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In Ohio, Trading in Traditional for Mid-Century Modern

by Garrett Fleming

Cleveland, OH isn’t home to an abundance of mid-century architecture, according to enthusiasts Charity and Ben Crawford — and this pair would certainly know. When they decided to move in together, they had a very difficult time tracking down a 1950s abode. Their luck changed overnight, however, when a friend decided it was time to pack up and move to California. In his departure, their friend left behind 1,600 square feet of prime, mid-century real estate. Before the couple knew it, they were trading in their traditional, colonial homes for his retro, blank slate.

Since moving in, the couple has gone out of their way to keep the original design intact. With the exception of a few coats of paint and colorful accessories, minimal updates have been made to the home. As you’ll see, both of these design choices help delineate rooms from one another — a clever technique for anyone living in an open-concept space. The newly-painted walls have also been decked out in layers of artwork by many of the couple’s favorite makers. The pieces seem to float in place atop the painted, original panels, proving that mixing eras creates visually-arresting vignettes.

While the home’s inherent, retro vibe clearly influenced the couple’s design decisions, another factor also came into play: the prospect of raising a family. In hopes of one day welcoming home a baby, the couple dressed each room with decorations that would amp up the coziness and comfortability of each space. That way, when kids did come into the picture, they would feel right at home right away. Fifteen months ago, all of their hard work was put to the test when Charity and Ben brought home baby Maxwell. So far, their design has hit the mark, and Maxwell is thriving — and the vibrant styling pales in comparison to the light he has brought into his parents’ lives. Click through to see the rest of this joyous and brilliant home. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Lauren Parsells

In Ohio, Trading in Traditional for Mid-Century Modern, Design*Sponge
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Charity had a hard time adjusting to not having a formal dining room – a drawback of trading in her traditional, colonial home for a modern one.
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Charity, blogger and owner of design firm Chartreuse, poses with her husband Ben and their son Maxwell. Ben and Charity lived in this house for nearly two years before Maxwell was born. Even before they brought him home, the intent was always to craft a space in which they could raise a family.
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By painting the wall behind the dining table a dark grey (and displaying one of Charity's large paintings), the couple was able to better separate the dining area from the rest of their open floor plan. You can snag this shell chair and dining table for yourself at Overstock. The blue rug is from One Kings Lane.
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The Crawford family loves how their IKEA sectional works for both entertaining guests and for family fun time. It's not uncommon to find it decked out as a fort in the morning, only to be transformed into seating for a dinner party come dusk. The West Elm coffee table is covered in fabric from Nate Berkus' line for Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft. Eclectic pillows from West Elm, Target, CB2, and Dwell tie the living room's color palette together.
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Warm hues of orange and red are seen in many spots throughout the home.
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"We love all of the natural light and the sense of peace this house brings to our daily lives," the couple says of their Usonian-esque home. This style of architecture greatly values a strong visual connection between indoor and outdoor spaces – hence the abundance of windows you see here.
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When you own your own company, like Charity does, a home office is always a plus. Especially when it makes a bold statement like her bright one here.
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An IKEA lamp and chair and Target side table are great examples of how Charity has mixed new and old finds to create her and Ben's vintage hideaway. "In the summer, these windows allow for the green of nature to be part of the interior design, and [the] same goes for the winter. In the winter [we] call the little home a snow globe," Charity explains.
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The family's kitchen isn't gigantic, but they still love it because it brings them all together at the end of each day for dinner prep and catching up.
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The kitchen's bar stools are from Target. The home features many patterned, wooden walls and linoleum floors, all of which lend themselves to the abode's mid-century vibe.
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A close-up of the kitchen's built-in cabinetry reveals Charity's vintage glassware collection.
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New additions, like this silver Dualit toaster, were chosen because of how seamlessly they coordinate with the retro vibe of the Crawford Family's place.
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Original details -- such as these glass tiles from Germany -- are what made Charity and Ben fall in love with the home. Sitting on top of them is a clock from The Land of Nod.
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Charity and Ben's "warm retreat" is made up of many textures, from bamboo flooring to brick walls. Vintage pieces and period decorations amplify these original details. The art print is from One Kings Lane.
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The light-up peace sign that hangs above the family pup, Franklin, was made by Charity and her dad. The rug is from Dwell.
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Charity and Ben Crawford brought home baby Maxwell a little over 15 months ago, and I adore his nursery! The Crawfords have absolutely succeeded in crafting the "... bright, happy space filled with toys..." that they had envisioned for their little one.
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Much of the home features original, poplar wood paneling as seen here in the nursery.
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The nursery's prints are from Grey Cardigan, and twinkle lights cast a soft, calming glow on Maxwell's crib.
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The pair installed these "... mod-style, Hinkley outdoor lampposts to emphasize the 1950s ranch's details."
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The 1,600-square-foot home's floor plan.

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Comments

  • So fun to see people I know (and a home I’ve been to) featured on Design Sponge! Charity and Ben are wonderful hosts and even better friends!! Their home is such a great reflection of them as people: warm, welcoming and filled with light and love!

  • Bravo friends! What a splendid write up on a home that is as welcoming as its owners. I know for certain Max’s design expertise plays a part in the easy going, fun look;)

  • I hope this isn’t terribly inappropriate… I found this article while looking for help with appraisal of my parents’ Heywood Wakefield furniture. Their home is in Sandusky, Ohio and I’ve no idea where to seek an opinion. Thanks so much!

  • Hey! great style of Ohio trading in traditional for mid-century modern design, I really always like the couple was able to better separate the dining area from the rest of their open floor plan.