Nothing says “midcentury” like a beautiful front door, so treat yours well! “If you have an original door on your midcentury home, sanding and a fresh coat of stain would really make the door shine like it did when it was hung,” Aletha says. “Staining is more period-appropriate, but if you’re looking to modernize your home, no one can resist a bit of color on the front door.”

When midcentury weekend warrior Aletha Vandermaas and her husband first found their Grand Haven, Michigan, home, it didn’t look like much. From the grimy brick façade to the stone planters overflowing with debris, the house had clearly been neglected for years. But the bones were there, and for Aletha, that was all she needed.

First things first, the house needed to get clean: “The entire exterior, including the stone patio that wraps around the house, was power washed to get rid of years of mildew buildup and grime on the stone and brick,” she explains. “I couldn’t believe how dirty things were! The stone looks brand new now.” After that, Aletha went to work freshening up the paint, lightening up the shade to emphasize the beautiful beams and roofline.

Of course, all that beautiful work means nothing if it’s shrouded behind bad landscaping, so all of the dead shrubs, mulch and debris were next to go. “We took out all of the random plants in the yard and replaced everything with grass to really put a focus on the architecture of the home,” she says. “All of the hostas were relocated to the built-in planters that run down each side of the house.”

Michigan house before renovations
Before. Neglect of the home’s architectural features and landscaping resulted in a dilapidated curb appeal.
Michigan house after renovations and new landscaping
After. Fresh paint, a new door and smart landscaping choices emphasize the original beauty of this Michigan ranch.

To finish off their freshened-up midcentury home, the Vandermaases focused on small details. From cleaning up the classic “lollipop” yard light by the curb and adding classic house numbers to swapping out the old generic door for a period-style replacement, no aspect was left untouched. “A mailbox seems like such a small detail, but it really completes the look,” Aletha says. “We inherited a plastic mailbox, which we replaced with a new-issue orange Modbox.”

 

This is part one of a three-part series of home facelift stories, originally published in the 2016 edition of the Atomic Ranch Renovation Guide.