Interiorssneak peeks

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home

by Sofia Tuovinen

Relocating is often an adjustment, and finding the right home in a new area can feel challenging, and sometimes even hopeless. Then there are those other times when things click and you just know. This was the case when Celine and Justin relocated from Austin, TX to Phoenix, AZ 18 months ago, and were looking for a new home where they could settle down. When the couple first set foot in the 1950s one-story house they now call home, they instantly knew that it was the right place for them. The house, tucked away on a side street near great shopping and restaurants, had everything they were looking for — high ceilings, a big yard and an abundance of natural light. It didn’t take long before the couple sealed the deal on their dream home.

Celine and Justin are avid remodelers, and immediately began the process of improving their new home to their taste. Because the house has such good bones, and as the main living area had been remodeled a few years back, there was no need to make structural changes. To freshen things up, new hardwood floors were installed in all bedrooms and walls were painted a crisp white. Celine and Justin also decided to update the bathrooms and gave the open-plan kitchen area a new look — the back wall was tiled from floor to ceiling, and the island was redesigned with striking black granite and waterfall edges.

Six months ago, Celine and Justin welcomed their beautiful daughter, Estelle. “She is such a sweet baby, the light of our lives, and this is the perfect family home for her,” Celine shares. To make the most of family life and the warm Arizona weather, Celine and Justin have also focused on making their backyard the ideal outside space. Landscaping has been the couple’s most recent update, and the backyard now features different areas for different activities; a pool for hot summer days, a big concrete fireplace for cozy evenings outside, and various turf areas for relaxing, sunning and badminton.

While Celine and Justin’s previous home in Austin was decorated in a colorful and bohemian style, the couple wanted their Phoenix house to be more neutral and in keeping with the surrounding desert landscape. They also wanted to highlight some of the unique features of their mid-century home, like the exposed concrete block walls and large windows with gorgeous views. “We wanted to create a clean, modern space that is still child-friendly, with not too much clutter, and easy-to-clean surfaces,” Celine explains. Despite a more neutral approach, pattern and color are still an integral part of the family’s style — a gorgeous cactus pattern wallpaper adorns a wall in Estelle’s nursery, while a monochrome leaf motif wallpaper makes a bold statement in the master bedroom.

Celine and Justin have tastefully updated their architectural gem of a house, and turned it into the perfect place to host family and friends. It’s a home where spending time together feels easy and relaxed. “I am most thankful for a comfortable space in which I can spend time with my husband, daughter, and dogs,” Celine adds. Scroll down for a peak of Celine and Justin’s beautifully decorated desert home — it’s a special one! —Sofia

Photography by Jason Roehner

Image above: The bright and open kitchen is one of Celine’s favorite spaces in the house. The black granite island is a true showstopper — “We were originally going to do white quartz, but when we saw the huge black slabs, we audibled. I felt like the house has enough light to carry a dark island,” Celine explains. The pendants are from Lucent Light Shop. “I am a fan of mixing metals,” she adds.

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

The large pivot door lets in abundant natural light in the entry. “One negative is that my little dogs can see out the glass, and will bark at all cars, people, dogs, and rabbits that pass by,” Celine says. The fiber art is a piece by Trilby Nelson.

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

Justin, Celine and their daughter Estelle at the front door, accompanied by the family’s dogs Archie and Minnie.

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

The most cherished thing in our home.”

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

The front room functions as a combined living and dining room. All the furniture in this open-plan space is vintage. Celine had the Danish daybed recovered in Kelly Wearstler‘s Katana fabric that she had purchased on eBay years before. Celine found the bookshelf for $50 on Craigslist — her best find ever!

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

When Celine and Justin first visited the house, it was the view of Camelback Mountain out the sliding glass doors that sealed the deal. The mid-century sofa was bought at Round Top Antiques fair and features inlaid brass strips.

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

“That dining table was purchased off Craigslist from a design blogger in Austin. When I saw the photo on Craigslist, I immediately recognized it from a blog I read and love. I creepily replied and asked if the seller was Erin Williamson and it was; we have been friends ever since,” Celine shares.

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

The open-plan family room is where Celine, Justin and Estelle spend most of their time.

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

Celine and Justin typically eat at the tulip table in the family room’s breakfast nook. “I love how the spaces are all connected and that no matter what you’re doing, you’ll always be part of the action,” Celine explains. The side of the fridge is a magnet board and works as a catch-all for photographs, invitations and souvenirs. The photograph on the opposite wall is by Kevin Russ.

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

When Celine and Justin couldn’t find a media console big enough for their family room, they decided to have it custom fabricated by local artisan woodworker Paul Rene. The console features a walnut and white lacquer finish for a dual effect. “He is one of the best artisans I have ever worked with; he literally brought my vision to life,” Celine explains. The console offers plenty of storage and hides Estelle’s toys when they’re not in use.

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

“I love to lie in bed, and look out the window towards the mountain,” Celine shares. The master bedroom decor is defined by a modern canopy bed and monochrome palm leaf wallpaper, both from CB2.

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

“The wallpaper and bed make us feel like we’re retreating to a boutique hotel room each night.”

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

The master bathroom is a beautiful, modern space. The vanity is original, but Celine and Justin redid the tile work and installed new light fixtures. “The window ledge is a perfect place for me to perch my glass of rosé while soaking in the tub,“ Celine shares.

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

For Estelle’s nursery, Celine chose a hand drawn wallpaper from MakeLike that she had been saving for five years. “It is so natural and soothing, and can grow with her over the years.” Minnie the dog loves to join Estelle on the soft rug.

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

“We bought the mobile from Japan when I wasn’t yet pregnant, but we were trying. I was afraid it would jinx the process, but it ended up being the perfect souvenir. I found out I was pregnant the next month!,” Celine shares. Estelle’s crib is from Babyletto.

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

Special treasures and gifts adorn a corner in the nursery. “The globe was the ‘guest book’ from our baby shower and handmade by a friend,” Celine explains.

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

Celine and Justin went for punchy cement tiles in the guest bath. The granite countertop was repurposed from the old kitchen island. “I’m proud of the fact that we didn’t waste any materials during the remodel; we re-purposed them throughout the house,” Celine adds.

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

In the backyard, Celine and Justin created different zones for different uses; eating, swimming, relaxing, sunning and badminton. “We need to improve our shade situation so we can use the space more during the day. Arizona summers are HOT!”

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

The custom-made outdoor fireplace was one of the bigger projects in the backyard. “I love the asymmetry of the fireplace and planter, and the long hearth provides additional seating during parties. I’m planning to try projecting movies onto the face of the fireplace at night. If it works, I envision lots of backyard movie nights on blankets in the turf area,” Celine says.

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

“We feel like we are at a resort whenever we spend time in the yard,” Celine says. At night, the backyard is illuminated by globe string lights for some outdoor space ambience.

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

The pool house is Celine and Justin’s retreat from the hot sun. They updated the space with white epoxy floors that Celine had dreamed about. “I’ve been obsessed with these since seeing them in modern Scandi interiors. They do get scuffed up, but are so pretty!”

A Mid-Century Gem Becomes a Modern Family Home | Design*Sponge

“What I love most about our home: this is where we brought our daughter home & where she’ll grow up! (& the natural light)” — Celine

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  • I love the color palette in this home, especially the nursery. Very calming and peaceful. As an organizer, I also appreciate the clean lines:) I do have a design question. I typically would choose to take kitchen cabinets all the way to ceiling because I feel there is valuable storage there. Again, I’m a professional organizer and always trying to find homes for belongings. Is there a design reason not to take the cabinets all the way to the top? I’m just curious…

    • Hi Seana, the cabinets were already there. We just painted them. I love cabinets to the ceiling too but our ceilings are so high that we wouldn’t be able to access them. There isn’t room for a rolling ladder; I would’ve loved that!

  • Welcome to Phoenix, Celine–what a gorgeous family, home and views you have!. By any chance, do you know who made/installed your front door? We are looking to do something similar.

    • Hi Annabelle! The leather chair? It was from Dania in Portland, OR. But you can typically find these types of chairs in specialty Scandinavian furniture stores, like Danish Inspirations. Hope that helps!

  • Beautiful photography and design! I have always loved the minimalist look paired with color pops, and it is wonderfully done here without being too striking. Thanks for sharing! :)

  • If the barking at the front door becomes a problem, you could put a strip of frosted window film across the bottom.

  • What a beautiful home! This is exactly the kind of aesthetic I am shooting for in my own home. Can you share the source of the gold counter stools/chairs?

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