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Located in Pasadena, California, it is hard to believe that this stunning 1959 custom-built home was once a daunting fixer-upper. Thanks to Annette Vartanian’s eye for interior design and her husband Alan’s architectural background, their Midcentury Modern dream was soon realized.
“The place was a hoarder’s paradise,” says Annette. Through all the clutter they saw the home’s amazing architecture—boasting an inviting and open floor plan, large windows and a wide outdoor deck—and fell in love. “No one else saw the potential, but we did,” Annette reminisces. With a can-do attitude, the couple bought their dream home and began the process of renovations and touch-ups.
“Ultimately what we wanted to do with our Midcentury Modern look was to maintain the integrity of the house but update it to our modern lifestyle,” Annette says.
To keep with the original aesthetic of the kitchen Annette chose walnut horizontal grain fronts from Semihandmade and paired them with the kitchen’s original knobs and pulls.Bret Gum
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With this in mind, they began to renovate the home, starting with the kitchen. Annette describes the original as, “dark, dingy and frankly, really gross.” In order to pay homage to the dark wood cabinetry from the original kitchen while adding some much-needed brightness, the couple opted for Ikea cabinets with walnut-finish fronts from Semihandmade. The dark-toned cabinets are paired with white counters and a white backsplash.
After searching for a year, Annette finally found the perfect backsplash thanks to Fireclay Tile’s Escher design. The tile was installed after the kitchen had been otherwise completed, but Annette says, “It was worth the wait!”Bret Gum
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The floorplan was kept much the same. The refrigerator was the only appliance moved—swapping walls for easier accessibility. Annette, as well as the previous owner, loves to entertain. To suit their lifestyle and give a nod to the last owner, the couple decided to open up part of the wall that previously separated the kitchen from the dining room. The change better connects the space to the dining room and increases the available natural light. “Now we can continue that tradition of hosting parties,” says Annette.
With the help of Semihandmade, Annette was able to create the custom midcentury kitchen she’s always wanted for a fourth of the price.Bret Gum
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While Terrazzo was their ideal flooring choice, at a hundred dollars per square foot, it wasn’t plausible. Instead, Annette chose a similar material with the same period-appropriate charm—white quartz stone tile flecked with silver and grey, which was only four dollars per square foot. The flooring stretches from the entry through the kitchen, but transitions to hardwood in the dining area. The original flooring was a worn laminate, so Annette and Alan traded it out for chestnut-stained wood.Bret Gum
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The first thing Annette and Alan did with the kitchen was open up the wall separating the kitchen and dining room to give a more open feel to the area. The need for a hood posed a potential aesthetic problem, so instead of going with a traditional option, Annette decided on one that disappears into the cabinet structure. “This was a really important design choice that allowed for something practical and functional but still works with the design,” she says.Bret Gum
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To see even more of Annette and Alan’s home (including their pink bath) don’t miss our latest issue!