sweet pair of white counter stools?


Still looking for some new dining chairs to fall in love with… And my diy art has already changed 3 times!


This corner of the room is giving me the most trouble… I might try a comfy chair and ottoman. Of course, a rug would be nice too. At the moment, our puppy still likes to chew on textiles, so other than the little mats by the doors, we remain rug-free.


The living room is soooo blah. I think it has amazing potential, but we definitely have some work to do in the decorating department! Two thirds of the space is 3 steps down with a 2-story ceiling, and the other third has the loft overhead. Any ideas for this space? I need help!

DSCN0351 DSCN0348

That about does it for my “still in-progress” update.  I will try to check in again as changes are made…

Making a modern home with big volumes warm and inviting is so challenging!  But it’s not going to happen on its own, so I will keep experimenting.  It would be nice if our doggy would stop chewing on everything, so I can at least put a few pillows out…  Gee wiz!  Good thing he’s so cute!


  1. Amazing, looks great! Will you get a landscape architect? Would be nice to see a site plan and your thoughts on landscaping. As an architect I keep a sketch book just for designing my yard and it really increases the value of your place. You could possibly pull lines from the window and door edges to set up a grid that would tie into the house and go with more curves in the beds farther from the house, this is one of the most common ways to design.

    1. Great advice, John! Thank you! I am afraid we will have to tackle the landscaping as a DIY project, therefore keeping it relatively minimal and simple. I really like the idea of pulling lines from the window and door edges…

  2. You might want to check out the late landscape architect Dan Kiley and his design for the Miller house. The architectural firm of Swatt Miers from California would also be interesting to check out their website. The modern houses and landscaping would fit in with your house style.

    1. Wow! I just looked at photos of Dan Kiley’s work at the Miller house, and I enjoyed reading about his design. And I am blown away by the Swatt Miers homes featured on Houzz… They are spectacular!

    1. Thanks so much, Michelle! I would love to eventually get a more modern-looking front door, but painting it bright lime has definitely given it some personality! Yes, we will be keeping the snow…likely until May!

  3. I really love the cedar accents on the exterior. They bring a nice natural touch and set off against the paint very well. I think I’m with you that I would do something different with the deck – not sure what, but I think the lighter color stands out a bit.

    For the interior – Mary and I’s old place was a legitimate “SoHo” style loft downtown in what would probably best be described as Scandinavian modern – very light floors and all stark white walls. (here are some pictures: .) Your place is almost the same with lighter tone wood and basically white ceilings and walls, so our approach to decorating may be helpful for you.

    The white walls more or less mean that it is a blank canvas for everything else. We chose furniture that was large and made a statement, using those pieces to add other tones (like wood) and colors to the room. We picked up an IKEA wall unit system (the BESTA\FRAMSA\INREDA system) that took up an entire wall and provided immense storage while preserving the floor space of the living room, for instance. The couch is also nearly 12 feet long and is a KIVIK from IKEA. Dark color woods usually match well against lighter floors and window frames, especially if you want a clean and modern look. I wouldn’t shy away from a very strong color (like a red or a bold green) in your rooms either. I know the dog seems to prevent it now, but area rugs (5×8 or 6×9) will really tie a room together.

    For that two-area living room, based on your description it sounds like the best choice would be to carve it into two spaces – perhaps a relaxation\television area and a more reading\sitting area – or even stick a desk in it and use it as a neat and tidy office nook (this requires whoever uses it to keep it clean of course.) Area rugs would also help complete that look. I’d stick the desk area in the lower ceiling space and keep the sofas and casual seating in the two-story area.

    Those are just some random thoughts of mine, based on my experiences, hope they help get the gears turning!

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