Once Dark and Dated, This Fixer Upper is Now Bright and Modern
Sometimes the most important part of a renovation isn’t what you change, it’s what you keep. While some homeowners would have stripped away the 1960s elements of this ranch, Billy Joe and Vanessa Reilly filtered every choice—materials, fixtures, and furniture—through the lens of their love for midcentury design.
The original crushed-granite brick wall and planter still stand in the entry. Existing ceiling beams got bulked up and painted white to highlight the vaulted ceiling. Practicality dictated they remove walls and relocate a spiral staircase to a far wall. Then they furnished the newly open rooms with midcentury furniture that pays homage to their favorite design era. Now the home shows its age—in all the right ways.
A mishmash of traditional and midcentury finishes, plus an awkward layout and small, randomly placed windows, distracted from the architecture. Thin, dark wood beams made the ceiling seem lower than it was.
Fresh white paint and a new wall of windows behind the sofa brightens the entire main level. The railing on the relocated staircase continues the horizontal theme established by the brick, the beams, and the front door.
One small window and an encroaching spiral staircase made the dining room feel like an afterthought. By adding white oak flooring with a slightly gray finish, it pulls the white walls and wood furniture together. Iconic Wishbone chairs, a vintage credenza, and a George Nelson clock are all midcentury designs that have stood the test of time.
The old kitchen was small, dark, and completely separate from the rest of the home. Plus, the Shaker-style cabinets didn’t suit the home’s era.
Now, a large island comes into play when the family preps for weekly pizza nights and as a buffet when they entertain. An angular vent hood, streamlined faucets, and matte white quartz countertops look sleek, while a vintage rug warms the room.
Flat-panel cabinets with a running wood grain and variegated finish continue the horizontal theme. Upper cabinets flip open upward, as they did in many early midcentury modern kitchens. Minimalist barstools mimic the simplicity of the rest of the furniture.
Overgrown trees and layers of dirt hid the home's exterior midcentury charm. Now the sprawling home is in full view, but clever design solutions hide problem areas. Horizontal slat siding on the left disguises mismatched windows and covers the planter in front of the carport, while wood elements repeat across the facade for balance.
The windows in the new front door echo the lines of the brick facade. River rock and large pavers break up all the concrete while leaving room for the kids to ride their bikes down the driveway.
A minimalistic concrete dining table and benches on the deck echo the architecture and cool down all the wood. The railing is another visual tie to the horizontal theme.