With the help of interior designer Natalie Officer, a young family breathed new life into a mid-century ranch, reworking it from the foundation up to create a stunning space that fits their aesthetic and their lives.
Mid-century Modern design may be trending, but one of Louisville’s top designers is adamant that it is more than a trend. “I think we often see aggression of interest, such as on Instagram, and feel like something is a trend based on how it is fed to us, rather than it having the legs to be a persistent design aesthetic,” says Natalie Officer, president of Natalie O Design. “Mid-century Modern is a classic style that has longevity. It would be a misstep to consider it a trend.”
The homeowners of this Seneca Park area home are in complete agreement. They fell in love with the house that was built in 1964 by Harry and Roberta Kletter, a couple who designed every room with a purpose. “Roberta was a stickler for details, even down to the positioning of the house, to maximize sunlight for the pool,” notes Morgan Moyer, who, along with her husband Kenny, chose Natalie to renovate the home for their young family.
“We were first drawn to the vast space available. We have two kids, Leo, three-and-a-half years old, and Frances, age one. Leo has special needs, so having plenty of openness to maneuver with minimal stairs was critical. The simple, Mid-century design was another showstopper for us,” says Morgan.
Many details of the house were left unchanged, such as a treble clef in the entry which is a tribute to the Kletters’ love of music. “The renovation was extensive but maintained the home’s design integrity in keeping with the original style and intended interior décor,” says Natalie. “The extensive renovation had the objective of achieving approachable design from form and function, and was a collaborative effort with Kenny’s father, Ken Moyer, the principal of Moyer Construction.”
Natalie and her colleague, Julie Metzinger, see an interest in Mid-century Modern among Millenial-minded individuals who tend to have minimalist design sensibilities and are careful to articulate their aesthetics, as opposed to children who grew up following the Depression and were eager to collect or showcase items in their homes. “The whole idea of a Mid-century Modern home is that it, in and of itself, is art. The lines of a house and the materials were meant to be interesting and organic. It’s a statement piece in which you need less to make it shine by complementing the lines and intention of the architecture,” says Julie. “It’s an ease of living that doesn’t come from an ostentatious, overdone home.”
The whole idea of a Mid-century Modern home is that it, in and of itself, is art. The lines of a house and the materials were meant to be interesting and organic. It’s a statement piece in which you need less to make it shine by complementing the lines and intention of the architecture. It’s an ease of living that doesn’t come from an ostentatious, overdone home.
The Natalie O Design duo analyzed how the Moyers live as well as the flow of the home, taking a shell of a Mid Century Modern and giving it a modern twist. They deliberated over the relevance of a wall between the living room and kitchen, ultimately deciding to remove the wall which allowed for a more open space. Metzinger, who raised her own children in a Mid-century house, has an affinity for the style and the importance of exacting details such as how tile should meet the edge of a window and how the kitchen countertop meets the wall.
Vintage and repurposed furniture were integrated into the décor. A replica of a Saarinen tulip table is now the family’s dining table. The two velvet chairs and the card table in the lounge were repurposed. Colors, such as variations of blues, greens, browns and oranges, marry a variety of shapes and textures in accessories like pillows.
Natalie is refreshingly honest about the invasiveness of home renovation, saying it isn’t for the faint of heart, especially if a family remains in the home during the project. When discussing with her clients what to expect, she points to the inconvenience and mess that can be involved in removing walls, and the constant presence of tradespeople in the home.
For the Moyers, the renovation of the home captured the best of two worlds: retaining the historic character of Mid-century Modern and instilling it with vibrant, new life. “We truly believe this home, as it is now, will continue to withstand the tests of time for our family,” says Morgan. “Each room continues to serve its purpose, much as they did for the Kletters. We feel so blessed having had this opportunity to carry those purposes on.”
Natalie shares some of the local sources who helped bring her beautiful design to life.
Art: All local female artists. Art includes an original large-scale piece by Kelly Zellers and two panels by Megan Bickel.
Vintage furniture and accessories: Mellwood Antiques
Appliances: Monogram appliances. “It was sad to see the throwback appliances leave, but we provided the family a new suite of Monogram appliances, with clean lines and performance.”
Lounge flooring: Armstrong multicolor VCT. “Vinyl is a finish you’ll find in many Mid-century homes, so we stayed true.”
It’s one of the questions those of us on the TOPS staff are most often asked: What color was the paint?
“Classic Mid-century colors are often shades of golden yellow, olive greens, vibrant and earthy tangerines, wood tones, and pops of white and teals,” says Natalie. Here, she shares the specifics:
Pantone gold, 10128C
Pantone blue, 2454U
Pantone 11-0605 TPG