1956 Mid-Century Modern Living, Dining, and Home Office Remodel

When these home Owners recently purchased this mid-century modern home, located on Portland’s West Slope, they knew some work would need to be done to bring the Living/Dining Area into the 21st Century. They also needed to get double-duty out of one of the Bedrooms to function both as a Home Office and as a 2nd Guest Room.

In the Living/Dining Area the Owners wanted shelving to hold books and to display art objects plus they needed storage for their crystal stemware, flatware and place mats for Dining. The 15 foot high sloped beam and wood deck ceiling combined with the existing 9 foot wide full height used brick fireplace was impressive but made the large volume feel uncomfortably cavernous. The balance of the home has 8 foot ceilings and didn’t feel like it belonged with the larger volume of the Living/Dining Area.

To connect the Living/Dining Area to the balance of the home and to reduce the cavernous effect of the high volume, 8 foot high painted gypsum board soffits (partial ceilings) were introduced along the west, north and east walls of the space. The west wall soffit and the north fireplace wall soffits are 30 inches deep and the east soffit, that now defines the Entry, is 60 inches deep. The soffit ceilings and their vertical faces provide the perfect framework to support both recessed and surface lighting. Recessed lights were placed in the soffit ceilings to illuminate the adjacent walls as well as the new shelving and casework. The vertical soffit faces and wood ceiling are illuminated with wall sconce up-lights highlighting those surfaces and reflecting soft indirect light throughout the volume.

The dining table is lit with a very special art glass pendant light and the Living Area seating is lit with table and floor lamps. The pendant light, table and floor lamps are essential to the successful lighting of this space in that they provide warm filler light on faces and important task light for people using the space.

The used brick at the fireplace was expertly covered in a very smooth medium grey Venetian plaster. The shelving and casework was all painted with lacquer in a color to match the walls. In the Home Office/Guest Room lacquered casework was added for work surfaces and extensive shelving was created to store the Owner’s large book collection. With these modifications made the home works perfectly for its new Owners and all who come to visit.