If you look around, you will find mid-century homes all over North Vancouver. In fact, I have one myself. Built between 1950 and 1970, these homes come from an era of post-war stability, simplicity, and an innovative time in design. However, if you own a mid-century home, it is likely you will ask this question at some point:
Should we renovate to modernize the home, or should we move into a newer home?
In my experience, mid-century homes are worth saving. There is so much to love about them, and in addition to all of their winning attributes, renovating gives you the option to create the home and lifestyle you imagine. Buying a newer home won’t achieve that level of personalization anyway.
That said, the decision to stay or go is a personal one. To help you weigh your options, I’m sharing 5 great reasons to love and renovate your mid-century home. (You can also download my Guide to Uncovering the Hidden Potential in Your Home here.) Let’s begin with my personal favourite…
1. Mid-Century Homes are Conducive to Family Living
Mid-century homes were originally constructed decades ago when a focus on maintaining family togetherness was a common value in the post-war world. In the present day, mid-century dwellings remind us of a simpler time. Many of us grew up in this style of home, and the design can incite fond childhood memories. With its nostalgia, compact overall size, and open interiors, mid-century homes foster family connectedness.
Case in point: My husband and I are raising our daughter in our renovated mid-century home, and I genuinely believe it has brought us closer together as a family. We view the typical smaller bedroom size as a positive. It causes us to spend more time with each other in our bright, open, and cozy main living spaces.
2. Their Solid Construction Creates “Good Bones”
Another great feature of mid-century homes is that they have “good bones”. Unlike much of today’s new and fast-paced construction, homes from this era were built with time, care, and high-quality materials. Yes, you will likely find old carpeting, metal railings, and potentially glaring wall colours, but having a strong foundation makes it easy to update these more cosmetic details.
That said, when renovating a mid-century home, we will likely need to make some changes to rail heights and fireplaces in order to bring your home up to code. Fortunately, these updates do make the home safer, especially if you have kids, so it is well worth the extra effort.
3. Mid-Century Homes Have Efficient Layouts
It is common for mid-century homes to consist of one floor divided into several square or rectangular rooms. Space is limited but used wisely — the flow of the home feels intuitive, allowing effortless movement from room to room. You are also likely to find large windows that let in natural light and connect the home to the outdoors.
That said, while the simple shape makes it easy to configure furnishings and create a family-centric home, the design can quickly feel boring and uninspiring. Fortunately, we are experienced in working with smaller spaces and always assist with making the most of the square footage available. You’ll be surprised by how much we can do!
A great example is the basement of the mid-century home below (in fact, the same home as the living room shown above) was strategically converted to a family room, home office, and entertainment centre:
4. Their Simple & Refined Architecture Invites Style Versatility
Most mid-century homes fall under the “less is more” school of architecture. While they may have some interesting architectural details inside, above all, they are open and simple. This makes them the perfect blank canvas for layering in your own personal style.
For example, we have renovated clients’ mid-century homes to feel more modern, and we have renovated them to feel more historic and collected. In each of these cases, the mid-century architecture not only feels fresh and cohesive with the interior design but deepens its beauty and charm.
5. Renovating Mid-Century Homes is Better for the Environment
In general, buying anything “used” over new is the most environmentally friendly course of action, homes included. By making improvements to an older mid-century home, you are contributing to the revitalization of your well-established neighbourhood.
It is also true that although your mid-century home has great bones, it may have been made with some materials now considered hazardous, such as lead paint and asbestos. Yes, we will need to hire professionals to remove and dispose of these safely, but by doing so, you’re contributing to these dangerous materials leaving North Vancouver for good. That’s a worthy cause!
Ready to Make the Most of Your Mid-Century Home?
We don’t like to choose favorites, but there is no denying that renovating mid-century gems always brings us great joy. From the fantastic original structure to the family-centric layout, these spaces hold so much potential for an incredible transformation.
If you’re considering a renovation of your home, mid-century or not, we’d love to be part of your journey. Reach out to us, and let’s discuss your goals.
Until next time,