Remodeling can be a stressful situation no matter the circumstances, but when you’ve got a Midcentury Modern gem on your hands, there’s even more at stake — the wrong choice could easily devalue your home.
Unfortunate remodel choices are something that 360°modern real estate agent Heidi Ward has seen before. “Sometimes I have to break the news to people that it’s entirely possible that the original kitchen would’ve made the house more valuable alone than with their ‘improvements’ they’ve made,” she says.
Everyone has the best intentions, but if you’re not a design expert, it can be difficult to navigate the world of historically consistent finishes and features. Here are a few of the mistakes Ward has seen:
No big-picture plan. “I’m a big fan of having an overarching design plan and having continuity of materials throughout,” Ward says. “Pick a cabinet style and use it throughout the kitchen and bathroom — you don’t want each room to have its own separate look.” Remember that Modern homes were built in a time when there weren’t a ton of choices, so people picked a style and stuck with it.
Going too trendy. You might like the look of a vessel sink, but it’s not at home in a Modern home. “I see that sort of thing where people think they’re picking modern elements, but they’re all wrong because they’re either too blingy or too trendy,” Ward says.
Finishes that are too traditional. On the flip side of uber-trendy, very traditional isn’t the right approach, either. Shaker-style cabinets, for example, don’t mesh with Modern design.
Before a remodel, it’s also worth considering whether a home really needs it. “When it comes to Midcentury Modern homes, it’s important to look at them the way you would a classic car,” Ward says. “Sometimes the original finishes are far more valuable than any updates you could do.”
If a remodel is in order, remember that less is more and follow Ward’s advice: “Don’t overthink it; keep it really, really simple; and when in doubt, consult somebody who has some expertise.”