When two New York creatives purchased a 1955 post-and-beam house built into the lush hills of the Pacific Palisades, they had no choice but to honor its origins.

The couple enlisted Los Angeles-based interior designer Natalie Myers to reimagine the dated space with a mid-century style renovation and infuse the house with her signature “Scandifornian” aesthetic: a combination of minimal, Nordic finishes and natural, West Coast materials. 

To blend the two worlds, the Veneer Designs founder started off by replacing the pale, lackluster stain on the wood-paneled ceiling with a crisp coat of Winter White by Benjamin Moore and painted the beams a contrasting charcoal grey to draw attention to the original structural feature.

Myers also switched up the layout, tearing down a dividing wall to open up the kitchen to the living room and closing off an entrance to the hallway to make room for the refrigerator and range. She eliminated the existing peninsula and added an island. Such functional updates combined with retro-meets-artisan decor create a window into the past that’s filled with modern conveniences.

 

Bringing In Color

mid-century house before

Mid-century Kitchen Renovation

Myers swapped the old plywood cabinets for an IKEA base system and a striking mix of Semihandmade mahogany and DIY Slab fronts in a muted rainbow of hues inspired by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. The color-blocked cupboards in shades of peach, teal, dark green, grey, and mustard add a playful touch. “The owners are both very visual, so they had specific shades that they wanted,” Natalie explains. Blues continue throughout, gracing the bedroom doors and the earthy, glazed brick tiles that cover the floating plinth lining the original concrete fireplace.

 

Adding Warmth

mid-century house before

Mid-Century House Renovation

Instead of ripping up the floors, Myers opted to top the existing epoxy with a fresh layer of the resin compound. Then, she balanced out the sleek, matte gray surface with custom red oak paneling on the walls. “More mahogany would have read too heavy, so we went with red oak to add texture and warmth.”

 

Embracing Handcrafted

Mid-century Kitchen Renovation

Playing off the clients’ affinity for the handmade movement, Myers chose speckled Caesarstone countertops and an imperfect, oatmeal Clé Tile backsplash. “It has a studio pottery feel to it,” says the designer, who also commissioned pendant lights by ceramicist Heather Rosenmean. “They will become heirloom pieces.” The three fixtures are intended to represent the homeowners’ children, and each of them will inherit one in the future. “I thought it was such a sweet gesture and a really precious moment for the kitchen. It makes it really personal.”

 

Staying True to the Home

Photo by Amy Bartlam. Design by Veneer Designs.

Small details and big-ticket items alike serve to salute the house’s mid-century construction. Even Myers’ subtle faucet choice is a nod to the era. “I stick to what was original,” she says of the chrome finish which would have been standard in the 50s and 60s. Vintage finds like a wall-mounted Knoll credenza, an oversize Nelson Saucer Bubble Pendant, and a pair of Finn Juhl chairs add to the theme, looking like they inherently belong. Set against the original sliding glass doors and louvered windows where a dramatic, tweed-like curtain filters the light, they overlook the oldest feature of the entire property: the sweeping treetop views.

mid-century house before

Mid-Century House Renovation

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Renovation

We don’t believe that renovations should be daunting. The key is to arm yourself with the right knowledge, people, and products to achieve your goals. It also helps to ask the right questions: How much does it cost to renovate a kitchen? How do I find the right general contractor in my area? Where do I even start if I’ve never remodeled before? This is where we come in. Through hard-to-believe before and afters, first-person renovation accounts, and step-by-step DIY projects, we demystify every aspect of remodeling and give you a ton of full-house, bathroom, and kitchen renovation ideas. Semihandmade was built on a strong make-it-yourself spirit and we’re carrying that legacy beyond DIY kitchen cabinets (though we’ll certainly touch on those too) by bringing you a ton of weekend projects for novices (have you ever tried making your own planter?) and experts (try your hand at a full-wall media center). What do people really mean when they say a house has “good bones”? Before and after projects show first-hand what’s possible in a transformative remodel. How do you make the most of a narrow galley? Should you swap your upper cabinets for floating shelves? What would it look like if you opened up your small kitchen? Renovation ideas abound in our spotlighted projects. A lot goes into a kitchen renovation, but it’s usually hard to tell from a beautiful “after” shot. Our monthly series “Island Hopping” is about getting a behind-the-scenes account of what the process is like through honest conversations—you know, the kind that typically take place around a kitchen island. We’ll chat with designers, homeowners, and architects about their projects, hoping to peel back the curtain on picture-perfect spaces.
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