Kitchen and Bath Remodel Gives a Mid-Century Home a Modern Makeover

H&H teams up with bright designlab to give a Portland mid-century home modern updates.

After seeing the interior of the Twigg House, designed by bright designlab, during the Design Matters: A Tour of Exceptional Portland Homes home tour, a family moving to Portland from California enlisted bright designlab to help them find and remodel their own mid-century style home.

First, though, they had to find the right house. After looking at a few options, they bought a mid-century modern home in the Sylvan Highlands neighborhood.

“The Sylvan Highlands area has a lot of desirable mid-century ranch style homes and the area is predicted to increase in value because of how desirable the style of homes are,” said Alissa Pulcrano, principal of bright designlab. “You can still buy unrenovated homes and modernize them while maintaining the mid-century architecture.”

Which is just what bright designlab and Hammer & Hand did for this Sylvan Highlands home.  (For more about H&H’s services, visit our kitchen, bathroom, and home remodeling pages.)

Mid Century Modern Remodel by Portland Builder Hammer & Hand Photos by bright designlab.

The focus of this project was to update the interior without making any dramatic changes to the structure or architectural style of the home. The only changes made to the exterior were the color (the home was originally beige) and the master bathroom’s window (previously vertical, now horizontal for privacy).

While the exterior was painted a darker color, the interior was a whole different story.

“They’re minimalists, they like white-on-white-on-white with a very simplifying and calming style,” said Alissa of the clients’ aesthetic.

Bright designlab, Hammer & Hand, and the clients worked together to come up with a plan that fit the clients’ desire for modern design while complementing the mid-century architecture.

“It was a classic example of collaboration between the designer, the homeowner, and Hammer & Hand,” said H&H Project Manager Alex Daisley. “We worked together to control the budget and the cost while keeping the desired design elements.”

“We had a lot of intensive design meetings with them where we went through each piece,” agreed Alissa. “We usually start with a site survey, clear out the box, and give them different scenarios and options. We always try to get them to step outside of their comfort zone a little bit.”

The resulting design was one that fit with the clients’ desire for a clean, modern look while shaking things up with adjusted floor plans in the bathroom and kitchen for a better use of space.

The kitchen remained structurally the same, but with a lot of improvements. H&H removed a wing wall to open the space up and make room for a new kitchen island. The team also reconfigured the lighting, installed new tile, and removed all of the cabinetry to replace it with new cabinets built by Big Branch Woodworking.

Sylvan Highlands Kitchen Remodel by Portland Builder Hammer & Hand

A new kitchen island, built by Big Branch Woodworking, features a polished white concrete countertop from Cement Elegance. The clients love white, so the team painted the walls, ceiling, trim, cabinets, and doors in Benjamin Moore’s Vanilla Milkshake.

Portland Kitchen Remodel

Not everything got a coat of white paint, however.

“The homeowners had a classic mid-century dining table that they wanted the shelves to match, so that was one way of tying vintage pieces in with the kitchen to be cohesive,” said Alissa.

Sylvan Hills Home Remodel by Portland Contractor Hammer & Hand

One corner was originally an entrance into the kitchen from a hallway. “We try to use all inches of the corners and not create dead spaces,” said Alissa. To make better use of this corner, cabinetry and open shelving filled in the entrance.

Kitchen Remodel by Portland Home Builder Hammer & Hand

From the hallway, a peek through the open shelving into the kitchen helps to continue the open feel of the home.

In addition to the kitchen, H&H and bright designlab updated two bathrooms and a powder room. The 1/2 bath powder room received fresh paint, tile, and new vanity.

Bathroom Remodel by Portland Builder Hammer & Hand

The guest bathroom also got a fresh coat of Vanilla Milkshake paint, new tile, new Americh tub, and vanity.

Sylvan Highlands Bathroom Remodel

The master bathroom was the jewel of the three bathroom remodels. Not only did it receive new tile, a soaking tub, and new vanity, the floor plan got a complete overhaul.

“We made the whole bathroom more flowing, more useable,” said Alex. “It was all over the place before.”

Portland Bathroom Remodel by Hammer & Hand

The team added a new white oak linen closet, crafted by Big Branch Woodworking, at the entrance of the master bathroom.

Portland Bathroom Remodel by Portland Builder Hammer & Hand

The old vanity was replaced with a white oak vanity custom-designed by bright designlab and built by Big Branch Woodworking. The window, originally vertical and running almost entirely down the length of the wall, was reconfigured into a horizontal window at eye-height for privacy.

A special order Wetstyle soaking tub connects seamlessly to the shower ledge for a very spa-like feel.

Seamless Bathroom Remodel in Sylvan Highlands SW Portland

Inside the curbless shower, a tiled ledge offers space for shampoo and soap while staying true to the minimalist aesthetic of the design.

Some of the most important updates aren’t visible to the naked eye, however.

Before any of the work began in the master bathroom, Chris Campbell, of Campbell’s Tile Concepts, installed a Schluter-KERDI waterproof membrane underneath all of the tile on the floor and walls. “People think that tile is waterproof, but it can fail,” said H&H Lead Carpenter Lee Alworth. “The membrane system protects the structure from water.”

Another behind-the-scenes update had to do with the home’s crawlspace. While H&H and D+F Plumbing were updating the plumbing for the kitchen, they noticed the crawlspace was badly insulated, had an inconsistent vapor barrier, and had evidence of rats and mice. “We installed a new seamless vapor barrier and updated all of the insulation in the area to take away from the cold-floor aspect of having a crawlspace that isn’t well conditioned,” said Alex. They also replaced the existing plumbing, waistlines, and added new plumbing for a future upstairs bathroom for the kids.

At the end of the project the clients had the mid-century home they dreamed of with all of the modern conveniences and materials they wanted. Check out more photos from this project in the photo gallery.

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