Interiorssneak peeks

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home

by Sofia Tuovinen

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
When Diane and Niles Rath had their son, Balthazar, they knew that leaving their one-bedroom New York apartment was inevitable. A few years prior, Diane, who worked as a learning specialist, and Niles, a computer forensics consultant and born and raised Manhattanite, had caught the remodeling bug. They first redid a condo outside of the city, followed by a lake house that they bought as Niles’ first taste of country living. When it was time to find a new home, the couple knew that only a fixer-upper would do — this time though, they would transform one with a two-year-old in tow!

Diane and Niles decided to search for a home in Connecticut, within easy commuting distance of the city. They hoped to find a house in an active and vibrant area, close to the water. With three lakes, an adorable town center, two major universities and a quick drive to the beach, Fairfield, CT quickly came through as the winner. The couple began actively looking for a house in town, focusing on ranch-style homes with a pool and some privacy. When they first stepped foot on the property they now call home, they didn’t even have to walk through the door before knowing it was the one. The property, flanked by a small lake, had an in-ground pool, stood on a private dead-end road and most importantly — it needed to be updated. With a completely fenced-in backyard, the three-bedroom house was even ideal for the family’s two rescue dogs! Needless to say, it was a done deal.

Much of Diane and Niles’ renovation budget went into necessary constructional updates — installing a new roof, windows and central air, updating electrical wiring and reconstructing the pool are just a few projects that kept the couple busy during the first months. Although the house now meets the family’s daily needs, it’s nowhere near finished. To turn the house into their dream home, Diane and Niles have plans to build additions and reconstruct some of the existing spaces. In the interim, they have worked hard to make each existing area as functional and visually appealing as possible. From painting the entire house to ripping up carpets and exposing the hardwood floors, Diane and Niles have done most of the aesthetic updates themselves.

For Diane, leaving New York also meant leaving behind her 10-year private practice. She took a leap of faith, and decided to dedicate herself full-time to interior design. A passion that used to be a hobby has now become a new and exciting career path, and what better home to start with than her own? Creating unique spaces that house the couple’s most loved pieces, regardless of style and era, has been essential for Diane throughout the decoration process. “Honestly, if we love something, we buy it, no matter what style or time period it’s from,” she explains. Thrift stores and flea markets have been the main sources for decorating on a budget, and have allowed Diane to fill the family’s home with one-of-a-kind treasures. Although the couple wanted to create a modern environment, it was also important for them to stay true to the home’s mid-century roots. What developed is an eclectic style that oozes comfort and chicness, with a hint of vintage elegance added to the mix.

Even though the house is a work-in-progress, you’d never guess it — each space, bursting with colorful and creative solutions, reflects the family’s style to a tee. Diane and Niles set out to create a home that works for them during each stage of the remodel — as the family grows and evolves, so will the house. Isn’t that the definition of an ideal home? —Sofia

Photography by Erin Kestenbaum

Image above: Pattern, color and different textures make up the Rath family’s mid-century inspired living room. Repointing the fireplace and changing it back to a wood-burning unit was one of the bigger projects in the house. Now the fireplace is always lit during winter months, making this a warm and cozy room to gather with drinks during get-togethers. Vaulting the living room ceiling is a project that Diane and Niles hope to tackle in the future.

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
1/20

Two leather butterfly chairs create a practical yet beautiful seating area behind the two daybeds. Diane and Niles bought these versatile chairs before they even had a house to put them in!

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
2/20

The built-in shelving unit in the dining room is full of Diane and Niles’ favorite collected finds. The shaker table came with matching chairs, but Diane wanted something different. “As soon as we swapped [them] out for the chartreuse mid-century chairs, the table suddenly felt more modern-Danish,” she explains. The chandelier is from Homary.

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
3/20

The antique federal-style desk displays Diane’s ever-growing candlestick collection.

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
4/20

The kitchen is one of the most recent remodels. As Diane and Niles plan to reconfigure the entire layout of this space in the future, they wanted to give the existing kitchen a major visual makeover without breaking the bank. The formica countertops were replaced with acacia butcher block, and the cabinets were updated with rich gold pulls. “The backsplash isn’t just pretty, it was inexpensive too,” Diane shares. “All tiles were leftovers bought from Habitat Restore, and we put a few styles together to create this one-of-a-kind pattern.”

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
5/20

The faux seagrass wallpaper creates a stunning backdrop in the kitchen and adds that pop of color that both Diane and Niles love. “At first, I was nervous about it because I had never hung glue down wallpaper before, but it turns out that it’s a piece of cake!” Diane says.

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
6/20

Diane added more color and pattern to the kitchen with a custom shade from Only Cordless via Etsy.

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
7/20

The bright and airy sunroom, located off the kitchen and dining room, is one of the major additions that the previous owner added to the house. “My favorite memories in this house are in this room: our friends, lounging with coffee, newspapers and Sesame Street on the iPad… and our New Year’s Eve dance party, where we moved out all the furniture and hung a disco ball from the ceiling and partied the night away,” Diane reminisces.

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
8/20

Stacks of books, bowls and interesting objects adorn the coffee table in the sunroom. The giant apple sculpture was a lucky thrift store find.

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
9/20

A well-stocked bar is essential for the couple, who love to entertain. Above the sofa, guests can peek into the dining room — what used to be an exterior window is now a framed hole between the sunroom and the dining room! “It does allow light to flow through to the dining room […], but in the very, very near future, we will be opening it up even more and finishing the space with French doors,” Diane explains.

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
10/20

The recent office remodel allowed Diane to make playful design choices. “[It] was a wonderful opportunity to add some modern glam with the wallpapered ceiling,” she says. The DIY shelves complement the mid-century feel of the house, while the colorful books and accessories brighten up the space.

Although most renovation projects have been completed without major surprises, the office remodel did include a last-minute scare. “One day, after we had fully remodeled our office, a termite swarm appeared when my son and I were lying on the floor while looking at books. […] Within minutes, we were swimming in thousands of them! Let’s just say, the exterminator could not have made it there fast enough!” Diane shares.

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
11/20

Diane and Niles built and installed the double desk together — now they can work comfortably side by side.

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
12/20

At some point in the past, the former garage was turned into a den, and a new double garage was added on. The den is now the room where the family spends most of their time together — it’s also the only room with a TV. “There are nods to animal decor throughout the house, and this room is no exception,” Diane adds.

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
13/20

Diane, Niles, Balthazar and the family’s dogs Brodie and Crosby, hanging out in the den.

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
14/20

Diane wanted the master bedroom to feel luxurious and moody, and chose a creamy grey wall color to help set the tone.

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
15/20

Books are extremely important to the family — because Balthazar’s room has limited storage, Diane and Niles installed bookshelves above the bed, but high enough so that they could sit comfortably during story time.

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
16/20

Even though Diane and Niles only have one child, they felt that two twin beds made more sense for sleepovers. “A multitude of color, pattern, and stuffed animals keeps the room fun and young.”

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
17/20

As in any other space, Diane wanted to make sure that Balthazar’s room had layers of textures and plenty of color. The raw wood mirror, sleek white lamp, soft pillows and a thrifted green dresser create just the right amount of contrast.

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
18/20

“We love color and pattern, so when decorating the guest room, I didn’t want to make any exceptions,” Diane says. Instead of a headboard, Diane added a Greek key patterned velvet fabric on the wall — it even extends up to the ceiling to create a small canopy for the bed.

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
19/20

“What we love most about our home is… it’s an endless source of creativity for our family.” — Diane and Niles

 

A Family’s Eclectic Style Transforms a Mid-Century Ranch Home | Design*Sponge
20/20

The floor plan of the family’s 2,200-square-foot ranch-style home.

Source list

Living room:
Faux zebra rug — Blauser Zebra Black Area Rug 
by Mercury Row®
Dresser — vintage Drexel
Ottoman — Ethan Allen Daybeds — IKEACustom cushions — Cushion Source Curtains — cb2 Printed throw — Target
Fireplace paint color — Devine Dollar by Devine Color
Butterfly chairs — Crate and Barrel
Pouf — Amazon
Sheepskin — IKEA

Dining room:
Chandelier — Homary
Chartreuse dining chairs — Porthos Home Emmett Dining Chair / Overstock.com Mid-century candelabra — Scoops Vintage Modern / Etsy
Casper chair — Modway / Overstock.com

Kitchen:
Tiles — Habitat for Humanity Restore
Rug — Kammran Carpets / Etsy
Gold cabinet pulls — Amazon
Flooring — Stainmaster vinyl tiles / Lowes
Wallpaper — Ami Natalie Faux Grasscloth 33′ x 20.5″ Wallpaper
Pop art  — “French Luxe Soup” Graphic Art Print on Wrapped Canvas / Wayfair Chairs and table — Modway / Hayneedle
Pendant — Houzz
Printed shade — Only Cordless / Etsy
Acacia countertop — Lumber Liquidators
Pendants — Houzz
Sponge holder — Jonathan Adler
Faucet — Rozin LED Light Pull Down Spray Kitchen Mixer Tap Single Hole Swivel Spout Sink Faucet with 8 Inch Holes Deck Plate Gold Polished / Amazon
Sink — IKEA

Sunroom:
Cocktail table — Habitat Restore
Blue and white bowl — Anthropologie
Shelving — IKEA
Cabinet — Target
Fan — Home Depot
Mid-century club chairs — Chairish
Lamp — Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams / HomeGoods

Office:
African Indigo mudcloth — fleamarketfab.com
Plant basket — HomeGoods
Wallpaper — Urban Caterpillar by Genevieve Gorder / Tempaper
Rug — rugsusa.com
Poufs — fleamarketfab.com
Chandelier — Homary
Wall color — Letter Gray by Behr

Den:
Splatter curtain fabric — IKEA
All stuffed animals — Melissa & Doug
Brass table lamps — Nate Berkus for Target
Brass floor lamp — Target

Master bedroom:
Linens, throw pillows and curtains — HomeGoods
Paint color — Letter Gray by Behr.

Balthazar’s room:
Shelving — IKEA
Fur throw — HomeGoods
Cordless roman shades — blinds.com
Linens — IKEA
Teddy bears — Restoration Hardware
Lamp — Safavieh / HomeGoods
Mirror — Target
White lamp — HomeGoods

Guest room:
Velvet Greek key fabric — fabric.com
Lamps — Jonathan Adler
Nightstands — IKEA
Throws — West Elm
Linens — Target

Suggested For You

Comments

    • Thank you- I try my best to inspire creativity whenever I can! As far as the walls that are white in our home, those are the only rooms that we haven’t fully painted out yet! Lol. Trust me, I get the challenge it can be with kids (that’s why most of our furniture is thrifted or new and super affordable )

  • So many inspiring and executable ideas here. Please, what is the name of the fabric used in the curtains in the living room behind the butterfly chairs? Also, I’d love to know how the fabric headboard in the guest room was adhered to the wall.

    • Thanks Deena! The curtains in the living room are from CB2, but unfortunately they no longer manufacture this exact style. I would still recommend looking at their site since they tend to have very fun patterns : ) The fabric headboard was attached in the most simple way possible! I nailed it directly to the wall and let the extra fabric drape to the floor.

      • This is really one of my favorite home tours. One more question, Diane–can you tell us where the velvet pillows on the living room daybeds are from? I love that rich teal blue. In fact, I love the play of green/blues entirely in that space.

    • Hi Cj! I love those sofas too-They are actually daybeds from Ikea! These are from the Sinnerlig collaboration that was produced about 1.5-2 years ago. I ended up getting the last of their kind on super sale (200/piece!) and I had the cushions custom made to size in a kid and pet friendly fabric from Cushion Source. I would absolutely recommend using daybeds in place of sofas (I have done this in clients’ homes as well) if you want a more relaxed feel : )

  • I love this house – especially the fireplace-centric living room, the insect picture over the federal-style desk, and the chair in the sun room. Such a lovely home!

    • I’m so happy you enjoyed our home tour, Jackie! There really is no rhyme or reason to how I buy things- we truly just collect what we love and in the end, it all works together!

  • Oh Totally Eclectic. The room with a bunch of books, the light over there is awesome. The kitchen with the wallpaper and pop art.The bar and the floor. I Love it.

    • Maka, the sunroom is one of our favorite spots in the house, and exactly for that reason you mentioned- the light just pours in! So happy you enjoyed the tour : )

  • What a lovely and livable home. Both cozy and chic. The chartreuse dining room chairs are a delight. Even though it’s perfect as is, I’m hoping to see any updates and transformations.

    • Thank you Elizabeth! The dining room is turning out to be a favorite of ours too- soon those built ins will get a pop of color with some high gloss teal/blue paint. (And colored candlesticks always make me happy 😊 So I’m glad you noticed and like them too!)

  • One more question, Diane–can you tell us where the velvet pillows on the living room daybeds are from? I love that rich teal blue. In fact, I love the play of green/blues entirely in that space.

    • Deena, the smaller blue pillows are from west elm, and I found the larger teal ones at a church garage sale in Southport CT (they were custom made by a designer and I scored them for $10 for the pair since I bought them 5min before the sale’s end!!) However, I would recommend looking at Target since they have been selling velvet covers as of late, etsy, and ikea. Happy shopping!

    • Thanks Jade ❤️ The kitchen blind is made with a pattern named “navy embrace” from the custom cordless shop on etsy (I’m not sure if this is the universal name of this fabric or if that title is unique to that specific etsy shop).

    • You’re absolutely right! And don’t worry- we take safety (especially the safety of our son and fur babies) very seriously so all precautionary measures were taken and they’re secure! : )

Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.