Designer Lookbook: Jessica Helgerson’s Authentic Mid-Century Remodel

When Portland interior designer Jessica Helgerson faced the daunting task of renovating a mid-century treasure, her first question was: “What would Saul do?”

The residence in question, the Feldman House, was designed by local architect Saul Zaik in 1956. The wood-clad home, which features a sensationally low-slung gable roof and floor-to-ceiling glass walls, was suffering from a bit of an identity crisis: The kitchen with cheap white laminate cabinets had been raised so it was not level with the adjacent floors, and the ceilings in the bathroom were taller than in the master bedroom.

And that was just the beginning. “There was a real disconnect between the front and the back of the house,” Helgerson recalls. “The living room was lovely and relatively unchanged, but the back of the house got progressively funkier.”

The interior floor plan, which had been altered over the years by a series of misguided remodels, lacked cohesion and seemed to detract from Zaik’s original vision – an experimental but harmonious marriage of indoor and outdoor spaces.

Helgerson made it her mission to be authentic to that vision, “to use materials that felt of the area” and make it feel as if the home had not been remodeled. “We weren’t slavishly recreating the past,” she says, “but we really were trying to think about the vintage of the house, and the goal of the house, and to be respectful of that when we were designing.”

A significantly different plan

Presented with three design plans, the young family who had purchased the home decided to go with “the most significantly different plan, which was the one we were advocating for,” Helgerson recalls.

That meant replacing the wooden shelves that had been removed from the living room wall, adding new windows, and overhauling the kitchen with new birch cabinetry and a custom screen that mimicked the original front door.


A mud room, which solved the problem of a front door and garage door that met in the same spot, was later added, along with a carport entry.

As the family oversaw the progress, Helgerson studied up on the little details that characterized Zaik’s work – his use of brass, and how his doorjambs climb past the doors, then meet a panel. The family room, which had an awkward post in the middle, was ultimately shrunk back to its original size, which in turn allowed the master bedroom to be relocated away from the noise of the children’s bedrooms. Speaking of those bedrooms, all were resurfaced to be in sync with the rest of the house.

“We don’t try to put our stamp on it,” Helgerson says of the vintage home remodels she tends to take on, “but then I hear, ‘Gosh, I can tell it’s one of your projects.’” This time, the original architect might disagree.

Get the look at home

  • Hire a professional. Renovating a vintage home is “tricky, and not everybody gets it,” says Helgerson. “We see a lot of funny stuff.”
  • Hold back a bit. “Some restraint is a good thing,” says Helgerson, who aims to have all the materials she’s picked for a home “fit into a really small bin, and all look good together when we dump it out.” Even for a really big house, “ideally the palette is consistent enough that it all looks nice.”
  • Embrace the space. “I advocate for letting spaces be … what they are,” says Helgerson, who doesn’t believe in painting a dark basement “sunny yellow” or trying to create a moody room in one that gets a ton of natural light. “Let spaces speak to you and dictate what they want to be.”


Home Improvement – Zillow Porchlight

Featured East Metro Atlanta Homes

Designer Lookbook: Jessica Helgerson’s Authentic Mid-Century Remodel was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home


Mid-Century Marvels: Incredible MCM Rental in Buckhead Beckons Hollywood

This timeless mid-century modern pad in Buckhead has been the temporary residence of Ryan Gosling and Australian actor Liam Hemsworth. It’s served as the ultra-cool setting for an Usher video with Rick Ross and BET’s “Being Mary Jane.” Its backyard pool is shaped like a martini shaker. And it’s available as a short-term rental — probably for more than you can afford. Built in 1959 by Atlanta-based Jerry Cooper, the co-founder of Cooper Carry architecture firm, The Ridgewood House has become a popular haunt for celebrities filming in Hollywood South and a hot location for film, video, commercial and print projects. Tucked on more than one acre of gated privacy, the property spans 5,000 square feet, with four bedrooms, five bathrooms and perks like computerized lighting, a Koi Pond and Japanese gardens, Miele and Sub Zero appliances and heated hardwoods in the master. Rental rates aren’t specified.

· The Ridgewood House [Site]
· Debra Johnston Showcases ‘The Ridgewood House,’ a Star-Studded Film and TV Residence [Haute Residence]

Curbed Atlanta

Mid-Century Marvels: Incredible MCM Rental in Buckhead Beckons Hollywood was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

Step Inside A Historic Mid-Century Modern Home With Views Of Austin

Imagine waking up every day and looking out through a wall of windows onto a sea of seemingly unending greenery. This was architect Leonard Lundgren’s peaceful, progressive vision when he designed this home for sale in Travis Heights, a neighborhood just 10 minutes from downtown Austin, TX, in the late 1950s.

Lundgren was a disciple of the Mid-Century Modern style and is best known for his award-winning hotel designs. But he first focused on residential projects like this one on Bonham Terrace. The two-bedroom, one-bathroom, family-friendly home packs in plenty of design savvy, including two decks that extend the entire length of the 1,489-square-foot home, a nice amenity in a city where temperatures can average 60 degrees in January.

The home’s treehouse feel fits in perfectly with the Travis Heights neighborhood (and, really, Austin itself). The neighborhood’s miles of biking and jogging trails, its parks, and even bordering Lady Bird Lake underscore the home’s prime location among mature foliage. But it’s not an oasis in solitude — the home is just minutes from trendy South Congress Avenue, where you can eat, hang out, and enjoy Austin’s vibe.

home for sale in austin tx

The home’s exterior flies the flag for Mid-Century Modern design, prominent during the 1950s and ’60s. It expertly mingles materials, including vertical and horizontal siding, a front walkway that mixes loose stones with larger paving pieces, a wooden front door, and a flat roof. Just before visitors reach the front door flanked by long vertical windows, a curved stone bench invites them to sit and enjoy the neighborhood. Nearby, the detached, insulated garage can double as a studio, workout room, or office.

home for sale in austin tx Living Roomhome for sale in austin tx Living Room

Previous owners kept the home true to Lundgren’s vision, and the 1956 floor plan has gone untouched. The living room’s wall of windows helps let nature in with a nearly unobstructed view, and the home’s placement on a 0.32-acre lot in the trees pays homage to the outdoors.

The living-room furniture echoes the home’s original design with a sleek sofa that mixes chrome and leather, a wooden coffee table with curvilinear lines, and an Eames-inspired chair, all in a neutral palette. The room’s clean lines continue in the multilevel wood-burning brick fireplace situated between the living room and entry area. Mid-Century Modern homes need care, and in doing so, the home has been gently updated with Milgard windows and white oak hardwood floors.

home for sale in austin tx den

While watching TV may seem unwarranted in a home that has this many noteworthy design details to take in, there is a space for an entertainment nook in the living room. Besides the TV, the room has floor-to-ceiling windows, sleek oak floors, and exposed beams, which were common when Lundgren designed it. The flat screen? Not so much.

home for sale in austin tx kitchen

The kitchen is mindful of form and function, as the dual sink faces a double set of windows overlooking those aforementioned leafy trees. The counter above the sink is also part of the sunny breakfast nook, with stools that can be tucked away neatly. Original flat-front cabinets and open glass shelving provide plenty of storage space while also allowing the kitchen to seamlessly transition into the dining area and living room. All this natural wood is juxtaposed to slate floors.

home for sale in austin tx bedroom

The master bedroom is simple and airy, allowing the wood floors, double windows, and sliding glass doors to steal the show.

home for sale in austin tx deck

Out on the master patio, you’ll feel as though you’re living in a stylish treehouse on one of the two decks (the other on the lower level). Both are equally perfect when you’re entertaining friends who’ve come to town for Austin’s iconic festivals. Bringing nature inside was paramount to Mid-Century Modern architects like Lundgren. We’d say the mission was accomplished: The line between inside and outside really seems to blur in this Austin abode.

This listing agent is Elizabeth Brooks of Landmark Properties.

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The post Step Inside A Historic Mid-Century Modern Home With Views Of Austin appeared first on Trulia's Blog.

Trulia’s Blog » Life at Home

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Step Inside A Historic Mid-Century Modern Home With Views Of Austin was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home