Giving a New Twist to a 1960s Home

Photography by Stacey Brandford

Posted on Oct 18, 2013

1960s Twist - Living Room - white and soft yellow with gray accents
After living in the heart of downtown for many years, my clients were ready to take the plunge and move to the city limits to settle into a groovy 60s side-split with room to spread out and start a family. As a newly engaged couple with a wedding on the horizon and a laundry list of projects to tackle, my task was to whip their dated and drab living/dining room into a sleek space for entertaining – in a hurry and on a budget.
1960s Twist - Living room modern coffee table

Highlight Your Best Features

No matter how dated and unappealing the current state of your room seems, it’s important to look at the overall space with an optimistic eye. Forget the tattered broadloom, the stucco ceiling, the overbearing brick fireplace and the terrible paint colour, and train your eye to see the potential that lies within your home. If you’re starting off with an open concept plan, like this L shaped room, you’re saving dollars right out of the gate and won’t need to expend precious resources to knock down walls and make structural changes.

1960s Twist - dining room view

Rethink Standards

In the pursuit of contemporary style, the man of the house put an all-out ban on chandeliers. Perhaps it was a knee-jerk reaction to the woefully under-scaled chandelier that was hanging in the dining room when they purchased the house, but whatever the reason, a solution was needed. Instead of the standard single light in the ceiling, why not embrace a more playful approach and hang a collection of pendants as a group? If you shop wisely, you may just find that you can create a more dynamic look with greater impact for less than the cost of a single pendant.

1960s Twist - living room view towards window
1960s Twist - dining room view

Maximize Your Measurements

Before committing to any new furniture pieces, it’s worth investing some time to plot their dimensions onto a scale floor plan. You can whip it up on the computer with the help of Google SketchUp, or go the old-fashioned route and map it out on graph paper with simple cutouts to represent the sizes of the furnishings you are considering. A little time spent fitting the pieces into the floor plan puzzle will help you make the most of the space you are working with. By flipping the sideboard onto the wall under the window, I was able to continue down the contemporary road for my clients with a striking chrome and glass dining table for eight. Scoring inexpensive citrus-fresh chairs with sleek chrome legs to round out the dining room arrangement was an added bonus.

1960s Twist - Grey chari with dark grey ottoman by marble fireplace

Give Your Fire a Facelift

The long, lean lines of mid-century style are endlessly appealing, but not every feature in your home will be dressed to perfection. If dated brick or Flintstone-esque stone is currently cladding your fireplace, refacing it with a sleek new material is relatively easy. By knocking off the existing fireplace surround, I was able to redefine the proportions, centre the opening of the firebox on the surround, and extend the hearth. To work within the confines of our budget, I sourced large-format marble tiles with minimal veining to create the effect of a slab marble install without the heavyweight price-tag.

1960s Twist - natural tree trunk side table with wall mirrors and floral arrangement
1960s Twist - dining room detail
1960s Twist - Front door entry area - soft yellow door with grey walls
1960s Twist - view of entry into living froom
Originally published in:
Globe and mail logo

Source Guide:

leather sofa & winged arm chairs, IKEA | hardwood flooring (Oak Handscraped Cafe) & floor registers, Home Depot | fireplace & foyer tile, 115 Tycos Dr., Toronto, ON, 416.441.2224, Saltillo Imports | Lawren chairs & photography, Sarah Richardson Design Inc. | dining table & dining chairs, Structube | rug, ELTE | root console table & mirror in dining room, 171 East Liberty, Toronto, ON, 416.922.2785, Casalife | drapery fabric: "Komodo Leaves, colour Grey & Green F95713", custom pillow fabric: "Ginger Stripe, colour Apple F83210", Thibaut Inc. | custom pillow sewing, 215 Spadina Ave., Toronto, ON, 416.596.8489, Dreams Bed Bath Décor | coffee table, Rich Brilliant Willing | side tables, Kijiji | sideboard, vases on sideboard, clear vase, hurricane candle holders, pendant lights over dining table, wine glasses, green vase on fireplace, green vase on root console, 3 round mirrors, foyer mirror & green vases in foyer, Homesense | art over fireplace, 729 Queen St. E, Toronto, ON, 416.916.6302, Studio Pazo | green velvet pillows, Winner's | plates, bowls, placemats, napkins, foyer table & brass cubes, 651 Queen St. W, Toronto, ON, 416.366.2828, CB2 | glass bubble lamp, 1156 Yonge St., Toronto, ON, 416.934.1021Chair Table Lamp | white box, white vases & silver frames, Indigo | drapery hardware, 1360 Queen St W., Toronto, ON, 416.531.2810, www.designerfabrics.ca | poufs, Urban Barn | grey lamps & metal table lamp, 249 Gerrard St. E, Toronto, ON, 416.934.9009, Eclectisaurus | flowers, Jong Young Flowers, 128 Avenue Rd., Toronto, ON, 416.922.4421 | umbrella stand, 150 Lesmill Rd., Toronto, ON, 416.546.1760, Around the Block

Trades

contractor, MBKL Ltd Custom Contracting, 416.836.7295 | fireplace tile installion, JAV Contracting Inc. | wallpaper installation, Russell Painting Inc., 416.994.8348 | electrical, Spindel Electric Inc., 416.225.0212

Paint Colours & Wallpaper

living room/dining room ceiling & trim - Natural White 50YY 83/029, Dulux Paint | living room/dining room walls - Winter Bird 30YY 78/018, Dulux Paint | foyer walls - Icon Grey 00NN 31/000, Dulux Paint | foyer ceiling - Antartic Ice 70YY 73/083, Dulux Paint | front door - Lichen Green 70YY 55/299, Dulux Paint | wallpaper -Tahitian Weave in Green T5072, Thibaut Inc.