Ram­bler Re­vival

First-time home­own­ers com­bine pa­tience and plan­ning to ren­o­vate their mid­cen­tury ram­bler.

Atomic Ranch - - Contents - By Leslie J. Thomp­son Pho­tog­ra­phy by Ju­lia Auer­bach Styling by Tif­fany Mueller

First-time home­own­ers com­bine pa­tience and plan­ning to ren­o­vate their mid­cen­tury ram­bler.

Find­ing the per­fect mid­cen­tury home is al­ways a chal­lenge.

Find­ing one while long-dis­tance house hunt­ing for Min­neapo­lis from Seat­tle takes both dogged de­ter­mi­na­tion and a mea­sure of luck. Home­own­ers Tif­fany and Nate Mueller know this from ex­pe­ri­ence and have doc­u­mented the process in their blog, Hello Refuge.

“We wanted some­thing that had some rem­nant of char­ac­ter that we could build off, then this one popped up,” says Tif­fany, re­fer­ring to her fam­ily’s six­ties-era ram­bler in the south­west sub­urb of Ed­ina. An in­te­rior stylist and co-owner of Hello Good­bye Stu­dio with her hus­band, Tif­fany ven­tured to the Twin Cities alone to tour the house af­ter the seller ac­cepted their of­fer.

“When I saw it in per­son, it was a lit­tle scary,” she says of the sadly ne­glected ranch. Built in 1964, the house had ma­jes­tic win­dows and great bones, but the grimy kitchen cab­i­nets and bath­room mold raised con­cerns. Un­de­terred, the Muellers re­lo­cated with their two young daugh­ters in July 2016 with plans to give the house new life.

“We moved in and thought we were go­ing to up­date bath­rooms and kitchen, all the fun stuff you see on HGTV,” re­calls Nate. In­stead, the cou­ple spent sev­eral months correcting drainage is­sues in the back­yard and re­plac­ing weath­er­worn sid­ing, sof­fits, and fas­cia. Al­though far from glam­orous, the projects af­forded them the op­por­tu­nity to put their per­sonal stamp on the prop­erty. They painted the ex­te­rior black, and dressed up the front en­trance with mod­ern house num­bers orig­i­nally de­signed by ar­chi­tect Richard Neu­tra, a cus­tom mail­box, and mid­cen­tury-style light­ing sconces.

DRA­MATIC EL­E­MENTS

In­side, the pair gut­ted both up­stairs bath­rooms to erad­i­cate the mold and up­date the har­vest gold color scheme. A re­pro­duc­tion mid­cen­tury me­dia con­sole was mod­i­fied with a white quartz coun­ter­top and ves­sel sink to cre­ate the van­ity in the main bath, il­lu­mi­nated by a globe chan­de­lier over­head. Bril­liant white sub­way tile, chrome fix­tures and Mutina Tex-black floor tiles in both bath­rooms add dra­matic flair to oth­er­wise util­i­tar­ian spa­ces. Al­though pricey at $28/square foot, the floor­ing was worth the in­vest­ment, says Nate, not­ing that the smaller foot­print of the bath­room made the ex­pense man­age­able. “You mix in cost-sav­ings in other places, so you can splurge on wow fac­tor pieces like that.”

The Muellers’ 1964 ram­bler was built by one of the devel­op­ers of South­dale Cen­ter, the first shop­ping mall in the United States.

To stay on bud­get, the cre­ative duo fo­cused on sim­ple strate­gies to spruce up the main liv­ing ar­eas, in­clud­ing fresh paint and art­fully staged home fur­nish­ings. “We wanted a place where as a fam­ily we could cud­dle up to­gether,” says Tif­fany, re­fer­ring to the mod­ern sec­tional sofa placed op­po­site the two-story fire­place in the fam­ily room. Nate adds, “We re­ar­ranged the fur­ni­ture three or four times, un­til we fi­nally found that sweet spot for how the room is sup­posed to be laid out.”

Floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows flood the space with nat­u­ral light, prompt­ing Tif­fany to paint the walls mid­night black. A plush shag area rug and macramé wall art add a bo­hemian flair that is a strik­ing con­trast to the orig­i­nal mid­cen­tury cre­denza, leather wing chairs and mod­ern wall-mounted book­shelves. “Keep­ing those sleek lines but adding those tex­tures makes it very liv­able,” says Tif­fany.

ABOVE RIGHT: LESS IS MORE, BUT SOME­TIMES LESS COUNTERPACE IN THE BATH­ROOM MEANS CRE­AT­ING MORE VIA A VAN­ITY AREA IN THE BED­ROOM. A DEC­O­RA­TIVE MIR­ROR FROM TAR­GET’S PROJECT 62 LINE AND A SOFA TA­BLE CRE­ATE AM­PLE SPACE FOR BOTH TIF­FANY AND NATE’S MORN­ING...

BOT­TOM RIGHT: BRUSHED BRASS KNOBS GIVE THE MAS­TER BED­ROOM’S BUILT-IN DRESSER AN ADDED FLAIR OF MID­CEN­TURY STYLE. OP­PO­SITE: TIF­FANY FINDS MANY OF HER BO­HEMIAN HOME AC­CES­SORIES AT IKEA, IN­CLUD­ING THIS SEAGRASS BAS­KET AND SHEEP­SKIN THROW. THE VIN­TAGE...

ABOVE LEFT: A MID­CEN­TURY-STYLE ME­DIA CON­SOLE FROM WEST ELM WAS ADAPTED INTO A SLEEK VAN­ITY IN THE MAIN BATH­ROOM.

OP­PO­SITE: A LEATHER ARM­CHAIR FROM WEST ELM AND STACKED BANANA FIBER STOOLS FROM IKEA PRO­VIDE A COZY SPOT TO READ AND RE­LAX. ABOVE: A MID­CEN­TURY WALL UNIT IN THE HOME OF­FICE IS PER­FECT FOR STOR­ING A TURNTABLE AND VINYL COL­LEC­TION.

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